English as a universal language
David G. Hills (Adcdave@AOL.COM)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 11:43:42 -0400
In a message dated 96-08-04 18:56:40 EDT, Robert W. McGwier wrote:
>What pundit was it that said that we and the English are two peoples
>seperated by a common language?
This statment is obsolete. We have a lot more than two peoples speaking
English, and my dictionary has around 750,000 words listed! I have found
that usage varies greatly in the United States, and I can only imagine how it
varies accross the world.
For example: In the western US where I was raised you drove people in your
car, and carried them in your arms. When I moved to Alabama I was told
that cattle are driven, ladies are carried. My editions of both Webster's
and the Oxford English Dictionary say that both usages are correct, but if
you do not want to insult a lady you had better pay attention to whom you are
If you happen to be on a cruise ship, and a bunch of teenagers from Denmark,
Italy and Germany get together, they will probably be speaking English
because it is the only language they have in common. However, I would not
expect it to be the English that I use, or the one that my friends on the
list from England, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand use. In fact I seldom
understood the English that my own teenage children used.
I often wonder when reading messages on Scouts-L whether the writer is using
local spellings, or just doesn't know how to spell. I keep my mouth shut on
the subject, because neither my spelling nor my typing is exemplary.
Remember the biblical injunction about throwing the first stone. B^)
YiS and in a spirit of tolerance for differences in the use of the most
versatile lauange in the world,
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City