This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Nuts and Bolts: Non-English English

Do you know what I mean?

I hope so, even though this blog appears in British English, which is a minority form of the language. 

Well, I live in Britain. That's my excuse.

English is a pluricentric language - which means it comes in several varieties - and, although England is the place where English was first spoken, only eighteen per cent of the English speakers in the world actually speak English in a more-or-less English way.

I'd be more comprehensible if I changed to American English, which is used by two thirds of English speakers (though when I say American, I really mean the language of the USA. Canadian English, like Australian English, is spoken by about seven per cent of the English-speaking population of the world).

Of the people not of the world - that is, in space - at the moment the only people who speak English as their first language are both from the USA; so perhaps aliens will speak of boondocks and sidewalks.

Actually, what will probably happen is that an entirely new form of Space English will come into being, that requires the use of several antennae and a third foot.

Alien 555px.png

And as far as I'm concerned that'd be absolutely marvellous.

Word To Use Today: pluricentric. The pluri bit of this word comes from the Latin plures, which means several.


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