language is a force of large social, economic and political proportions. if you are an immigrant and you assimilate yourself into your host country by learning the language of the land, more social and economic opportunities will be opened to you. if you are a conqueror and you want to dominate an area, just subjugate the language of the land and replace it with your native tongue. in a generation, both scenarios will yield youngsters who would have disposed with their mother tongues, simply because there is no advantage of any sort in holding on to them.
the above are localised scenarios, even though they have been the case in many parts of the world since languages were conceived as instruments of communication. on a global scale though, one language trumps them all. even china, the most populous country on the planet, has bowed to its dominance. english is the lingua franca of world politics and its economy, thus its value to the millions who wish to gain a foothold on the world stage. even in countries traditionally resistant to the influence of english – france and japan for example, the impact of the language is undeniable.
this brings me to a website i found out about during my linguistics lecture last friday. engrish.com is a website that features examples of how the english language is ‘massacred’, albeit unintentionally. the website inspires humour at first study, but it raises the issue of how powerful english has become as a language. it does not matter if the content or grammar is accurate, so long as one uses english, especially in countries where english is not the main language, it becomes a social status of sorts.
to visit engrish.com, click here.
for more posts mac+tech, click here.