WEB-ONLY SIDEBAR | November 2000
Encarta World English Dictionary
Anne Soukhanov has been a dictionary editor for thirty years and is The Atlantic Monthly's Word Watch columnist. She was the U.S. general editor of the published worldwide in September of last year, in print and on CD-ROM, and was the executive editor of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition (1992), which on publication was a best seller on the New York Times, and Boston Globe lists. Soukhanov has written or edited thirty-three reference books to date. She is the author of, for example, (1997) and (1995).
Barbara Wallraff recently interviewed Soukhanov by e-mail.
What would you say are the most important effects that the globalization of English is likely to have on English itself over the next decade or so?
The answer resides in the very degree to which English in its various national and international forms continues to "globalize." The velocity and spread of this globalization depend upon state power and shifting alliances, commercial power and shifting corporate alliances, technological power and advances, enhanced travel opportunities, and the attitudes of whole populations about the languages -- and the words in those languages -- that they wish to use in communicating among themselves and with others. The degree to which U.S. English will continue to acquire foreign-language borrowings, such as bungalow from Hindi and ersatz from German, depends on those factors. The same holds true for English-to-English borrowings.