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Re: [OT] English language

On 04/03/2011 05:02 PM, David Jardine wrote:
On Sun, Apr 03, 2011 at 03:17:55PM -0500, Ron Johnson wrote:

Would an anti-Brit really go to England to do his work?

Frankly, why not?  Where did the anti-colonialist future leaders of
newly independent African and Asian countries study?  Mostly in England
or France.  And are you really suggesting that Webster was not anti-
British - or at least fiercely opposed to British influence on America?

I'd go with the latter.

        rather than anti-French) caught the mood of the times and you all
lapped it up.

That can only happen when there's no canon. spelling is in flux.

But was that the case?  Were some people writing "center" and others

According to Wikipedia, there were many regional spellings and meanings of various words.

          I may be wrong here, but I think that "centre" was the accepted
spelling, but Webster decided otherwise.

Accepted by Samuel Johnson because he was a Frogophile.

              I don't know if England had its own xenophobic equivalents,
but I think the English would be less likely to accept changes of spelling
decreed from above.

Above?  Webster didn't get his dictionary mandated by the government.

By "above" I didn't mean government.  Webster was "above".

Who decreed that Webster was "above".

Anyway, two words: Samuel Johnson.

Good point.  I do feel, however (very possibly wrongly) that Johnson was
trying to sort out conflicting practice whereas Webster was creating new

See my comment about SJ being a Frogophile.

Regarding "re" vs "er", Webster removed French the influence that SJ had added in 1755.

The French may hate everything English, but those of us who speak
any variety of English
appreciate its variety, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

But is it _our_ language any more?

Not after you beggared yourself after the two World Wars.

Misunderstanding: by "our" language I meant the language of native
speakers of English - American, Australian, English or whoever.

Successfully spreading your empire (and thus your language) around the world /de facto/ dilutes your ownership of the language, by virtue of each group you teach it to morphing it to their own needs.

                                                                 If, for
example, we insist on saying, "We've been doing it like this for ages",
who are we to say that "We do it like this since ages" is not correct?

If they were doing it "this way" before I was born, then they've been doing it for ages... :)

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure
the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally
Samuel Adams, essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749

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