English Plays Offense - Conjecture is not fact. Or, imperial propaganda.

hsmr at pacific.net.hk hsmr at pacific.net.hk
Wed Nov 10 01:14:33 UTC 2004

Dear List Members,

Aurolyn's reply is a perfect example of how the English language myth
is being propagated throughout the world. She begins her paragraph with
concurrence that there may exist a problem, and then gives reason why
there is probably not. What she offers as justification is her own
experience in her own country, where she had a choice among many
languages as a high school student. (What high school means to
USAmericans and what it means to much of the Anglophonic world can be
very different. In Hong Kong, for example, "high school" is split into
junior (two years) and senior (two years) levels called forms. The vast
majority of Hong Kongers never make it into the senior level.) She then
qualifies her contention with overseas experience in a region of the
world (Bolivia) very different from the one in question (Continental

Is it a coincidence that Aurolyn comes from an Anglophonic nation in
which English is the native tongue for the vast majority of the
population, and that she is addressing what is probably a well-educated
professional group of scholars who represents only a teeny minority of
the world's population and whose working language just happens to be
English? Probably not.

She then follows up with a very serious joke -- "Just for fun". Which
appears to be offered as a kind of solace for everyone in her mythical
world of wannabe English speakers!

Should anyone like to pursue this subject further, may I recommend that
they begin with the following URL. It begins with a brief summary about
Switzerland, a teeny country in Europe about which people in other
parts of the world tend to think they know far more than they actually
do. Perhaps it is because of Switzerland's world reputation in time
(clocks) and money (finance). Europe is not North America, and
certainly is not the United States, or even Great Britain, for that
matter, whose links to the continent are sometimes dubious at best.




On 9 Nov 2004, at 23:34, Aurolyn Luykx wrote:

> Hamo,
> it just goes to show how many hidden assumptions can
> be packed into one word. However, I suspect that
> "choose" might be the right word for a good number of
> those students, given that in the E.U. I think
> students are actually offered a choice among elective
> foreign languages they might want to study. As I've
> mentioned, in Bolivia, there's usually no choice --
> English is required for everyone -- but certainly as a
> high school student myself (in the US) I had a choice
> between 3-4 different European languages.
> Aurolyn

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