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Imprisoned in EnglishThe Hazards of English as a Default Language$
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Anna Wierzbicka

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199321490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199321490.001.0001

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From Ordinary (Anglo) English to Minimal English

From Ordinary (Anglo) English to Minimal English

Chapter:
(p.185) 14 From Ordinary (Anglo) English to Minimal English
Source:
Imprisoned in English
Author(s):

Anna Wierzbicka

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199321490.003.0014

This chapter, which concludes Parts I to V of the book, argues that if the historically shaped Anglo English is distinguished from the Minimal English embodied in NSM English, then English does not need to be a conceptual prison for anyone. On the contrary, in its “mini” version it can serve as a common auxiliary inter-language for speakers of different languages, and a global means for clarifying, elucidating, storing, and comparing ideas. Such a mini-version of English, trimmed to the bone and detached from the culture-specific conceptual heritage of “Anglo English,” can be seen, the chapter argues, as “Basic Human,” and can fulfill a vital role in today’s globalized and English-dominated world. In his introduction to a volume entitled Universals of Human Thought, philosopher Ernest Gellner (1981) wrote: “Unconvertible currencies are not suitable for trade.” As this chapter makes clear, a key characteristic of Minimal English is that it is “fully convertible.”

Keywords:   Minimal English, Basic English, Globish, Basic Human, moral universals, “a sense of right and wrong”, truth, postmodernists

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