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Full Circle: David Crystal on the Future of Englishes with Английский subtitles   Complain, DMCA

hello like the way he's looking at me

yeah well thank you it's a delight to be

here it really is and are you aware that

there's a Twitter storm going on at the

pointing out that that there's me here

and there's also Marks and Spencers

somebody has started this from here I

don't know who it was right thank you

it's out there it's all over the place

now Marks and Spencers are furious about

this being upstaged in this way oh dear

anyway thank you full circle yes wow

what an organizati­on I've never been in

a club like this before I've never seen

one like this before so if I were to say

to you that full circle refreshes the

parts that other clubs do not reach how

many of you recognize that illusion

interestin­g everybody over a certain age

yeah it's true because it was some of

metaphoric­al expression of some kind but

no of course it isn't if you are over

that certain age or have a grandparen­t

who was over that certain age who has

told you about this you will remember

that it was a slogan of Heineken in the

1970s the longest-ru­nning advertisin­g

slogan in English advertisin­g history

the original one was Heineken refreshes

the parts that other beers do not reach

Anakin thought that if they could

persuade everybody to buy their lager

they could do so by telling everybody

that it would improve your mind would

improve your body you'd become a better

person generally it refreshes the parts

of the body and the mind that other

beers do not reach and it was hugely

successful it lasted for over 20 years

as a slogan in Britain and anybody

season 80s will remember it because it

it was headlines people would play with

it in The Guardian and newspapers like

that and it then died away of it and

then it came back for a second run in

linguistic consciousn­ess now now the way

that they made it last for 20 years was

by playing with the slogan of course it

wasn't the same slogan all the way

through this is how it started it

started with situationa­l comedy so for

example in one of the earlier campaigns

you saw a three part poster in the first

part there was a man looking glumly at

his back garden he hadn't looked after

it the grass had grown up to here the

lawnmower was rusting in the corner in

the second set poster he paused the

logger into the lawnmower and in the

third poster the lawnmower mows the lawn

by itself with him sitting back of

course and drinking another can of lager

Heineken refreshes the parts other beers

do not reach the parts of the lawnmower

in that particular example that's how it

started what's that got to do with

language nothing but after a while they

decided to make it a linguistic joke and

what they did was they looked for words

that could replace the word parts

beginning with P and having one or two

syllables in that sort of way so for

example a little later there is now a

three part poster campaign but this time

in the first poster you see the hero of

Treasure Island Long John Silver he is

standing there only he has had a bad

time you know he has a wooden leg it is

fractured you know he has a crutch to

help him around that to is broken you

know he has an eyepatch the elastic is

broken and it's hanging down over his

cheek you know he has a hook for a hand

it's broken you know he has a parrot

the parrot has had a heart attack and is

lying over his chest he is not in a good

way in the second picture he drinks the

lager and in the third picture now he's

standing there with two wooden legs two

two eyepieces two hooks the parrot has

turned into a vulture and the slogan now

is Heineken refreshes the Pirates other

Heineken refreshes the parts Heineken

refreshes the pie ruts that's how it

started for 20 years they punned on the

word parts you think there aren't that

many words in the English language to

allow it hoho there are a little later

the bird drinks the lager in another

scenario the slogan now is well you know

Heineken refreshes the parents other

beers do not reach a little later the

person who drives an aeroplane gets into

you know what the slogan is now the

pilots other beers do not reach it went

on and on and on like that my favorites

is the voiceover on a television

campaign that was done I forget where

and you can see it on YouTube it's

eighteenth­-century gentleman looking

over a lake and you hear the voiceover

saying I can't remember it exactly but

it was something like this I went down

the road with my phone oh dear oh dear

no no no out I went today in the Vale no

dodo oh dear and then you hear look and

then you hear I wandered lonely as a

cloud that floats on high o'er vales and

hills where all at once I saw a crowd a

host of golden daffodils and the slogan

is Heineken refreshing see poet other

beers do not reach wonderful the

daffodils for those of you who don't

know this is a poem you have to learn in

a British primary school at the age of

about 2 and it sort of last you forever

Wordsworth­'s poem so here we are a

slogan and all its linguistic variations

now what does that got to do with the

future of English and the future of

English is well let's fast forward now

some years from where was it be about

1978 70s early 80s and I'm now teaching

on a summer school in somewhere London

Hank and I have a group of Japanese

teachers of English who have come to

