Streams

Global English: Finance

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leslie Dunton-Downer, author of The English is Coming!: How One Language is Sweeping the World, joins us again to explore some of the words and phrases from other languages picked up by the world's current lingua franca.

We want your suggestions!  Nominate a word that should be a part of "global english" here.

Guests:

Leslie Dunton-Downer
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Comments [11]

Paulo Amariz from Brazil/Sao Paulo

I completely agree with Neil. Why don't we use a language that was tested along one hundred years, I mean Esperanto, and "charges" no specific culture from any country? Esperanto is neutral and can be used for everyone in this world.
I, for example, have been using it since fifteen years or so.

Nov. 03 2010 07:57 AM

English is global in much of its origin as the author notes. Esperanto is also equally global, only 5 times easier, and spreads without the colonial and negative wall-street influence (as mentioned in another comment). Americans would be surprised at how many people speak English only to more actively hate American culture. Esperanto doesn't have the baggage "Global English" is carrying. Esperanto attempts to united the best of world culture. When living in Brazil for a year I noted 90 of films and 60 of book are dubbed or translated from American sources. Brazil has TWO HUNDRED MILLION POPULATION. Does it influence 1 percento of American literature? No. Esperanto is creating a democratic culture with notable Brazilian, Chinese and Russian influence, not to mention Lithuanian, Catalan and Hungarian schools of thought. I hope NPR will continue giving fair attention to Esperanto as it has recently. .

Nov. 02 2010 02:04 PM
anna from New York

I nominate a freshly coined word "prostilectual" which is, of course, a conflation of "prostitute" and "intellectual," doesn't exist yet in any language, but clearly deserves to be introduced. A number of the members of the Cockburn family clearly deserve the name (if not Stalin's, it's oil money). Similarly Robert Wright who tries (today in the NYT, for example) to convince those who don't have a shelter, health care and jobs that there problem is ... you guess it correctly ... "Islamophobia." Sure, Robert. Traditions of "intelectual" prostituiton are alive and well. Hi Heidegger, Lysenko, Wright, etc.

Oct. 27 2010 10:22 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

From my book Ornamentally Incorrect.

Gender Bender

In a quirk of the English language, a singular personal possessive pronoun re-ferring to a singular indefinite pronoun is gender-sensitive. In case you didn’t catch my drift, here’s an example.

“Anyone who is bored by the grammar lesson may read (a) his (b) her (c) his or her comic book instead.”
Since this is a mixed class, neither (a) nor (b) will work, and (c) is so awkward l hate to use it. It used to be grammatically correct to use just “his” with the under-standing it could be hers, too. It may still be grammatically correct, but it isn’t politi-cally correct.

The marriage problem was solved by adopting “Ms.” We need a similar solution for the gender problem.

“Hiser” or ‘heris” would work, but they sound terrible. “Hrh” (“hraitch”) would shorten it, but sounds even worse, and the Brits might see it as lèse majestié. Maybe we should just legalize using the plural “their”, since everyone does it anyway, but pronounce it “dere”, from the Brooklyn dialect, so we won’t sound like one of dose ignorant people.

Oct. 26 2010 01:26 PM
Christopher Caines from Inwood

I'm writing as a professional editor. The use of they/them/their as gender-neutral singular pronouns, while frowned on by the Chicago Manual of Style, including its new 16th edition, has an excellent pedigree. Somewhere online there is a Web site devoted to enumerating the instances in Jane Austen alone; but the usage is venerable, found in many great authors for centuries. and perhaps inevitable, given the pronoun structure of English. I endorse it.

Oct. 26 2010 12:35 PM
anonymous

Regarding the etymology of bank as being derived from a word meaning table:

In Mishnaic Hebrew, the word for money-changer is shulchani; the Hebrew word for table is shulchan.

Could be the same in biblical hebrew.

Mishnaic Hebrew is contemporaneous to the Hellenic and Roman periods

Oct. 26 2010 12:11 PM
John from LIC from LIC

I would suggest the French word "Demerder," which is a deformation of the word "Débrouiller" meaning to muddle through or to slog through. Demerder has somewhat more profane background though (merde).

Oct. 26 2010 12:01 PM
Henry from dumbo

English needs a positive response to negatively formed questions. I propose the French, "si."

You don't like the chicken?

Si.It's very good.

German has it too, "doch."

Oct. 26 2010 12:00 PM
jp from NY

Global Finance it is a bit too specialized:
Wall Street connotes evil globally. In global finance everyone has a bloomberg terminal :(. "To Bloomberg" is now widely regarded as "to e-mail within that closed finanace circle: It's the financial social network. Lot's of Italian in Banking and Accounting. Banco, Conto ( account) interesso (interest), nostro / vostro ( in corp accounting). Lot's more.

Oct. 26 2010 11:59 AM
Billy Gray from Greenpoint

I've always wanted a gender-neutral single pronoun!

I've got an idea for a new one: "hir"

It's got a touch of the femininity, yet still masculine (sounds like Ben Hur). Sold? Eh?

Oct. 26 2010 11:59 AM
superf88

"Verrrry complicated" in Vietnamese (like, what you would like to do is impossible because it is the worst idea in the world):

"Phuc Tap."

Supposedly a gift from the "American War."

Oct. 26 2010 08:08 AM

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