Linguistic interventionism

There’s already been plenty of comment on the determined attempt by Jacques Chirac and other European nationalists to kick themselves once again in the goolies, this time over Google Print’s fiendish plot to Anglicise the world. One of the many fine non-English texts available through GP and so far undiscovered by Mr Chirac is Otto Zwartjes (ed), Las gramáticas misioneras de tradición hispanica (siglos XVI-XVII), which includes a warning dated 1580 from the historian Francisco de Medina re the dangers of failing to protect and promote Spanish:

I am often amazed by our weakness and negligence; because, having broken with singular fortitude and an almost divine prudence the pride of such mighty nations; and raising the majesty of the kingdom of Spain to such great heights as were never reached by human forces; and, apart from this good fortune, having been blessed with a language so appropriate in its pronunciation, so soft para doblalla a la parte [doblalla must be a contraction along the lines of de esta => desta, but it’s got me foxed tonight], what more could we want? are we so careless or ignorant? that we permit the loss of this rare treasure that we possess.

The language of the empire seems to be doing quite nicely.

me suelo marauillar de nuestra floxedad i negligencia; porque, aviendo domado con singular fortaleza i prudencia casi divina el orgullo de tan poderosas naciones; i levantando la magestad del reino de España a la mayor alteza, que jamas alcançaron fuerças umanas; i fuera desta ventura aviendo nos cabido en suerte una habla tan propia en la pronunciacion, tan blanda para doblalla a la parte, que mas quisieremos; somos dire tan descuidados, o tan inorantes? que dexamos perderse aqueste raro tesoro, que posseemos

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  1. doblalla=doblarla
    tan blanda para doblalla a la parte, que mas quisieremos >
    so soft to bend it the way we want to

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