Here’s a frivolous thought to take your mind off the recession:
I think we, native speakers, should stop calling the English language ‘English’ and call it ‘regular’ or ‘common’ instead. This would drop a parochialism of one sort for one of another. We would be adopting the practice of indigenous cultures all over the world, such as the Maori, who refer to their language te reo maori (literally ‘normal speech’), in just this way.
Speakers of French or Gaelic would obviously continue to refer to our language as they prefer (even though Anglais seems just as subject to criticism as ‘English’, I’m not proposing any changes to French–––there are some limits to my presumption at least).
A change is needed because our language isn’t just the language of the English anymore. It’s the language of Kiwis and Aussies and Canadians and Americans and Irish and Indians and many more people besides. Of course, once upon a time only the English spoke English (I don’t think even this is strictly true), but what they spoke then isn’t really the same language as what we speak now. When a language changes, it may be appropriate to change the name of the language too.
Besides, the status quo has only history on its side. But democracy is on the side of reform. Why should millions of people have to refer to their language by an out-of-date label whose application is just an accident of history? If James the Sixth and First had thrown his weight around a bit more, we might have become used to referring to the language of Greater Scotia. How is it that when England has been forced to give back all the lands it took, it can keep its title to our language? Is it fair to those young children born many hundreds even thousands of miles from England to learn that they are merely borrowing their language from its true owners, the English, by their grace and favour and for whose cultural beneficence they may be ever in debt?
(Actually, I suppose the most my grounds for complaint would support is the introduction of an alternative term rather than a replacement. It really is still the language of the English (as well). People now use ‘hoover’ as a general word for any brand of vacuum cleaner, even though most vacuum cleaners are not hoovers. Would we want to say they shouldn’t, as my argument seems to suggest?)
Now a pro pos of nothing at all, here are two pictures of gorse flowers (also known as furze or whin). I absolutely love this stuff. I cannot take my eyes away from the yellow flowers when they are out like this. They are my paradigm of yellow. And if you walk past a bank of gorse like this on a hot day, you’ll catch a deliciously sweet fragrance which, to me, has a distinct note of coconut ice about it.