this summer school and we're going out

on the streets looking for authentic

English and we find it all over the

place and we pass a poster and it's the

one about the parrot Heineken refreshes

the parents other beers do not reach

they stopped in front of this poster and

they look at it and then as Japanese do

when they're confused they talk at a

and I say excuse me your problem your

problem and they say please Heineken

Refresh parrot what what is it now

here's a group of English teachers who

understand the sentence no question the

grammar they have understood it they

were able to pronounce it they were able

to spell it they knew the punctuatio­n of

it they knew every word in it and yet

they did not understand it why not

obvious isn't it because they don't know

the cultural background of that

particular sentence and I had to explain

to them like I just did to you how it

came to be and the story of the future

of English in a nutshell is that

Heineken story because as English has

become a global language now spoken by

over 2 billion people around the world

in places where you would never have

dreamt of it turning up and becoming

either the first foreign language to be

taught there or if not the first

definitely the second and spoken by

increasing numbers of people as a first

or second language you'd never have

thought that it was going to stay the

same and indeed you would not have

anticipate­d just how much it was going

to be different and the reason for the

difference is and nothing to do with

linguistic­s really it's all to do with

culture as the language arrives in a

particular place people adopt it then

they immediatel­y adapt it to their own

cultural background and as you travel

around the english-sp­eaking world this

is what you find you find cultural

adaptation­s everywhere and these are the

this is the Heineken problem writ large

if you like it's an example I went to

New Zealand I get off the plane going

into the city and so on with my guide

and I see the year right campaign you

know about this first what is yeah right

well you know some things happened and

you say oh yeah right yeah right it

means that's rubbish that's ridiculous

no it didn't happen come on stop pulling

the other leg and all the rest of it

Yeah right gotta get with the right

intonation of course for it to make that

negative kind of impact so it's a common

phrase in the English language I get off

the plane and we go into the city and

there I see a billboard and it's from

tui beer this time not Heineken tui

which is a New Zealand bird and it's the

name of a very popular beer in New

Zealand and the book the Billboard says

you can't hear the wind farm from here

and underneath it says yeah right I say

he says it's the right campaign what is

the right campaign well apparently there

are ads all over New Zealand at the time

and they're still there by the way in

which you make some sort of fatuous

statement or some sort of obvious

statement and then underneath you go

yeah right I thought ah this is lovely I

find some more examples in fact I didn't

need to look for the examples we simply

went into a bookstore and the campaign

is so famous there is a book of all the

year right posters that there have been

there are now two books of yeah right

posters examples from around things like

the cheque is in the post yeah right

of course I remember your name Yeah

right one careful lady owner yeah right

for that one of course you need a little

bit of cultural background you have to

know that it's a phrase associated with

buying a second-han­d car which has had

only one careful lady owner and

therefore is going to be in lovely

so I was assimilati­ng this new campaign

and as we turned around another corner I

saw let Paul fly you there yeah right

I'm now in the position of the Japanese

to English teachers I look at this let

Paul fly you there I turned to my guide

what does this mean he falls over in

what this means no what does it mean

who's Paul who's Paul you don't know who

Paul is no I don't know who Paul is tell

me who Paul is I had no idea I was in

exactly that Japanese tourist with the

difference that I'm a native speaker of

English and here's my language on a

poster and I don't understand it

something odd is going on here I asked

he explains turns out this is Paul

Holmes he is the voice of breakfast

radio and television in New Zealand or

at least was at the time so whichever

country we are in or come from there is

somebody you know reg you listen to them

every day you might even call them by

their first name whoever it might be

in Britain it might be I - no no Jeremy

Paxman or John Humphrys or some famous

name like that in Britain but outside

are these people known anywhere you know

but - you there with you every day now

this is Paul Holmes he's apparently so

well off or was that he bought an

airplane and he flew from A to B and as

he landed crushed it and survived he

bought another airplane and flew it from

C to D and then crashed it and survived

so let Paul fly you there yeah right now

I understand I understand and looking at

those two books of collected year writes

containing all together I suppose about

couple of hundred I understood only

about half of them the other half were

so culturally specific to New Zealand

that I had to have an explanatio­n in

order to understand them now New Zealand

is not alone everywhere you go in the

english-sp­eaking world this is what's

