International Language?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Giambattista, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

    If there was an international language, what would it be?

    I have no choice but to nominate English. As far as I know, most major non-English countries teach/require several years of English as part of public schooling. Is that a safe notion?
    I'm guessing alot of that is due to the prominence of America, but also to the British Empire. That's where it started, at least!

    Does music count?
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  3. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    There was effort with Esperanto, but it reveals not to be practical as English language.
    Also, there was trial with French language as official language of European Union. But, I think that also failed. French is much harder to learn.

    And that's in my opinion, the must important thing why English language dominates. Easy grammar, melodical language, almost all significant music and movies are on English,... That's why non-english countries adopted it easily.
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  5. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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  7. Xerxes asdfghjkl Valued Senior Member

    Plazma Inferno!:
    English.. Melodic? Get off the pot. English sounds almost as canine as German. It is the most impure language that has ever existed.

    Personally, I'd prefer to see Portuguese as the international language.
  8. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    I'd like it to be Latin, but as now it seems to be English.
    Hummm, me writing this in English is a point in favour of English too.

    Oh, btw, I'm studying Spanish now too.
  9. Zardozi Isvara.... . 1S Evil_Lau Registered Senior Member

    Hindi is a fairly scientifically complicated language. Where I think it might even have a larger vocabulary than most others, especially english. I'm spending an eternity learning it.
  10. TimeTraveler Immortalist Registered Senior Member


    But yeah music does count.
  11. Harry Manback Make a room for pigs! Registered Senior Member

    I wote Orcish!

    Lat buub! Kasta tak bagronk ishi!
  12. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

    English is the international language of commerce.
  13. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    and science.
  14. mindtrick Registered Senior Member

    We can't change it, it has become
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The accuracy and impartiality of that Wikipedia list is disputed, it says to right at the top of the page. The top ten list in the Washington Post in 2002, for ranks in 1998, is significantly different:

    Mandarin.... 874,000,000
    Hindi.......... 366,000,000
    English....... 341,000,000
    Spanish...... 322,000,000
    Bengali........ 207,000,000
    Arabic......... 201,000,000
    Portuguese.. 176,000,000
    Russian....... 167,000,000
    Japanese..... 125,000,000
    German....... 100,000,000

    "Language follows the coin, not the flag," is an old proverb among linguists. America is the economic giant today so English is the world's leading language. We should remind ourselves that French had its day in the West, as did Latin and Greek. Aramaic was the leading language in the Middle East for centuries, and we can hardly forget that Chinese monks spread their language throughout East Asia with their writing system and other culture.

    Perhaps Chinese will have another period of ascendancy. Personally I think it's a much more suitable language for a rapidly changing world. It is far more adaptable than English, which is hobbled by Stone Age paradigms like tense, number, and parts of speech. We have to express relationships with a clumsy set of less than two dozen prepositions; Chinese does it with nouns and verbs.

    Americans complain about the "difficult" phonetics of Chinese, but most of the foreigners I've met think that English phonetics are positively daunting. Chinese has the unique advantage, due to its near total lack of noise-words, of being compact. It generally takes fewer syllables in Chinese to express an idea than in most other languages. As a result it can be spoken more slowly, a boon for non-native speakers struggling to parse sentences in real time.

    My vote, if it were up for election, would be Chinese. My prediction, based on the direction of the world economy, is also Chinese. Of course I'd be happy if it were Esperanto because I already speak it, but to me its intractable disadvantage is far too many syllables.
  16. RoyLennigan Registered Senior Member

    English is actually one of the hardest languages to learn. The grammar has so many exceptions and is a jumble of other languages, mostly germanic and french. And there are many other languages that are far more melodic.

    The only reason it is so widely used is because of the ongoing major influence of english speaking countries on other countries. The English Empire spread their language far and wide, and the American pseudo-empire is keeping it alive.
  17. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    English is also the international language for aviation and the shipping industry.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  18. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure u could call science a language. Perhaps Mathematics
  19. Redefine91 I piss excellence Registered Senior Member

  20. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    Klingon? You mean the Universal Translator.

    Come to think of it, telepathy.
  21. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

    english is one of the easiest languages to become functionally fluent with.

    that is..unless you are saying that 4/5ths of the english speaking world isnt "fluent".

    i know turks that speak english better than the average american, without being highly educated.
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "Functionally fluent" is good enough to run a dry goods store as long as you're "intellectually fluent" in your native language. But "functionally fluent" is not good enough to make a meaningful contribution to a culture.

    English is easy to learn as a pidgin because the macro-grammar is simple. But the micro-grammar--our gigantic glossary of idioms that make up a huge part of our speech--rivals that of Chinese, which has a special counting word that only applies to large flat objects and another just for books. You can run a software help desk in pidgin but you can't make a meaningful contribution to a culture. (And even that is difficult because if you assume that all words containing "tern" are accented on that syllable and prononce "internet" that way I think you're saying "internal" and your desk is not very helpful.)
    I'm not sure what you're referring to as the "English-speaking world." The Washington Post's chart ten years ago counted it at 341,000,000, which pretty much adds up to the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and the smaller anglophone countries. If you toss in all those Indians who speak it better than a good many Americans you've got about 400 million today.
    It has a lot to do with the accident of how similar the structure of your own language is to English. At the much larger other end of the scale, I know many, many Chinese with university degrees who struggle to make their English comprehensible.
  23. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Science is not a language (well, it is since it is blatantly obvious that normal people cannot understand a scientist even if he isn't using fancy words).

    But english is indeed the current standard language in science. Look at pubmed. There are some chinese journals, and a few other language journals scattered around but the majority is in english.

    Didn't always used to be so. German and French used to be major scientific languages, but the war changed that.

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