Multi lingua francas

Three separate but possibly related things about language and culture.

BL Ochman writes about an English-language dilemma:

In WebProWorld’s Google forum today, (registration required) the publisher of an Irish travel site wonders whether Google penalizes for spellings in Oxford English as opposed to American English. Respondents point out that if you are looking for high rankings in Google UK or other European versions of Google, Oxford English spellings may provide an advantage in rankings.

The French are perceived as arrogant, says Joël Céré, especially across the Atlantic (and pretty much everywhere else too, he says). Why is it so? he asks:

Cyrille has the answer. It has to do with French and English grammar. French puts a name before its adjectives in a sentence (a cat blue and sleepy) while it is the reverse in English (a sleepy blue cat). So when an American talks to a Frenchman, the latter gets impatient because he is waiting to understand what the story is about… Got it now?

That explains a lot, Joel, thanks!

As an Englishman, I like BL’s use of the term ‘Oxford English.’ That’s a lot better than hearing the original language being described as ‘British English.’ Not sure how the Scots, Welsh and Irish might feel about ‘Oxford English,’ though. Not to mention Australians and Canadians.

And what about everywhere else that uses English (see this post on the globalization of English from March 2005)?

Big questions. Any answers?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. neville

    Heh! Famous, Cyrille? No, just another Brit with a Blog.

    I love your video parodies! Rocketboom a la français, no question.

    It’s interesting, this thing about French arrogance. I think many French see the English that way, no?

    So what is it about language? The syntax of Spanish is broadly the same as in French (so the cat example would be the same: “el gato azul soñoliento”). Are the Spanish regarded as arrogant, too?

    Depends who you ask!

  2. B.L. Ochman

    Hi Neville: I’ve become very interested in the fact that blogs are still 90% in English and that the blogosphere is so US-centric. You and other european bloggers have written a lot about it before, and yet, nothing seems to be changing.

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