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English as a vacuum

A friend sent me this recently and I wanted to archive it. Will add the source once they find it again.


The process is still going on in the modern languages, and the vocabulary of English, more than that of any other language, has been enriched by its appropriation of foreign words. In some modern nations, notably France and Germany, there have been repeated efforts to avoid the intrusion of foreign words and to substitute native coinages to take their place. English, throughout its history, has had all of the delicate sensitivity of a powerful vacuum cleaner. Thus the warp of genetic derivation is interwoven with the woof of great numbers of words borrowed from related and unrelated languages; the resulting fabric has a richness and variety unequalled by any other language past or present.