The unwillingness of many English speakers to learn Spanish is an unedifying trait. The Spanish, bless them, just sigh and raise their eyebrows. In terms of international usage, Spain plays second fiddle to the English language. One senses stoic acceptance of their language’s inferiority.
Spaniards have little reason to complain. Despite Spain’s economy being highly dependent on English-speaking tourism just 22 per cent of Spaniards bother to learn English. The Spanish and French are simply not good at playing second fiddle to the superiority of the English language. In Sweden, another foreign country, 86% do speak English.
English is now the world’s most commonly spoken language. Familiar to half the world’s population it is said to be the first international language, certainly of business. This might have something to do with the English-speaking world being superior at international trade.
Let us not be too quick to condemn this peculiarity as do others. I am reminded of Joseph Conrad, the Polish writer. His mastery of the English language brought him international acclaim. Sadly, his being beneficiary of our mother tongue was on occasion abused.
“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it.”
Oh, hark at him! In a tally of European-inspired wars from the 12th Century to 1925, the Spanish spent the highest percentage of years (67%) at war. England haplessly trailed at third place (56%). Poland by the way, Conrad’s homeland won the silver cutlass with 58% years of war to its credit.
If the Spanish can claim the podium for cutlass diplomacy why not the English speakers for giving the world a language?
That is by-the-by; back to language and the solution is perfectly clear to me. The Spanish Riviera did capitulate to the English-speaking hordes of non-Spaniards. Is it not true that English speakers on the Costas, have a unique language-leaping phenomenon? do not make an effort? However, each time they try to use the lingo a smart-ass Spaniard says, “Don’t bother, I speak English.”
They must be the one in five you must take every day. So here is the cunning plan. The Spanish must accept English as their mother tongue. Others do; the Paddies and Taffies.
It will be necessary to relegate Spain’s pidgin Latin to an also-ran or linguistic hobby. This is a perfectly reasonable solution, who could possibly argue with it? Keep your sombreros on; no one suggests that Spaniards wear John Bull outfits, celebrate the coronation, fly the Union Flag, get legless at weekends or give up their asses.
Just learn English. English is a cosmopolitan language but in truth is not a language at all. English is pidgin European. A linguistic stew, the main ingredients of English being Latin, pidgin French, German, Arabic, Indian, now Punjabi and a sprinkling of other exotica. You see, the English do know lots of languages. More than those clever Scandinavians and Belgians do. If we can be multilingual the Spanish can too.
About the Author
Michael Walsh is the author of over 70 published book titles. He has also ghost-written (book edited) over 40 books, novels and biographies for writer clients. He offers professional help for writers: editing of website content, books, novels and marketing content. You write it HE rights it.
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