Friday, September 23, 2011


There's always been the problem of pitting American English against British English as if the two were like Hokkien Chinese and Cantonese Chinese, or French and Spanish. People are mentally fragile when it comes to arguments about dialect, basilect and acrolect.

This need not be so. Eventually, one suspects, we'll all be speaking trans-Atlantic English with trans-Pacific modifications. And it would be so much more beautiful if we adopted trans-Indianic cadences.

By this I mean that the dialect with the spectrum ranging from New England to Old England will be modified by the tendencies evinced from California to Japan and South-East Asia, hopefully with elements of the many syntaxes and accents found from Johannesburg and up and across the Old Ocean to Bombay and back down to Singapore.

Such is the beauty of English; it is so plain and yet so protean that it can easily be made beautiful in many ways — it is polymorphically crystalline when viewed in some ways. Will we end up speaking American English? Or will American English have become un-American by then? After all, look what happened to British English, that mysterious and imaginary animal.



Blogger LoneRifle said...

Odd. You could try to find a pirated copy of the BBC programme Qi, one of the episodes in Season 2. They touched briefly on the issue of pan-continental English, with a cute highlight on Singapore. There is an iPlayer link buried somewhere in my Facebook page, but no doubt the content has expired.

Captcha - endwo

Friday, September 23, 2011 8:11:00 pm  

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