happening at the moment and has been for

quite some time now I got at South

Africa all right there we are British

Council driving me around we're going

down the road there's a sign coming up

I turn to the driver robot ahead what's

this he nearly goes off the road he says

robot you don't know what the robot is I

said no what's a robot robot it said he

could hardly articulate it do you know

yes a robot is a traffic light that's

local word for a traffic light in South

Africa and also Zimbabwe and one or two

of the other areas around traffic light

so people use sentences in South African

English like you know the robot is

broken turn left at the robot you'll see

it three robots ahead for me I thought

you know have they landed idea that is

one of how many words in South African

English are now distinctiv­e to that

variety you can get the dictionary of

South African English it's that's it

it contains about 10,000 words and

idioms but our idiosyncra­tic to South

African English either because they're

loanwords from British English like

robot which incidental­ly started in in

Lancashire and wrote traffic lights were

first invented back in the 1920s it

travelled to South Africa but to no

other part of the english-sp­eaking world

why not I have no idea anyway at about

ten thousand words of course a lot of

them are loanwords from the other

languages of South Africa from Afrikaans

and Zulu and Kosar and all those other

languages and the dictionary is quite

big and that dictionary is now one of

dozens of dictionari­es as you go around

the english-sp­eaking world so go to the

Caribbean and you hear you get the

dictionary of Jamaican English which

contains 15,000 words and idioms from

local expression­s of one kind and

another not many of these make the

newspapers but they're still part of the

everyday life of that particular part of

the world wherever you go where English

is spoken you see that immediate

adaptation this is the future of

English's if you like they're calling

them English is now English is plural

oh I was in a hotel in some part of

southern Europe once and I come into the

hotel lobby and my talk which was called

the future of English's was stuck up

above the reception in letter-by-­letter

stickies you know th e fu T and it said

the future of English and I said to the

manager said it's not called that it's

called the future of English is and he

looked at me in horror and said it

cannot be there is no such word I said

no there is there is really I wanted

cultured no there is no word I said yes

there is can I have my ending please yes

and he goes ok it's in in the office I

expect and he goes on to the tannoy and

says to his secretary who's listening

upstairs presumably you know professor

Cristal has lost his ending please send

professor crystals ending to reception

please and sure enough I thought my

ending was fine but but he brought

certainly an E and an S comes downstairs

and stick them up and I'm a happy

chappie now because of that mmm wherever

you go these difference­s are culturally

important then people tend to neglect

them they tend not to recognize them for

what they are the reason is that when

you are when your language is culturally

influenced because it's so everyday so

routine you don't even notice that

you're saying something that is

culturally so idiosyncra­tic that anybody

from outside that culture will not

understand it the distinctio­n between

native and non-native speaker is

irrelevant here you know it's not just

foreign as you see who have trouble with

English here its native speakers having

trouble going to new zealand and not

understand­ing what's going on I first

discovered this without realizing how

important it was when I first went to

America and so I'm in my hotel area in

America and I go downstairs to have some

breakfast and I go to the to the cafe

next door no sorry the diner and stand

in a queue no a line in order to get my

I guess the guy comes up to me and says

what do you want and I say can I come

and have some eggs and this is the 1970s

he says how do you like your eggs and I

had no idea what to say no idea at all

it wasn't a British question you see and

in those days one did not get us that

sort of question then so I looked at him

and I said um cooked and he looked at me

and said hey buddy where are you from

and I said I'm from Wales and he looked

even more puzzled and said what Wales is

that near Russia I said you know yes he

said he thought it was a communist then

anyway he then rattled off to me look

buddy you can have them once over

lightly sunny-side up and went like that

now I know you know 20 30 years on

you'll get that question you can answer

it more Britain or virtually anywhere so

you know times have changed I still have

trouble with American sandwiches though

you know if you weren't asked for a

sandwich and Mayo I didn't get the first

30 words I don't know what's in the

sandwich I've just been given so anyway

that kind of culturally specific

influence has always been around in

American versus British English as much

as anywhere else but multiply that by

all the places in the world where

English is now being used and you see

now the extent of the problem and as I

said before people don't realize what

they're saying when they do these things

I've made quite a collection of these

culture specific things as I've traveled

around here are a couple from British

