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Why English? The cultural foundation

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Erin Pearson

on 27 January 2011

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Transcript of Why English? The cultural foundation

Why English?
Richard Mulcaster, a school headmaster, had been an early champion of the English language.
"[Mulcaster] felt he had to defend the language against those who believed that English should not usurp the long-established place of Latin" (Crystal 73).
He fought the widely-held views that English was inferior in functionality and complexity.
Mulcaster recognized that English could not compete to become a global language as it was because of the limited expanse of its use

How is this different from the state of English today?

The Cultural Foundation Wallis

1765 Mulcaster

1582 Adams

1780 Grimm

Imperialism Industrialization "Our state is no Empire to hope to enlarge it by commanding over countries" (Mulcaster, 1582). Celtic languages still had influence in UK John Wallis, author of _Grammar of the English Language_, claims: "[W]ithout boasting, it can be said that there is scarcely any worthwhile body of knowledge which has not been recorded today, adequately at least, in the English language." "English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of the world than Latin was in the last or French is in the present age" (Adams, 1780).
increasing population in America
universal connection and correspondence with all nations
influence of England in the world
All these will force [the English language] into use. (Crystal 74). Jakob Grimm, a leading philologist, states that "of all modern languages, not one has acquired such strength and vigour as the English. [It] may be called justly a language of the world ... destined to reign in the future with still more extensive sway over all parts of the globe" Following Grimm's proclamation, people like Isaac Pitman predicted up to 1.8 billion English speakers by 2000. But these writers "were making assumptions which were soon to prove false -- that empire-building would continue at the same rate, that British industrial supremacy would be maintained, and that those who spoke minority languages would not fight back" (Crystal 76). "Our mother tongue is of small reach -- it stretcheth no further than this island of ours,-- nay, not there over all" Most of the innovations of the Industrial Revolution were of British origin
harnessing of coal, water, and steam to drive heavy machinery
development of new materials, techniques, and equipment in a wide range of manufacturing industries
emergence of new means of transportation. (Crystal 80) New inventions in English-speaking countries not only increased English lexicon by thousands of words, but made this new terminology necessary for any who wished to benefit from the technology to learn it. In addition, the very advances being made in transportation and communication enabled information to travel the globe more effictively and efficiently. "Given the colonial origins of English in the countries in the inner cicle, the standing of the language could never have been in doubt. There was no competition from other languages, no crisis of linguistic identity on the part of the colonial power, and thus no threat. No argument for making English official is found in any of the documents which are significant for the history of Britain, and English has never been formally declared the official language of that country. Nor was English singled out for mention when the Constitution of the United States was being written. Rulings are needed to regulate conflict. None of the conflicts which arose were capable of threatening the status of English; consequently, there was no need for rulings" (Crystal 84). William Russell writes in 1801, "[The establishment of British schools throughout Asia and Africa] would tend to conquer the heart and its affections; which is a far more effectual conquest than that obtained by swords and cannons: and a thousand pounds expended for tutors, books, and premiums would do more to subdue a nation of savages than forty thousand expended for artillerymen, bullets, and gunpowder" (Crystal 79)).
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