La Langue de la Civilisation

My mother, who is a linguist and ESL teacher, as well as a big Paul Johnson fan, this morning showed me an article which she'd cut out from the November edition of Forbes: Must the Whole World Speak English?

Paul Johnson is a brilliant and butt-kicking historian in an old-school kind of way, author of big fat tomes like History of the American People and Modern Times. This past October he weighed in on the U.S. election with a widely-published (across the net, at least) op-ed entitled High Stakes: Quite simply, Kerry must be stopped; and Bush must win.

Anyway, check out that first article on the world's lingua franca, and maybe sneer at a frog as you do it.

France spends billions on promoting French in the EU and in African nations (like the Cote d'Ivoire and Rwanda, which have both given France a wonderful name over the years). Their promotions are not anti-English, be assured, or even pro-French...they're just pro-diversity. Which is funny, 'cause there are other languages spoken in France, at least for now: here's a take on French language policies from a Breton point of view. The French gummint has been particularly aggressive in suppressing the langue d'Oc, which the writer of the Breton article mentions.