I Do

soupI do becomes increasingly popular, but not in the good old traditional sense of wedding promises. It is often heard in cookery shows in the form of I’ll do you a baked cod, or I do a blackberry cheesecake. All Bar One informs us with a blackboard on the pavement that they thought it best if we do lunch.

How sad.

The English language is much richer, rich of terms for fine-tuned means of expression. I’ll prepare a baked code, and I’ll create a cheesecake. Invent, make, cook, bake, fry. Attempt, construct, present. Delight in, impress with, make.

We don’t do lunch either. We have lunch, take lunch, eat lunch. We enjoy, sit down for, retire to, relax for, replenish with, delight in.

We do a lot of things, but we don’t do do.

A Modern Linguistic Dilemma

ruin Outside the English spoken countries, technological development over the last four decades created linguistic havoc by forcing all those high-tech terms into the languages, or by forcing the invention of artificial words just to avoid that linguistic wash-out effect.

France is the popular example for trying to avoid such dilution by defining French words, such as le ordinateur for the computer, and some such. I don’t know for sure, but suspect that the Institute Francaise’s efforts were doomed.

Over in Germany, modern German is a terrible mix. I don’t know how this could have been avoided or better solved; inventing artificial terms isn’t likely to succeed in modern times.

Ich habe die Datei gedownloaded is outright painful. Jetzt saven und closen wir is funny, but both examples make me wonder if modern languages might be on the brink of extinction.

Surely, the Germans name Goethe, Schiller and Heinrich Böll, Günther Grass and Ludwig Thoma, and many other names and work to proof a unique and respectable culture in its own language. Nobody would dispute this, but I can’t wait to see what happens if another hundred years of English-language dominance in technological advances have passed.

 

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