Multi Lingua Francas

    April 14, 2006

Three separate but possibly related things about language and culture.

BL Ochman writes about an English-language dilemma:

In WebProWorld’s Google forum today, (registration required) the publisher of an Irish travel site wonders whether Google penalizes for spellings in Oxford English as opposed to American English. Respondents point out that if you are looking for high rankings in Google UK or other European versions of Google, Oxford English spellings may provide an advantage in rankings.

The French are perceived as arrogant, says Jol Cr, especially across the Atlantic (and pretty much everywhere else too, he says). Why is it so? he asks:

Cyrille has the answer. It has to do with French and English grammar. French puts a name before its adjectives in a sentence (a cat blue and sleepy) while it is the reverse in English (a sleepy blue cat). So when an American talks to a Frenchman, the latter gets impatient because he is waiting to understand what the story is about Got it now?

That explains a lot, Joel, thanks!

As an Englishman, I like BL’s use of the term Oxford English.’ That’s a lot better than hearing the original language being described as British English.’ Not sure how the Scots, Welsh and Irish might feel about Oxford English,’ though. Not to mention Australians and Canadians.

And what about everywhere else that uses English (see this post on the globalization of English from March 2005)?

Big questions. Any answers?

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Neville Hobson is the author of the popular blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: