[conspire] NYLXS Press Release on the OLPC Project

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu May 1 17:07:33 PDT 2008

Quoting Daniel Gimpelevich (daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us):

> I resisted the urge to deflate that assertion myself, but since you
> didn't, I now feel one to temper your celebrity roast of your own mother
> tongue. 

To be fair, English is capable of impressive precision as well as of
unbelievable vagueness (especially when used by CEOs).  Its flaws are
well known, and are a logical consequence of its... eclectic history and
improbable mix of influences.

A few illustrative entries from http://ccil.org/~cowan/essential.html#English:

English is what you get from Normans trying to pick up Saxon girls.
    --Bryan Maloney

English is essentially Pictish that was attacked out of nowhere by
Angles cohabiting with Teutons who were done in by a drunk bunch of
Vikings masquerading as Frenchmen who insisted they spoke Latin and
Greek but lacked the Arabic in which to convey that.
    --Bill Hammel

English is essentially Plattdeutsch as spoken by a Frisian pretending to
be French.
    --Andreas Johansson

English is essentially a Germanic language that has eaten far too many
French dishes for its own good.
    --John Cowan

English is essentially the noise made by people who don't believe you
can use language, but want your stuff handed over politely.
    --John M. Ford

English is essentially what happens when you can't decide whether the
Greeks or the Romans had the better civilization, so you ask everybody
they ever beat up on to sort it out.
    --John M. Ford

English is essentially a language in which "up" has forty-seven dictionary
definitions, but antidisestablishmentarianism is considered a "hard
    --John M. Ford

English is essentially a text parser's way of getting faster processors
    --John M. Ford

English is essentially ideographic, but it's sneaky about it.
    --John M. Ford

Today's British English is what today's American English would have
become, if Americans hadn't had any fun, either.
    --Glen Perkins

Scots is essentially English, only funnier.
    --Thomas Leigh

South Philadelphian is essentially Italian with the final syllables
dropped off.
    --Zoe Mulford

New York City Syrian Jewish English is essentially Arabic curses and bad
Ebonics spoken with a Brooklyn accent.
    --Steg Belsky

Yeshivish is essentially English spoken by people who think they're
speaking Yiddish.
    --Steg Belsky

American English essentially is not English and is not American either.
    --Ivan C. Amaya

New York English is essentially New England English with a bagel in
one's throat and being mugged.
    --Andrew Johnson

Newyorkese is English with a Dutch accent and a grudge.
    --Javier Candeira

Liverpool English is Irish English spoken by Irishmen and Welshmen
trying to bash England.
    --Andrew Johnson

Indian English is essentially late Victorian bureaucratese as spoken by
Peter Sellers.
    --Tommy Tyrberg

American is essentially British with decent cooking.

Surfer Speak is essentially Iowan as spoken by people who are
perpetually stoned.
    --Alan Kellogg

American grammar is essentially not essential.
    --Ivan C. Amaya

American is essentially nothing to write home about.
    --Ivan C. Amaya

English is essentially French converted to 7-bit ASCII.
    --Christophe Pierret [for Alain LaBonté]

English is essentially the Borg.
    --Muke Tever

Cheers,     "You have acquired a scroll entitled 'irk gleknow mizk'(n).--More--
Rick Moen    This is an IBM Manual scroll.--More__
rick at linuxmafia.com You are permanently confused." -- ADOM (a roguelike game)

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