I've read this quote or its variations several times. It's been around. It still needs to be here:
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.
According to Wikipedia, a guy named James Nicoll wrote it in 1990 in the Usenet group rec.arts.sf-lovers, and then went on to be quoted by linguists galore. And the Internet. And a variant:
Is it too obsesive to keep tracking variations on the original? Here's one attributed to Terry Pratchett:English doesn't borrow from other languages.
English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and rummages through their pockets for loose grammar.
English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.Also, the one that made think of looking this up:
Because English beats up other languages in dark alleys, then rifles through their pockets for loose grammar and spare vocabulary.