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UNITED STATES: Lexicographical Globalization

The international impact of nations can often be traced through vocabulary. The large number of Arabic words in Spanish is a legacy of Arab supremacy. When I was a child it was still fashionable to pepper remarks with Gallicisms to indicate familiarity with the culture of la grande nation.

Now it is English which is infiltrating the vocabulary of most countries, including France. Witness the word un job. Now "green card" (in English) has been adopted to indicate a special immigrant status. In Germany a ceremony was held when an Indonesian was awarded the first German "green card."

Ronald Hilton - 8/06/00