Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Language Degradation Through Globalization

I grew up in Ottawa, a stone's throw from Quebec, the French speaking province of Canada, for the uneducated readers amongst the audience. I was taught French from a young age, as a result.

The problem was, the French we learned in the classroom was very different from the French spoken by our neighbours just East of us. I remember the first time I boarded an Air France flight, I was amazed at the clarity of the French I heard. It too, was so unlike the "Quebecois" we'd been berated with on ski trips, or when we went to buy liquor as underaged kids.

Today at lunch, I went to the food court at a new mall. As I walked from Taco stand, to Czech food place, I passed Burger King. I heard someone order in Slovak, except for when they stuck the prefix "bacon-cheese" in front of their order. I was immediately reminded of Quebec adolescents yelling in mutilated frenglish. For whatever reason, these English expressions just seem to catch on.

Slovak sounds lovely. I can't speak it, but it sounds nice. The invasion of MTV and multinational corporations have brought me a much needed conduit through which to experience Western society, but what are the effects on the locals? This Tedster has an interesting perspective.

I'm excited about an increased prevalence of English, it makes my life easier. But how it will infiltrate the world, the conduits through which it will spread, and the subtle implications those complications have are of interest to me.


  1. I love Ted talks! :)

    The gow-cow sounds terrifying! I thought EQAO was bad enough.

  2. I had a similar experience with French in a gasthaus in Germany over 30 years ago. I thought that the server was talking to us in French (having failed to get any result by first speaking in German)that slowly because she thought that we were mentally challenged. It was enlightening to discover that that is how French was meant to be spoken. And it made me feel slightly less mentally challenged.

  3. @jessie They are the best. I love ideas, and it's a consistently a good way to expose myself to new ones.

    @anonymous, glad to hear I'm not alone! I generally feel mentally challenged, trying to get by over here. I appreciate your struggle!