Equal Treatment for All Separatists
In regard to "Bosnia's Byzantine Balloting," Sept. 11, the international body overseeing the Bosnian elections, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has fined the ruling Bosnian Serb party for its separatist advocacy. Will the Italian Northern League, Sinn Fein, Scottish National Party, and Parti Qubecois be next?
A grateful Anglophone
I appreciate the article "The World Rushes To Speak and Write 'American' English," Sept. 4. Surely "American English" is a contradiction in terms. Should it not rather be described as the English language as spoken by Americans?
For example, the testing use of "through" to mean "finished" rather than "by way of." A lady acquaintance, having for some time tried, with the help of a local telephone operator, to speak with a friend in America was puzzled when the operator asked, "Are you through?" "Yes, thank you," was the grateful reply, only to find she had been disconnected, and had to start all over.
Spare a thought for learners who have enough to cope with in our confusing use of a word to mean one of many things. Bow means variously: the weapon associated with American Indians or the knot with which we tie our shoe laces. Or spelt the same but pronounced differently: the front of a ship or the sweeping formal salute offered to royalty and ladies. Whereas bough, pronounced as for the salute, means a large limb or even the shoulder of an animal. Am I glad I didn't have to learn English as a foreign language.