– Mark E. Smith

Cover shows title as [Glō·bish] And not “arse.” Robert McCrum’s new Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language is the latest in the treatments of the global lingua franca. (Great cover.)

The Globe ran an interview conducted by the man who insists his surname be pronounced the way some poncy Oxbridge graduate living in Boston would, John “Aawlemaawng.” I think something has been edited out of the Q&A, because this passage doesn’t make sense:

And yet you refer, rightly, to the American colonization of Canadian English. Is that a bad thing?

Well, there’s not a lot you can do about it. And yet Canada at the language level strikes me as the rainbow nation. Your policy of allowing every culture to have its own expression is extremely mature and sensible and will yield a very distinctive culture. In Britain, one encounters a real hostility to the idea that the mother tongue is being watered down by immigration, by multiculturalism. But you’ve chosen to be a part of a world community. And if there’s more communication, there might be less misunderstanding.

Spoken Canadian English is American English, though our spelling is unique. It isn’t “colonized”; Loyalist American immigrants gave us our dialect. Foreign-accented English is just as foreign-accented here as it is in Britain. And doing an Amazon search inside the book reveals that Crum does not at all discuss Canadian English as it exists today.

So what exactly was Aawlemaawng talking about?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.05.31 15:41. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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