Would the USA be the superpower it is if they didn't speak English? Watch

SpamBa
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What would America be like if, for example, they spoke Dutch or another minority language? The reason I thought of this was an episode of QI, where they explained how we traded NY for the Spice Islands as it originally belonged to The Netherlands. So I wondered what would have happened if the Dutch had gone to war with the British, and won what is now America so that it was their language that ended up being spoken?

The US is well known in general for the fact most of its citizens can only speak English. The reason they can get away with this is that they were lucky enough to be colonised by a country that also brought its language to another 1/4 of the world. Language is a fantastic social tool, tying people together and promoting cooperation. I know it doesn't always work out like that but having the same first language as someone else is infinitely easier. I am sure the 'special relationship', whatever you think of it, works better for the fact Obama and Brown don't need an interpreter.

Presuming that they became independant at the same time, would America be so powerful today if they did not have English as their official language, and spoke a language that was relatively rare?
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Fuzzpig
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Would you still think that language would be such a minority language, if the whole population of the US spoke it?
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herzblut
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(Original post by aliluvschoc)
Would you still think that language would be such a minority language, if the whole population of the US spoke it?
This.


English is an international language today in large part due to the fact that americans speak it, not the other way around. Go to any non english speaking country. I bet you that the people studying english there are studying american english, not british english.
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Chi019
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So I wondered what would have happened if the Dutch had gone to war with the British, and won what is now America so that it was their language that ended up being spoken?


They would still be a superpower. More important is average brainpower in the population.

At the macro-social level cognitive competence is more important than economic liberty for the economic growth of nations (Rindermann, 2008a) and it is more important than wealth for the democratic development of countries (Rindermann, 2008b).

As the average IQ in the US is now apparently going down, it is likely that a country like China which has high average iq & now that it has opened up economically, will take its place as the major superpower.

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/imm.htm

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/06...-kanazawa.html

Rindermann, H. (2008a). Relevance of education and intelligence at the national level for the economic welfare of people. Intelligence, 36, 127-142.


Rindermann, H. (2008b). Relevance of education and intelligence for the political development of nations: Democracy, rule of law and political liberty. Intelligence, 36, 306-322.
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jinx!
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You're making an extremely valid point here.

The only opposition I can think of is the fact that Spanish is such a widely spoken language within the United States as well as English. Also, the fact that their population is sourced from immigration (excluding the Native Americans) it means that there's a diverse number of languages spoken over there such as Italian, Chinese, Greek and of course Spanish.

I think that if they spoke Dutch in America today it might have historically put them behind great trading partners such as Britain in the eighteenth century due to the communication barrier. On the other hand, look at Canada with their great number of French speakers.
I may be going completely wrong here!
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SpamBa
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(Original post by jinx!)
You're making an extremely valid point here.

The only opposition I can think of is the fact that Spanish is such a widely spoken language within the United States as well as English. Also, the fact that their population is sourced from immigration (excluding the Native Americans) it means that there's a diverse number of languages spoken over there such as Italian, Chinese, Greek and of course Spanish.

I think that if they spoke Dutch in America today it might have historically put them behind great trading partners such as Britain in the eighteenth century due to the communication barrier. On the other hand, look at Canada with their great number of French speakers.
I may be going completely wrong here!
Yes I was originally going to say 'what if they spoke Spanish' but it occurred to me rather than having a negative effect on them this would probably have had a positive effect on South/Central America. If they did spoke Spanish I think all of those countries would have a closer alliance and it would not have properly compromised America's power.

I was trying to imagine America as lingustically ISOLATED, and you don't get much worse than Dutch for that. I don't think if this was the language they spoke the rest of the world would all have learned Dutch. I think it is the combination of Britain and America, two 19th/20th Century superpowers, that gave English the prominence it has today. For example, I think Britain is largely still influential today because we can speak English which has become the de facto language. Without the EU, other former colonists like France and Spain would not be able to weild the influence that they do whereas we, in sharing a language with the most powerful nation on earth, can stand a little more alone.

I don't get what you mean about Canada and French, can you rephrase it please?
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rajandkwameali
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The Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century made the USA a superpower. If this still occurred, then i wouldn't see much difference.
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rabbits_eat_tigers
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I understand that language is relevant to the cooperation and understandings between countries, countries that cannot cooperate with eachother due to comunication issues tend not to be on any fantastic terms. You have to take into consideration whether or not America got to be the super power it is now purely due to themselves or of course they relied upon other countries such as Britain and her Empire. If they became the super power by themselves off their own backs they i conclude that the language they spoke would not handicapped them, however if America prospered due to trading with countries whos language was indeed english perhaps the language may have had a factor.
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scjman
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(Original post by rajandkwameali)
The Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century made the USA a superpower. If this still occurred, then i wouldn't see much difference.
Really? I thought the USA became a proper superpower with the end of WWII?
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