"The English" (without noun)

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Jolumafe

New Member
Spanish
From an essay I wrote:

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union in the short term. At that moment, there will be not any country of the European Union whose official declared language be the English language. Although Ireland and Malta have the English as a co-official language in their respective countries, they didn’t declare to the EU organization the English as their official language because the English was already declared as official by the UK.


I wonder if it's correct to say "the English" and not "the English language" when it has been declared previously and it's understandable in the paragraph that it's all about the language. I think it is because I found examples like that referred to people: The English people -> The English.
But I'd appreciate any comment/correction/corroboration.
 
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, it's not. "The English" in isolation means "the English people", but in "the English that we speak" the definite article is needed because of the relative clause "that we speak."
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    "The English that we speak" is not the same as plain "English". You wouldn't say "I speak the Spanish", would you? However, you might say "People in South America don't speak exactly the same Spanish as I do".
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    "The English We Speak" is a special use of the article with English, that does not apply to your context.
    It means something like that particular form of (the) English (language). There has to be an article there.
     

    Jolumafe

    New Member
    Spanish
    Another example, in this case from Wikipedia:

    Since 1788, English has been spoken in Oceania, and Australian English has developed as a first language of the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent, its standard accent being General Australian. The English of neighbouring New Zealand has to a lesser degree become an influential standard variety of the language.[262] Australian and New Zealand English are each other's closest relatives with few differentiating characteristics, followed by South African English and the English of southeastern England, all of which have similarly non-rhotic accents, aside from some accents in the South Island of New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand English stand out for their innovative vowels: many short vowels are fronted or raised, whereas many long vowels have diphthongise.
     

    Jolumafe

    New Member
    Spanish
    Many more examples.
    Well, this is definitive. The book of the link is about the Englishes in the world and is reviewed by Dragana Surkalovic, from the Center for Advanced Studies in Theoretical Linguistics,
    University of Tromsø, Norway.
    Just admit it.
     

    Minnesota Guy

    Senior Member
    American English - USA
    You may run across "the English," etc., in certain contexts. People might say, "What's the English for 'tomar una copa'?" In a book, you might read "Translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa." ("Translated from the X" is an exception I can't explain.)

    But those are special cases. The correct way to refer to the language is "English" -- no "the."
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    about the Englishes varieties of English in throughout the world
    What would you like us to 'admit'?:rolleyes:

    Edited to add that I am leaving my correction of your sentence even though Nat has explained below that Englishes is used in academic circles.
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    English is the name of the language, and does not require an article. It is a proper noun.

    It is true that proper nouns can take on the article - especially when we want to distinguish between different versions of the thing or person. And so we say, 'This is my friend Peter' (no article), but we can say 'This is the Peter I told you about' (article to distinguish this particular Peter from other Peters). Therefore, we can say, 'the English of South Africa', 'the Englishes in the world' and so on. (This was mentioned by Hermione in Post 6.)

    The plural form Englishes is common among academics working on English varieties; members of the general public are less familiar with it.
     

    Jolumafe

    New Member
    Spanish
    I think both are correct. English as language is fine, and The English, as a political issue that is the subject of the essay, too. The second stress the concept that it is the main subject of the essay and it is treated politically, not just any other language in a normal situation. That's the grammatical function of the article, to determine or to specify something in particular, in order to distinguish it from something more general. In this case, it stresses and determines the noun because it is a special issue.
    For example, the phrase "to pass the salt" and "to pass salt" both are correct. It's commonly accepted to distinguish the salt that is on a table from salt used as a general noun in any context.
    Passing etiquette: "Always pass salt and pepper together" (it doesn't say "Always pass the ...")
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    English - the whole language as generally used by all people that use it

    the English [usually followed by of + description or just description] - some specific variety or kind of English, e.g. the English of Shakespeare, the Queen's English, the English spoken in Madrid, the English of Nova Scotia, the upside-down English of Yoda, etc. :D

    Englishes - as Nat explained

    If you want to compare it with salt:

    salt - any salt, any amount of it, anywhere

    the salt - some specific amount or container of salt we are talking about, e.g. the salt [implied: the salt on this table], or the salt [the daily intake quantity], etc.

    salts - various kinds of salt
     
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