Ugly English

Living in a French faction in an English-speaking country, I'm no stranger to the protectivism towards a language which is slightly ailing in America. In fact, my province has quite a few laws concerning signage and the media, in the way that a certain percentage of it must be in French. And I agree with that, it's part of our history, our culture, and it should be kept alive. French is my first language, and to me, it's the most beautiful language (no bias whatsoever! ; ) )

But this morning, I read in a (French) newspaper something that made me very angry. It was a review of an essay written by a local writer about the English language.
It is entitled "Anglaid: Une langue vouée irrémédiablement à l'impérialisme et à l'ethnocentrisme." Anglaid is a play on words with "Anglais" (English) and "laid" (ugly). I'm not that good at translation, but, if I paraphrase the title, he means that English speaking nations are self-centered and think they are better than everyone else.

His theory is based on the observation that the "I" (as the 1st person singular pronoun, of course) in English is always capital, and in French it isn't.

He went as far as saying this: "English is not a nice language. Americans and English-speaking Canadians speak like barking dogs and the British like snakes."

The journalist who was reviewing the essay was absolutely revolted. Calling it "hainous propaganda". She said: "How different is it to how people were trying to show how 'ugly' black people were by the colour of their skin, Jewish people by their nose and now Anglophones (English speakers) by their language?".

I thought those were very, very ignorant claims. Full of hate, for something so ridiculous. To be honest, he probably thought he was being a knight in shining armour, trying to protect the French language in America, but honestly... Most French speakers that read this article and/or book were probably thinking the same as me going, "what a complete idiot.".

Here is an English article I found on the subject.
Posted on May 3rd, 2009 at 09:09pm

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