Would you consider English the universal language?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by science man, May 4, 2010.


Would you consider English the universal language yet?

  1. yes

    21 vote(s)
  2. no

    15 vote(s)
  1. Ja'far at-Tahir Grand Ayatollah of SciForums Registered Senior Member

    I personally would be angry if English became the universal language. I hate all those "speak English, damn't," types that I have met. If there is to be a universal language it should be totally new and tailored to be easy for all people to learn and use it. English is confusing and difficult, not to mention it's totally bland and unimpressive sounding imho.
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  3. superstring01 Moderator

    "Would". I'm afraid you don't have much of a choice. The fact that you are using this language now (the official/de facto official language of air traffic, maritime law, medicine, science, commerce, the internet, banking, as well as numerous other international organization) is telling enough of where the momentum is going and where it will end.

    People who site the erstwhile importance of Latin or French fail to include the fact that those languages were the purview of the powerful class and were nonetheless spoke marginally. Go to Haiti, the Congo or Vietnam (nations hardly considered wealthy) and you'll find even the poorest kids regurgitating English quotes, sayings and greetings. Those who site the "upcoming" importance of Chinese (the only possible competitor) fail to understand that China isn't exporting Chinese. No one in Africa, Latin America or Europe is learning Chinese. In a world where there is only so much room on sudents' plates for second languages, there is only one language to learn: English.

    English is taught in every classroom (well, those worth their salt) from Calcutta to Nairobi; Buenos Aires to Beijing. In places like China, India, Germany, Brazil (even with its close interactions with the Spanish Latin America) and Russia, there is no "other" second language. Every kid knows: if you want to make it in business, entertainment, politics or the sciences, you need to learn English. It has co-official status in the soon-to-be most populous nation on Earth: India, and is obsessively taught in the current most populous: China.

    Momentum, especially for 6.5 billion people--with infrastructure to boot--is unimaginably difficult to shift and unless interstellar invaders change our current course, there is little possibility of any other language usurping English.

    If you find it bland, then you don't speak it well enough. I am bilingual--by choice--and while I find Spanish to be beautiful, I find it to be nowhere near as versatile as English (though, satisfyingly more efficient).

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  5. Delphi Registered Senior Member

    There's a pretty good--but short--video on TED about the world's English mania. Definitely give it a watch, puts things into perspective.

    My low post count prohibits me from posting a direct link, so just google "Jay Walker English mania".
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  7. WillNever Valued Senior Member

    Have you even been to Germany? Most young people can speak English there.
  8. superstring01 Moderator

  9. superstring01 Moderator

    Holy shit, this thing is interesting.

  10. Kernl Sandrs Registered Senior Member

    Well, as long as we're talking universal languages, may I suggest you all watch this.

    Stargate SG-1, Torment of Tantalus. Skip ahead to 6:16 and watch to 8:10.

    And here, 1:40 - 2:10.

    I like the idea.
  11. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

    Surprising coming from a "linguist". Complexity is a sign of sophistication too. If you find Hindi complex, then admit that it is sophisticated.

    A sphisticated language is a must for literature in all fields. Specially true of poetry. Pay some attention to that aspect.
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You look like you're trying to read ten years of posts on SciForums in a few weeks. You're going too fast and making mistakes. Slow down!

    I am only referring to the writing system, not the language. The whole purpose of a phonetic writing system is to be easy to learn. If you make it too complex, you defeat the purpose.
  13. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

    A Linguist.

    What is a writing system? It is dependent on the language. Without a script or formal writing a language can survive. Without a language to represent, what is a script? Squiggles only.

    Second, it is apparent you don't know much about Indian languages.
  14. Arachnakid Linguist-In-Training Registered Senior Member

    Japanese does have Hiragana and Katakana in addition to the Kanji--even though these are syllabaries rather than alphabets, it is still possible to spell every word in Japanese by sound, and that is the first way Japanese children are taught to write before they learn all the Kanji.
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    What I should have said, to be precise, is that the Japanese writing system is not completely phonetic. In order to read and write at the adult level, you have to know about 2,000 kanji (Chinese logograms). Considering that a university-educated Chinese speaker can get by with only 5,000, that makes Japanese a very un-phonetic writing system.

    In fact, the Chinese government has been steadily lowering its definition of "literacy" so they can improve their national statistics. IIRC, they now define 2,000 han dz (the Chinese pronunciation of kanji) as minimally literate.

    Knowing the two systems of kana is not enough. If you write something out completely in hiragana, and the reader does not know that you're a child or a foreign student, he'll puzzle over it for a moment, wondering why he's looking at a whole page of particles and grammatical inflections that aren't attached to any words. If you write it out in katakana, at first he'll assume its a whole page of foreign words transcribed phonetically.
  16. dmdiannemorales Banned Banned

    In my own researched, I think most of the people consider English the Universal Language because that is the language used in reaching people in other country.
  17. woowoo Registered Senior Member

    historically they don't like the English much either, or anything Angle.

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