Dear Editor, Mr Watts (Letters to the Editor February 22) calls Monitor's editorial comment (Do you speak English? February 12) “a load of nonsense” because it refers to the language spoken on the other side of the Atlantic as American. I would like to bring Mr Watts up to date and inform him that English is no longer “owned' by native speakers of British English. Despite the attempts of die hards to perpetuate old dichotomies of “us and them” (Mr Watts accuses the Americans of using about 300 words in “a corrupt fashion”) British English is only one of the many varieties of our language. In addition to American English and British English there is Indian English, Nigerian English, South African English etc. etc.

It has been estimated that 1.5 billion of the 6 billion people in the world speak English as a first, second or foreign language.
Non-native speakers outnumber native speakers by about 4 to 1 and most of them have learnt English not so that they can go shopping in London or drink tea with English friends, but because English as an International Language (EIL) is the world's lingua franca. How do Spaniards communicate with Arab, Chinese or Japanese businessmen or tourists? In English, of course.

Yours sincerely,
George Tunnell
C'as Catala Nou


To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and be logged in.

* Mandatory fields

Currently there are no comments.