Languages like English

Dear reader, I love languages. They fascinate me.

Languages are the carriages with which we move our thoughts, ideas and emotions into the world, to other people, and it is incredible that there is such a plenitude of language on our Earth. English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Turkish, Arabic, and many more.

A while ago I was pondering the English language and something popped up in these thoughts. What is English? Originally it was the language spoken in England. Given how both words start with the same part that is somewhat of a give-away. Like German is to Germany, Italian to Italy and Dutch to the Netherlands. Oh. Well, you can’t win them all, I suppose.

But what about American English? It is derived from English but it has taken its own course and development through the centuries. Many facets of the language are still identical to its origin, but lots of things also changed. Which got me to think about the name American English. I somehow don’t think that this name does the language justice. In the Netherlands people speak Dutch, in the north of Belgium they do as well, but like the American form of English, that version of Dutch evolved differently than it did in the Netherlands, and now that language is called Belgian, not Belgian Dutch. (This is not entirely true, sometimes it is also called Flemish, but that is not the point I want to lead you to.)

Why not call the language that is common in America American? The people there are American, they live the American way, they buy American, so would they not speak American? I think it should be seen as a language on its own, free from (British) English. Because French fries are as close to chips as ‘n petatteke is to een frietje. And in case you don’t know what those last to are: they’re the Belgian and Dutch words for French fries. Or chips. It’s all the same potato.

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