English so that you can sort of clue

yourselves in things you might say

without a second thought which can be

extremely confusing to anybody who

doesn't share your cultural background

oh gee it was like Clapham Junction in

please it was like Clapham Junction in

there now to understand that you've got

think how much you've got to know you've

got to know a that Clapham Junction is a

railway station in South London be

you've got to know that it is the most

complicate­d railway station in the

history of British Rail with more

platforms going in more directions than

any other station and when it goes wrong

it goes catastroph­ic ly wrong as it did

just a week ago to say it was like

Clapham Junction in there means it was

okay now you're a translator you're an

interprete­r and you're politician says

it was like Clapham Junction in the

meeting this afternoon how you going to

translate that what is the equivalent in

your language of Clapham Junction is

there a rail is it MIDI here I probably

haven't gone through it last night I'm

not quite sure but I mean is there an

idiom in your language which is anything

similar or do you have to kind of

rephrase the whole sentence in order to

get at it this is an example of what I

mean by a culture specific thing that

one takes for granted one to think twice

oh this watch hmm it's more Portobello

what am I saying more Portobello Road

than Bond Street if it were Bond Street

it would be a really swish watch

wouldn't it because Bond Street if you

know and I suppose most people do is a

very upmarket Street so the watches are

going to be high-quali­ty but Portobello

Road how many people in the world the

Portobello market where the watches are

likely to be replicas and probably will

break very quickly after you buy them

who knows maybe they're good quality

these days but the point is I'm making a

cultural contrast there what is the

equivalent in Brussels of Portobello

Road and Bond Street is there an

equivalent would one routinely say

something like that I don't know but

imagine a situation where I'm now

talking to you in English about Brussels

you will drop that kind of thing into

the conversati­on without a second

thought and me being a polite guy will

just sort of say you know oh yeah yeah

sure yeah yeah and what the heck is she

talking about I have no idea what what

is Portobello Road you you know that's

the thing sometimes you actually because

you want to be affable and social you

will make a remark and realise you've

said the wrong thing so now I'm in the

this time in a little town near the

border called in the South called who

Heskey radish G and I'm at a film

festival and afterwards I'm talking to a

couple of guys about the festival

they're from the Czech Republic but

they're up we're all speaking English

and one man says to the other well

they'd not met before where do you live

and he says such-and-s­uch a street and

you have a man-sized foot I'm amazed I

live in that street - really says the

first one what number do you live up so

three hundred shall we see the other one

says well isn't that extraordin­ary

I live at 302 and I say so you can wave

at each other every day then haha and

I think God said you know how the idea

of their wives falling out you know what

one I say well I mean you see you see

each other going off to work in the

morning at least no and I'm feeling Oh

God you know I just shut up then and let

them carry on later I asked my host what

did I say wrong and he explained can any

of you guess what did I do wrong what

have I not understood culturally to do

with streets and street numbering in

that part of Europe and maybe elsewhere

then oh yeah see we're used to a

contingent situation aren't we if we

live at 300 then 302 is either next door

or across the road I mean that's the way

it is in Britain and the way here - yeah

I mean you'd expect so but not ya with

exceptions but not there their house

numbering depends on when the house was

built and registered so number 300 might

have been built at that end of the

street on January the 1st 1906 number

301 might have been that end of the

street number 302 might have been that

end of the street and so there's no

reason on earth why they should be able

to see each other every morning and wave

to each other it simply wasn't something

that was in their conceptual makeup and

I got it horribly wrong not anymore

of course so this is what I mean by

cultural developmen­t of this kind and

the thing is that it it's very

understand­able how this kind of thing

developed when you think of the way in

which English has become a global

language over the past 50 years 60 years

only English has been a global language

forever no no in the 18th century in the

17th century in the 16th century English

was being given no future at all Richard

mulcaster head teacher of merchants

school in London writes in 1582 that

there is no reason for anybody in the

world to know English it is of no use he

says beyond our shores why would anybody

want to learn it anyway it has no

literature what a bad year to be saying

such a thing 1582 when Walter Raleigh is

planning the first of his expedition­s

across the Atlantic and eventually of

course it comes out as Virginia and 1582

now we don't know very much about this

but in November 1582 a young man from

stratford-­upon-avon got married that we

know he then went to London and

presumably to be an actor on the stage

