January – British English month

Posted by on January 07, 2010

© ImageSourceRight. We’re back, we’re on, we’re in for 2010!

What a great way to end the year with an Edublog award; thanks so much to those who voted for us. As for 2010, we have some great things planned and can’t wait to share them with you. As well as more witty, entertaining, discussion-inducing fare a la 2009, this year we will really be focusing on English as a growing, changing global language. Every month we’ll look at a different country in the world and the English that is spoken there. We’ll be asking the question: what’s your English?

So, we’re going to start close to home: January is British English month. It’s a tough one to cover as there are so many different kinds of English spoken in Britain and, for sure, we won’t get even a fraction of the wonderful diversity in – but we have to start somewhere! To introduce the theme for the year and the kind of thoughts that go with it, here is a local hip hop artist/musician/poet and all-round insightful guy: Dizraeli and a piece he has made and we have recorded about … well… English.

It’s fast and the English might seem ‘foreign’ to some of you, but we’ve added the transcript below the video, and for teachers and students of English language learning we are putting together some worksheets that you can use to pick the poetry apart!

Please check back for more British English posts, and feel free to write your own posts about your brand of British English or your experience of British English (any variation thereof) and if we can, we will post it up here.

Happy 2010! Here’s to a year of celebrating language!

The 21st Century Flux

English. The new disease?
It pours out of television speakers and computer screens
Disregarding Babel with its very cocky fluency
Sticking on its labellings at every opportunity.
Nothing’s safe; it won’t stop when it begins to spread
it dominates the airwaves and reigns/rains on the internet
leaving cultures altered and confused as to what’s what
turns the dialecting of the youths to a hotch-potch
rag-tag scrabble bag; everyone’s affected
the little languages will not survive unprotected.
So hold your own, but get a firm hold of English
and every last one of us shall be a multilinguist:
sing it!
Shampoo juggernaut moolah hullabaloo
ad infinitum, pow-wow, kudos, déjà vu
Won ton, billabong, beef, potato, hobo, dream
Wha gwan with the wigwam boogie
mr Chimpanzee?
Welcome to the twenty-first century flux
for now, English is the language of choice
And when it dies, as every tongue eventually must
let it be said you added your voice
The professor said, “Pif! What language is this?
Degenerate slang isn’t standard English!
We at the top must establish limits.”
I said “Prof! Language is the people that live it.”
Get loose, give it some vision and foresight
and juice; we can fling the dictionary door wide.
I live in a city where it seems like
every single idiom is intermingling stream-like,
Like streams, that know no barriers
No matter what dams and channels are established –
they are irrelevant. What matters is the message that is put across,
and the passion that’s invested in it. Nothing’s lost
it merely mutates, and lets the people speaking it
tweak it in new ways.
Meaning that meaning is whatever you say
Jilly, Jack, Hussain, in Iraq to the UK …
to all corners; through all twists and bends
Six billion personal versions of events
It’s thrilling when you think of all the tongues on a jostle
to express their puzzle in the best words possible.
The more words we have, the more ways we have
to express the world we have to co-exist in.
And if the English language is the lingua franca of this planet,
never say that it should be a closed system.
Welcome to the twenty-first century flux
for now, English is the language of choice for the performers
But when it dies, as every tongue eventually must
let it be said you added your voice to the chorus
Cos English isn’t English; it’s an elastic patchwork
A fantastically insane confederation
a very strange tapestry of foreign vernaculars
borrowed from Norse kings, and fettered slavemen
So if language is linked to the land which it springs from
English is linked to the globe in entirety
With fragments of every language you’ll think of
Roots in every type of society:
Welsh, French, Jamaican, Indian, Italian
Dominican, Hispanic, Germanic, Norse, African,
Norman, Dutch, Latin, Greek, Japanese, Yiddish,
Native American, Antipodean and Finnish…
The list could continue till my tongue went blue;
what I’m saying is the owner is you.
It lives as it’s spoken, and it mirrors the truth
And there isn’t any owner but you…
Welcome to the twenty-first century flux
for now, English is the language of choice
But when it dies, as every tongue eventually must
let it be said you added your voice

written by Dizraeli

Comments (5)
  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Macmillan Dictionary, Venkatesh K. Venkatesh K said: RT @MacDictionary: Welcome to the 21st Century Flux. New blog post: http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/21st-century-flux-dizraeli/ […]

    Posted by Tweets that mention The 21st Century Flux | Dizraeli on English Language -- Topsy.com on 7th January, 2010
  • i agree with the fact that english language is the francas language, because all the people around the worl know it and is very important for us, for our future;if we want a good job, good conections with people from different coutries it will be essential for us to know english.because of the globalisation there are now lots of new words from english, which have been taken by all the languages for example milkshake, taxi, or computer.those words are also used in my language, and there is also a jargon category of words used by teenagers.english is important, i assumed that, but in this worl of transitions, is better for us to know more than 2 languages…but this is my opinion…

    Posted by cristina-emilia stirbu on 14th January, 2010
  • […] happy (and I think related find) is Dizraeli’s rap/poem 21st Century Flux (video below). I defy anyone with an interest in the English language to be unimpressed with the […]

    Posted by Let It Be Said You Added Your Voice « If You Don't Like Change… on 20th January, 2010
  • […] happy (and I think related find) is Dizraeli‘s rap/poem 21st Century Flux (video below). I defy anyone with an interest in the English language to be unimpressed with the […]

    Posted by Let It Be Said You Added Your Voice | neilwinton.net on 29th August, 2010
  • […] Herr hat mich heute morgen von seinen künstlerischen Ambitionen vollstens überzeugt. Der Text spricht, denke ich, für sich. Anschauen und Meinung bilden. Es lohnt sich. Dieser Herr hat mich […]

    Posted by The 21st Century Flux auf polaroidmedchen.de on 1st December, 2010
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