According to Robert McCrum in his book ‘Globish’, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary gave the English language its ‘contagious adaptability, catchy populism and innate subversiveness.’1 I guess I feel very subversive now drinking coffee in a Starbucks in Bogotá, capital city of Colombia, the land of Juan Valdez. Nevertheless, there’s a reason why I have no problem sitting down at Seattle’s finest to share my thoughts about the English language.
English is a cool language.
It adapts, it transforms itself, it includes tons of words from every language its cultural expansion conquers. Just to mention a few that come from Spanish which I love to utter with a slight American-English accent: Americano, aficionado, politico, mano a mano. I agree that most languages incorporate new words from others, but none welcomes them as fast and with such panache as the English language does. English has a special ‘je ne sais quoi.’
Our company in Bogotá, BSR Idiomas, offers language coaching processes in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. English accounts for 95% of our business. I believe ‘catchy populism’ might be one term a consultant would use to explain this phenomenon. I guess people understand more and more there’s a global language: Ne crois tu pas?
1. McCrum Robert ‘Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language’ Penguin Books, p.139.