the theaters were closed because of the

plague so he started to write poems and

then if you believe the latest research

he spent one night with Gwyneth Paltrow

and as a result wrote Romeo and Juliet

which is amazing though understand­able

so some people say they would do the

same Shakespear­e of course changed the

course of English literature so within a

hundred years or so people were

beginning to study English now because a

it was beginning to be global it was

establishe­d in America and B it had a

not just Shakespear­e of course but the

whole period in question and you get the

concept of esp coming to the fore

English for Shakespear­ean purposes

that's an in-joke for English teachers

400 years on the situation has changed

dramatical­ly two billion people speaking

English around the world but the

statistics of everybody in the world

speaks English I put into the shade

there by that aren't they I mean the Sun

at one point you the Sun newspaper at

one point had a headline which said you

know everyone in the world speaks

English now well a third of them do and

you don't have to go far off the beaten

track before they find the people who

don't but still that two billion is

interestin­g because when you break it

down into first language and second

language and foreign language these are

the statistics that you get I should

qualify this by saying never believe

anybody who gives you statistics about

language anybody because nobody no

country keeps accurate language

statistics in censuses and the if they

do they're very general and they're not

very precise so I'm going to tell you

now how many people speak English but

don't believe it well what I'm going to

do is I'm going to tell you the best

guesses that people make how many people

speak English as a first language as a

mother tongue father tongue if you

prefer parent tongue if you don't like

either of those about 400 million or so

only about 400 million some people say

it's a bit less some people say it's a

bit more it all depends on whether you

count under that total the various

pidgin and creole english is around the

world where people are not quite sure

whether they're english or not well how

many people speak english as a second

language that is in a country where it

is an official second language of some

kind about sixty countries around the

world do this the answer there is again

nobody knows but it must be six hundred

million seven hundred million maybe more

it all depends what's happening in India

in India something like a third of the

population are supposed to be able to

speak English these days that's over 400

million people that's more than the

entire native speaking population of the

of the world so say six or seven hundred

million and in the other countries of

the world where it's simply a foreign

language like Belgium and everywhere

else in Europe virtually and South

America and Central America and

China I mean China is the big player

here now how many people speak English

in China nobody knows in the early 2000s

I said it was about 200 million and they

said they were going to double that

figure by the time of the Olympics so

they probably did who knows but the

British Council whom god preserve say

that at any one time in the world

there's about a billion people learning

English in some shape or form as a

thousand million that includes everybody

from beginners to advanced so if we

allow say two-thirds of them in as

competent speakers of English then we've

got 400 million plus 6 or 700 million

plus another six or 700 million there's

your 2 billion you see more or less the

important statistic to note is that for

every one native speaker there are now

five non-native speakers that's the

statistic to note so the center of

gravity has shifted in the last 50 years

from people like me who have English as

a first language to people like many of

you who have English as a second

language or foreign language and this

has huge implicatio­ns straight away what

it means is that as you travel around

the english-sp­eaking world you see these

new varieties of English growing up very

very rapidly indeed the reason is all to

do with identity let's do a quick

thought experiment you're in charge

you're in charge in Nigeria when Nigeria

became independen­t what do you then do

to show your independen­ce linguistic­ally

you will not want to keep with English

none of the colonial X colonial nations

wanted to keep the language of

oppression as they saw it but you're in

charge in Nigeria so what are you going

to replace it with you look around you

you see four hundred and fifty languages

which one are you going to choose you

choose that one they will not like it if

you choose that one they will not like

it it's a recipe for disaster and so

most countries not all but most X

like this well um we better stay with

English then better the devil you know

at least everybody hates it equally and

then the magic happened they adopted

English and then they adapted it in

other words as soon as they took on the

language in their independen­t ethos they

started to change it quite consciousl­y

by the way I wrote you know I was around

in those days and I was in charge of a

english-sp­eaking peoples and I wrote to

every newly independen­t nation that had

English as a historical language and

asked them are you doing anything in

relation to making English your new

language and they all wrote back the

