Global Mother Tongue
The Eight Flavours of English
“The price a world language must be prepared to pay is submission to many different kinds of use. ”
–Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe
For centuries, the English language has been raiding other languages for words. It has accumulated the largest vocabulary in the world, with only 30% of its words deriving from the original Anglo-Saxon word stock. English, in all of its unique forms and permutations, is spoken by 1. 6 billion people in the world—almost a third of the planet’s population. Global Mother Tongue celebrates the truly international flavour of this global language.
In Global Mother Tongue, Howard Richler entertains us with his exploration of English–a growth industry among world languages. He looks at the myriad factors that are changing the language and the unique forms of English that have developed the world over.
Zombie, squash, billabong, cairn, multiculturalism, dreadlocks, adobo, tiffin.
Richler envisions English as coming in eight flavours—African, American, Australian/New Zealand, British, Canadian, Caribbean, East Asian, and South Asian—each of which he further subdivides. For example, East Asian incorporates Hong Kong English, Malaysian English, Philippines English, and Singapore English. It is the author’s view that these new “Englishes” are altering the landscape of the language, and that English literature would be greatly impoverished without them.