Quotes: Language, Part 1

(medium of exchange of thoughts and ideas between people; the storehouse of accumulated knowledge through the centuries)

1. The speech of a country, region, or group of people, including its diction, syntax, and grammar.
2. The human use of spoken or written words as a communication system.
3. A system of communication with its own set of conventions or special words.
4. A nonverbal form of communication used by birds and animals.
5. The use of signs, gestures, or inarticulate sounds to communicate something.
6. The verbal style by which people express themselves; such as, the language of diplomacy.
7. Like English tongue, Latin lingua "tongue" was used figuratively for "language"; from it English gets linguist and linguistic.

In the Vulgar Latin spoken by the inhabitants of Gaul, the derivative linguaticum emerged, and this became in due course Old French langage, source of the current English language.

Language is primarily speech. The word language itself comes from the Latin lingua, meaning "tongue." Its original meaning is "that which is produced with the tongue."
—Mario Pei, What's in a Word?


Resisting the Invasion of English, “Denglish”, in the German Language

“Kein Denglish in deutschen Wörterbüchern”

The German Verein Deutsche Sprache e.V. (formerly “Verein zur Wahrung der deutschen Sprache e.V.”) was founded in November, 1997

The VDS has been waging an uphill battle against the many incursions of English into German, a trend that creates in the Association’s view a mongrel language, sometimes called “Denglish” or “Gernglish.” For example, the German Language Association does not want to see commonly used English computer terms like “upgrade” or “downloaden” become official, standard entries in German dictionaries.

In an attempt to sound a bit less nationalistic, more mainstream, and less defensive; the VDS recently changed its name, dropping the original “for the Protection of” (zur Wahrung) in the original title; however, the VDS has not reduced its efforts to defend the German language against the constant and relentless encroachment of English.

It points out vigorously that Germans seem to be all too willing to use English in the name of “coolness”—even when a perfectly good German word or expression would do just as well.

Objecting to the proposed acceptance of English computer terms by the IDS (German Language Institute), VDS chairman Dr. Walter Kr·mer stated (translation from German): “I can’t go along with the relevant proposals of the German Language Institute in Mannheim. For most English computer jargon there are perfectly good and often better German words, starting with the computer itself. It used to always be called, and is still called, ‘Rechner’ by true pros.”

The Association is not against all loan words. If there is not a good German equivalent, the VDS accepts the use of such borrowed words; but it is strongly opposed to what it sees as the unnecessary use of English in German, just to be fashionable or to show off.

As part of its effort to prevent superfluous English from creeping into German, the Association designates an annual Sprachpanscher des Jahres, or “Language Dilutor of the Year.”

The award usually goes to a German business leader who has encouraged the use of trendy English phrases rather than German equivalents. The 2000 “winner” was Prof. Dr. jur. Andreas Heldrich, the chancellor (Rektor) of Munich’s Ludwig Maximilians Universität, apparently for encouraging the Americanization of German higher education.

For 1999, the CEO of the German railway Deutsche Bahn AG, Johannes Ludewig, won the award. His company was “honored” for its excessive use of English; such as, “service points,” “ticket counters,” “DB-Lounges,” and “McCleans” (for restrooms) were among the railroad’s labels that the Society found objectionable.

The 1998’s “Sprachpanscher“ was Ron Sommer, the head of Deutsche Telekom AG, the former German phone monopoly, now privatized. Sommer attracted the Association’s ire with his company’s use of advertising and service terms such as: “Sunshine-Tarif,” “Moonshine-Tarif” (day/night rate), “City-Calls,” “Free-Calls,” and “German-Calls.”

—Verein Deutsche Sprache (VDS) [German Language Association].

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Omni

The most damaging words in the English language are, “It’s always been done that way.”
—Admiral Grace Muray Hopper

The number of English-speaking people in the world has increased as the language has been adopted by diplomats, scientists, world traders, and the pop culture.
—Newsweek (date ca. 1988)

English is the tongue that Japanese businessmen use to negotiate a deal with the Kuwaitis. It is how Swedes talk to Mexicans, how Hong Kong bankers work in Singapore. In Mexico, English-speaking secretaries can double their wages; in Egypt their pay goes up ten times.
Newsweek (date ca. 1988)

Links to quotations units. Other Quotes, Quotation Units.

Cross references of word families related directly, or indirectly, to: "talk, speak, speech; words, language; tongue, etc.": cit-; clam-; dic-; fa-; -farious; glosso-; glotto-; lalo-; linguo-; locu-; logo-; loqu-; mythico-; -ology; ora-; -phasia; -phemia; phon-; phras-; Quotes: Language, Part 2; Quotes: Language, Part 3; serm-; tongue; voc-.