How non-native speakers are enhancing the English language

by Maarten Swemmer Leave a reply »
The further simplification of the English language

Further simplification of the English language

Every language evolves. The speakers of a language use variations that best suit their needs. Also non-native speakers change the language where they see fit or where it better fit’s with their own language’s grammar. Foreign words are introduced as well. Some fear it, and try to fixate or otherwise influence this by defining spelling and grammar rules and punishing kids who make mistakes. Did you know in The Netherlands a commission defines spelling rules and changes them every few years? Making things harder and less logical every time. Ridiculous. Language should evolve by itself, which it does. And it’s unstoppable.

Because English is such a widespread language, spoken by many non native speakers, English evolves even faster. Previously, as territories in which languages were spoken extended, language areas would split up to become different areas with dialects and eventually distinct languages of their own. Global mobility and communication seems to be preventing this nowadays, and dialects even merge or disappear. The foreign influences throughout the centuries have made English a very efficient language which is relatively easy to learn. Or at least, it is easy to learn to speak the basics. Which is enough in most cases. In my view globalization accelerates this evolution.

Recently I read in a funny article on the Internet that one of the achievement of Steve Jobs was to get rid of worlds like “the” and “a”. He speaks in terms of “iPhone will change the way we phone” in stead of “the iPhone will change…”. Actually he speaks the same way as many Chinese English speakers I meet on a daily basis. They do not speak bad English. Leaving out the articles (the words ‘a’ and ‘the’) just fits better with their own language and especially it’s easier and faster. The rise of Asian economies, the increasing participation in the world economy and the fact that more and more Asian people use English on a daily basis will greatly contribute to the further development and no doubt simplification of the English language. And that will in turn help the English language to become the one global language.

2 Responses

  1. Anung Anandito says:

    Hmm,

    I think English is only easy to learn if your native language is one of the European language.

    For Asians, learning even basic English can be quite hard. For example: gender, tenses, to be, etc, all these things don’t exist in both of my native languages. Unless you start learning as a small child.

    I do agree with your thesis that English is the global language. It will received influence from many other languages and in turn influence those languages.

  2. Maarten says:

    Hi Anung,
    Thanks for your feedback. I can imagine English is harder for native speakers of a non Indo-German language class. I myself recently started to learn Chinese and find it quite challenging. It’s my view that especially new English speakers from outside the Indo-German language class countries will introduce new simplifications like removing gender, tenses etc.

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