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Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx
Now you're on my turf, and I'd say that all of these are contributing
factors - but the main reason that English has come to eclipse French as
the universal language is that, to quote James Nicoll, "the English
language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words
from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down
dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for
new vocabulary." (or as H. Beam Piper put it, English is the result of
Norman soldiers trying to pick up Saxon tavern-wenches, and no more
legitimate than their other offspring.)
Another contributing factor is that French assigns genders to all nouns;
English doesn't, making it easier to acquire new vocabulary without
requiring approval from the Academe.
On 7/11/2011 12:00 PM, Tim Williams wrote:
Augusto Haro<firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I would say French is not the universal language and English is just
because the British empire was able to defeat and expand more than the
French between the XVIII-XIX centuries.
The universality of English was also helped immeasurably by the fact
that one of Britain's conquests in the New World went on to become a
superpower in the XX-XXI centuries.
(No, it's not Jamaica.)