Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Be happy, be simply

When I first moved to France, I confess I found the mis-use of English words irritating; I don't mean poor translations - they still bug me - but the use of expressions such as
're-looking' (meaning make-over) and 'burps attitude' (alcohol induced vomitting). These days I'm pretty relaxed about it. In fact, I find them pretty funny. My favourite at the moment is the name of a nearby supermarket. It's called 'Simply Market' and it's slogan is 'Be happy, be simply.' Of course this means nothing to a native English speaker but with the number of second language English speakers rising fast, I can't help wondering if these expressions may one day find their way into the language.
In the world of motor sport, Formula One is a shining example of multiculturalism. It's multinational nature has led to a universal adoption of English as the common language. Listen carefully to the drivers speaking; it's similar to the English spoken in Britain but there are some differences; note the very heavy sprinkling of 'for sures' used by all the teams. It may well be the English we'll all be speaking within a few generations and that doesn't phase me; the English language is constantly evolving which is at the heart of it's world-wide success.
Constraining a language doesn't work; the Academie Francaise, the french body which oversees the french language, decides what can and can't be included in the dictionary and has tried hard to prevent the use of English. But as 'simply market' shows, it simply hasn't worked............

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