Monday, August 24, 2015

We're smug about English's global vocabulary, but why?

There’s an anachronistic vanity in the satisfaction we take in our swollen wordbooks, as if English speakers in Des Moines are enriched every time someone in Dublin or Delhi coins a new slang word for ne’er-do well. It’s the last residue of the imperial pride that used to swell in British bosoms at the contemplation of all the bits of the map that were colored pink.
Geoffrey Nunberg, “Size Doesn’t Matter,” in The Years of Talking Dangerously (New York: PublicAffairs, 2009), p. 18 

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