"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."—James Nicoll, in rec.arts.sf-lovers, circa 1990
I just came upon this quote, courtesy of Marcus Antaya, in a comment posted to Sandra Kasturi's Facebook page. Sandra is a co-publisher of Chizine Publications.
I'm often intrigued by quotes -- and this one in particular given my profession as an editor (of the English language) -- and will occasionally post them here. Of course, before I post a quote, I always check out who the author of said quote is if I'm not familiar with the name. According to the entry in Wikipedia, James Nicoll "is a former role-playing game store owner, a freelance game and speculative fiction reviewer.... As a Usenet personality, Nicoll is known for writing a widely quoted epigram on the English language, as well as for his accounts of suffering a high number of accidents, which he has narrated over the years in Usenet groups like rec.arts.sf.written and rec.arts.sf.fandom."
Wikipedia also notes that the quote has been misattributed to other individuals including Booker T. Washington and a nineteenth-century painter also named James Nicoll. But more importantly, the quote, properly attributed, has been included in rhetoric and communications books and quoted online by numerous professors of linguistics. The books and professors are duly listed in the entry.