Monday, January 17, 2011

Countries limiting the use of English words

English vocabulary is expanding at the rate of 8500 words a year. Researchers from Harvard and Google, after scanning five million books, counted 1,022,000 words. Even though vocabulary evolves through exposure to other languages some countries are prohibiting the use of some English words, in order to keep the purity of their language, as they say. Lately Germany’s transport minister enforced a strict ban on the use of 150 words and phrases such as, laptop, ticket, meeting within his ministry.
China is also restricting the use of English words threatening to punish those who violate the decree. In fact TV stations have been told by the government to avoid English acronyms such as NBA, WTO, GDP or CPI  in their programs. Journalists and broadcasters have to provide explanations for unavoidable English abbreviations. Will China succeed where European nations have failed? Will this prohibition prove to be futile and counterproductive? Time will tell.
France, a nation known worldwide for its linguistic pride, has outlawed advertising in English and established a 40% quota of French songs on the radio, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor.