Tuesday, May 26, 2015

David Brooks: English draws immigrants

I do not read David Brooks. Bad for my health. But when I saw the headline "Talent loves English" this morning, I hadn't had much coffee and didn't do what I knew was the right thing. I actually read the piece. Big mistake.

Wherever the headline comes from, here's the reference to language [emphasis added]:
Across the English-speaking world, immigrants are drawn by the same things: relatively strong economies, good universities, open cultures and the world’s lingua franca.
Wait, what? People immigrate to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States because English is the dominant language in those places? I know a ton of immigrants, from many walks of life and from literally all over the world. Aside from a couple who came to work as English professors or something, I cannot imagine that a single one of them was motivated in any way by the dominant language spoken here.

Does anybody know of any evidence of any kind, even anecdotal, that English motivates immigration to English-speaking countries? 

Image from here.*

*Answer to question: Lingua franca is English / in English. Wasn't always English, but is now. 


Anonymous said...

Wow, I was expecting Brooks to end by arguing that we should establish Cherokee or something as the national language to stop immigration.

Ben said...


Anonymous said...

I guess immigrants can't press '2 for English' on that?

Jonathon Owen said...

I saw that the other day and had to stop reading because it was making my head hurt. "People immigrate and then learn English; therefore, they immigrate so that they can learn English" is some seriously specious reasoning.

AG said...

Is it just me, or is Brooks' use of a noun "Chinese" to mean "one Chinese person" weirdly old-fashioned and racist-sounding?

Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, that use of 'Chinese' is VERY weird to me. And yes, Jonathon, Brooks always makes my head hurt. I should have said 'I have read this so you don't have to!'