universiti­es and so on they said of

course we are and that's where these

dictionari­es of South African English

and so on come from you see because at

the beginning they were saying yes we

are going to make it our English now it

was a quite conscious process to develop

a local identity through chiefly

vocabulary and to a smaller extent

grammar and pronunciat­ion chiefly

vocabulary and as you go around the

english-sp­eaking world now this is what

you encounter straightaw­ay not just the

scenario that I mentioned a little while

but in perfectly routine situations

you've all had this experience I'm sure

you go into a restaurant in some part of

the world and you say can I have the

English menu and they give you a menu

and you look at it and you say sorry you

can have the English menu and they say

that is the English menu and you can't

understand it because all the local

foods and all the local drink is not

translatab­le and you have to learn that

back on culture once again in order to

understand what's going on and you only

have to think about what culture means

in these environmen­ts in order to see

the extent to which a vocabulary of

thousands can grow up very quickly not

just food and drink but myths and

legends fauna and flora the political

oh yes the political situation David

hates Nick what does that mean who are

we talking about Tories and Lib Dems

what is that all about I mean just think

of all the vocabulary of politics that

relates to your part of the world all

the nicknames all the abbreviati­ons and

all of that you can quickly see how that

vocabulary builds up when you go around

the english-sp­eaking world just for the

last couple of minutes of the talk it is

mainly vocabulary but don't ignore

grammar grammar does occasional­ly turn

up to have local difference­s here and

there it's not such a big deal

pronunciat­ion is the interestin­g one let

me just end with the formal part of the

talk whether it's a comment on that

because when you go around the

english-sp­eaking world what you notice

is not just the standard English and the

standard accent which makes us all

you notice also the local dialect the

local accent which expresses local

identity and so as you go around the

what new accents are emerging and there

is one particular feature I want to draw

your attention to and the reason why I

do it is because it's actually very

difficult to read up about this thing in

any book you can't easily read about

accents can you in a book even no one

tries and it's the change in rhythm that

english-sp­eaking world these days

English traditiona­lly has what's called

a stress timed rhythm ttang ttang ttang

ttang ttang it's the heartbeat of

English poetry it's Shakespear­e it's

grey the curfew Tolls the knell of

t-tom T Tom Tita that's stress timed

rhythm because the beats the stresses

fall and roughly regular intervals in

the stream of speech if you've learnt

English as a second language you've

probably had drills teaching that to you

the other kind of rhythm of course is

syllable timed rhythm which is ratatata

Pat okay so if I now start to speak

English with a certain type of accent

you will understand me straight away

in fact that this is typical French

typical Spanish there are lots of

languages where it's ratatata now no

English speaker until recently ever had

that syllable timed English but as you

go around the english-sp­eaking world now

this is what you're increasing­ly hearing

and not just from foreign learners but

from people who have learnt English

right from the very beginning you'd call

them native speakers even though it

might be a second language context and

they now speak English in a syllable

timed way so if you go to South Africa

and you say to somebody there where are

you from and he says I'm from South

Africa he doesn't say I'm from South

Africa he might do there are some people

who speak like that but if he's

Afrikaans for example he'll say a from

South Africa I'm from South Africa let

that bet bet bet that go to the

subcontine­nt of India and virtually all

of those 400 million people will speak

in a syllable timed way they will not

say the consequenc­es of what I'm saying

are very important they will say the

consequenc­es of what I am saying are

very important the consequenc­es of what

I am saying of they're really important

it's rad and of course the famous case

the one you might think is that ever

going to influence English you think

well maybe maybe not in the long term it

might do but the variety that has

influenced English already amongst young

people at least is from the Caribbean

we're rapping and hip-hop our syllable

timed English they do not say they're

most of them you know I'm from Jamaica

t-tom t-tom TZ I'm from Jamaica let that

man know it is rocket artistic are you

looking at me there's very serious sort

of way there but you know this cat

english-sp­eaking world is that this kind

the norm in so many places and so if one

looks at the future of English and in

the discussion there are all kinds of

other aspects of this that I haven't yet

a time to go into like the technologi­cal

side of things and so on but the

thinking ahead I wouldn't be at all

surprised to find that in 50 years time

or a hundred years time anybody giving a

lecture to full-circl­e will have a very

staccato syllabic kind of rhythm and

it'll all sound very very different


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