June 18, 2004

Delightful chaos

Trevor at kaleboel wrote

I sometimes suspect that English is so popular (and so strongly associated with ideologies of freedom) not because of its status as the world's primary language of intercommunal transaction but simply because it is such a delightful chaos. For this reason I am happy that it shows every sign of resisting the linguistic hygiene and spelling reform brigades and becoming ever more diverse and confusing.

English morphology is not a patch on Russian (or Navaho or Hausa) for chaotic delights, and the English writing system, however chaotic, is surely inferior in chaos to Japanese. But still, I think that Trevor is on to something.

Posted by Mark Liberman at June 18, 2004 06:10 AM