Perhaps it is only to be expected that words, in being
transplanted from one language to another, alien one, should become strangely
transmogrified. This phenomenon may account for the numerous decidely unFrench
words appearing in your Gecko column (June 2-15 issue, p.6), such as
"introduissaient", "a opposé" instead of "s'est opposé"), "Manichaeanisme", "Le
Eutychianisme", as well as the fairly random sprinkling of 'accents aigus.' In
fact, words of French or Latin origin often fare badly in your publication, even
when they appear in their 'Englished up' form: e.g. "principle" (instead of
"principal"), "liquidaters", "recieving", all in that same issue... but then,
the problem is a fairly endemic one, occuring even more widely in other English
(?) papers, together with other assorted solecisms.
article on the war of languages (or imperialisms), on p14, I am struck, not for
the first time, that the only foreign-language newspaper in Cambodia that was
not started by foreigners, under foreign impulse, and with foreign money, should
be ignored. That paper, Le Quotidien du Cambodge, no doubt has its limitations,
though it is steadily improving. It too has occasional problems with spelling
and grammar, and also other flaws, not unrelated to the scarcity of its funds.
But Khmer, notably local Khmer (i.e. not diaspora Khmer) initiatives are still
somewhat rare, and should I feel be encouraged, not snubbed.
As for the
general question raised by the article, there is no reasonable doubt that
English, or rather a variously pidginised version of American English, will
prevail, just as the once overwhelming power of its originator and sponsor is
beginning to wane (the unequal development of history...).
- Philippe Hunt, Phnom Penh