The Global Tongue of the World: Panglish

I’ve been in Costa Rica the past two weeks, so language (Spanish and English) is on my mind. Wired has an interesting, short piece on how Chinese is affecting the English spoken around the world. Here’s Slate’s helpful one paragraph summary:

The "likely consequence" of growing numbers of Chinese learning English without "enough quality spoken practice" means that "more and more spoken English will sound increasingly like Chinese." Already, nonnative speakers far outnumber native speakers, and in the next decade, native speakers will make up only 15 percent of those who use the language. English is "on a path toward a global tongue—what’s coming to be known as Panglish." And, "[s]oon, when Americans travel abroad, one of the languages they’ll have to learn may be their own."

2 Responses to The Global Tongue of the World: Panglish

  1. The PBS produced “The Story of English”, an excellent TV miniseries documentary, in 1986, with a companion book of same title written by Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil.

    The program discussed how the English spoken in India was developing along its own lines, independent of the language as spoken in its mother country or in America.

    I thought it might be difficult for a native speaker of English to get used to shaking his head from side to side like the Indians do when he said “Yes”.;-)

    I imagined it causing some sort of neural discomposure to an American or Englishman, so opposed would the gesture be to the natural inclination of his body.

    I think much of the English spoken by native speakers here in the states could use a little more music, like the tonal variations of Mandarin seeping into Chinglish mentioned in the Wired article.

  2. It is English but not as we know it. A new global tongue called “Panglish” is expected to take over in the decades ahead, experts say.

    Linguists say the language of Shakespeare and Dickens is evolving into a new, simplified form of English which will be spoken by billions of people around the world. The changes are not being driven by Britons, Americans or Australians, but the growing number of people who speak English as a second language, New Scientist reports.

    Every language has imported words in its lexicon. But the golden palm for the most adept and abundant adoption of English words goes to the Spanish language. This is a distinct linguistic feature of the Spanish, and, as students of the language know from experience, learning Spanish English words can be unusually challenging.

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