Article Reviews

The Only Language Widely Used Essay

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The Only Language Widely Used Language plays a significant role in defining who we are. It is a method of communication in a structured and conventional way. “Language reinforces feelings of social superiority or inferiority; it creates insiders and outsiders” (p. 242) states Robert MacNeil (2012) in his article “English Belongs to Everybody”. Robert MacNeil, a writer of many great historical articles, was once, a journalist and news anchor. In his article, “English Belongs to Everybody”, MacNeil responds to the fear of many Americans who believe that Spanish will soon sweep over English.

He argues that English can not be diluted by any other language as “it has prospered and grown because it was able to accept and absorb changes,” MacNeil says, “Change is inevitable in a living language…” (2012, p. 242). After discussing the fear of many Americans, MacNeil explains how linguists and grammer experts, with pure intentions of saving the language, tend to make English boring by laying rules to follow. He supports his argument by discussing how different languages are “joint-inheritance of the English speaking world” (2012, p. 242).

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Furthermore he talks about how freedom of language relates to human rights in the modern world. In his article, MacNeil blames grammarians for the resistance towards English. ManNeil, concludes his article stating the point that English will not wipe out as it is the “tongue of common people, literate or not” (2012, p. 245). Title of the article “English Belongs to Everybody” summons the main argument and is reflected in the conclusion when the author describes how people use English regardless of the grammar teachings and various accents.

The structure of the essay is well developed. MacNeil presents his thesis after introducing the importance of language stating how a “living language” is meant to have a change as the years pass and how a language which adapts to changes is certain to live, prosper and grow. The theme discussed by the author is drawn from the thesis statement. He argues how and why any language is likely to transform. According to MacNeil, language classifies our ranks in the society we live in reinforcing “feelings of social superiority or inferiority” (2012, p. 242).

By this the author suggests how changes in language test the patience of individuals of which “some are good humored and tolerant of change, others intolerant and snobbish” (2012, p. 242). Throughout the article MacNeil provides extracts from various books to support his argument. He quotes Otto Jesperson, a Danish scholar, who in his “Growth and structure of the English language” who talks about two languages, French and English, comparing one to a garden and latter to a park. Jesperson describes the relation between a language and a man’s free will.

MacNeil also quotes Churchill who states that many languages combined, produced English as a language. By quoting Churchill and Jesperson, MacNeil supports his argument with ethos and logos. On the other hand, the main point MacNeil talks about, English being the only language used commonly does not seem to be valid. Chinese, Arabic and French including Spanish as mentioned by MacNeil are languages widely spoken and learnt. The way MacNeil supports his argument using limited sources discussing them several times gets the reader to lose interest.

MacNeil also fails to present a counter argument in his essay in order to convince the reader towards his point. Counter argument is one of the most important components of an argumentative essay as it lets the reader relate to a different view point showing them that while presenting his or her argument the author respects different perspectives to the same point. Also, in order to keep the reader interested and to have a strong argument a variety of references with details and explanations need to be used.

Therefore, MacNeil’s article does not seem convincing enough for its supported by little evidence. MacNeil failed to achieve his aim of convincing the reader fully, but he did make a valid conclusion of how English is not easy to be replaced by any other language, may it be Spanish a well developing language, as English is a language used world wide to communicate. In every country or state, English is known to be either the first or second language, why? This is for, English is one language that has influenced the world and has united the world making communication easier.

MacNeil, points that any language that adopts changes is less likely to be diluted. For example, Urdu, derives from Persian and Arabic where as Persian as a language is close to being extinct now as it did not adopt any changes. Overall, MacNeil has a fairly convincing argument with good language and a well developed structure. Words: 800 REFERENCE MacNeils, R. (2012). English Belongs to Everybody. In Shine, A. , Abusalim, A. , Sayed, S. , McArdle, J. , John, M. , Brown, M. , & Frederick, D. (Eds). Majlis of the ‘Others’ (2nd ed. , pp. 241-245). London: Pearson Education Limited.