we all know what has been happening in Tunisia, and we should welcome it. No matter (almost) what happens next. I read with interest this blogpost which referred to the use of language by Tunisia's new (temporary) leaders. Most of them are of an age where most if not all of their education would have been through the medium of French, but some use the two forms of Arabic in use in Tunisia (the formal and the demotic - most languages other than, to my knowledge, English and Japanese, have two forms in this kind of way) more fluently than others do. This may say something about their cultural background, their switched-on-ness, or it may say something else altogether, or nothing. I do not understand or speak Arabic, so cannot assess their language use in that tongue, but I was struck by the immediate seizing upon language use as an indicator of what kind of politician we have. English of course barely has a demotic form, although there are many kinds of English in use in the world. In England itself class is the main informer of language. "Patois" is a French word, without English equivalent. Of the many kinds of English, one I have to tussle with on a daily basis is what might be called ELF, or English as a Lingua Franca, which is often to be found in international organisations. Debate is ongoing as to whether such English ought to be corrected if there is no risk of misunderstanding. "I proposed him to participate to the meeting" will not be misunderstood. But should I, as a native speaker of English, correct it when I know the response will be "Always we are saying this way since long time, why you change?"
Well, should I? And what is your favourite kind of English, native or not? My personal favourite is the English spoken by educated people in India, closely followed by that spoken among themselves by elderly ladies from Barbados who no longer live there.