If it's any consolation, English is creating a little family of its own. There's British English, which has its rural children scurrying around underfoot, mostly unable to understand each other. Baby Northumberland can't determine what on earth Baby Devon is trying to tell her as they're almost entirely mutually incomprehensible. Then there are the cousins - US English, with its stripped down grammar and tiny vocabulary forcing a reliance on highly ambiguous phrasal verbs. There's Indian English, with its adverbs and adjectives often meaning something entirely different from the very same words in British English. There is also 'Strine, beloved cousin Down Under, and South African English which has increasingly morphed into a curious blend of English, Afrikaans, and various Bantu expressions. So even if English is shunned by its Indo-European derived relatives, it can take comfort in the fact its own family is thriving - and doing so for precisely the reasons that made English so adaptable and hence applicable everywhere.

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