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    It would seem to most, that English is fast becoming the language of the world. Spoken by one out of every six people in the world and numbers on the increase. Spread largely through colonialism and furthermore, through the American media and globalisation. The only real rivals in terms of sheer numbers of speakers are Mandarin and Arabic. However, the vast majority of speakers of these languanges are natives of the respective countries. English on the other hand, is the official language of a large number of countries including: the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many other members of the commonwealth. Moreover it is the second most widely learned second language after French.

    But does the world need a Lingua franca at all? And if it does is English really the best candidate? It reasonable to assert that an international language does make international business, liasons etc more simple and efficient. It could also be argued that the easier it is for the people of nations to converse and communicate effectively, the more readily barriers fall and people unite.

    So if a Lingua franca is useful, which is the best candidate to provide this? The problems with English include the numerous irregularities in its grammer, which make it difficult to learn as a second language. This can result in a clear divide between native and non-native speakers, wherein non-native speakers can never achieve the same level of fluency as a native speakers. Arguably, even more important, is the association between English and colonialism. This results in a resistance to converse in and use the language because of the negative connotations with the past.

    These problems are not unique to English, most national languages have these problems to some extent. Ideally, an anational international language is the answer. Languages, such as these do exist. Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, to name but a few. However, these languages have achieved little real success. Esperanto is the most widely spoken anational language, with an estimated two million speakers. This is hardly comparable with English which has approximately 700 million speakers, or Madarin, which has 1.2 bilion. The reasons for this lack of success is debatable. The lack of culture, media and opportunities to use the languages undoubtably play a part. This lack of success does not however, mean that a language such as Esperanto, if promoted and widely taught through schools, could not provide a fairer, more neutral means of international communication.

    Whether the people who speak fluent English as a native language, who largely control the worlds media care enough about fairness or neatrality to learn a language such as Esperanto I doubt. If however, as other nations develop media empires of similar resonance and distribution to America and Hollywood. And if they select to promote films and music written in an anational language, as opposed to a national language, this language could in time spread and become a realistic alternative to English as our new Lingua Franca.
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    (Original post by Futility)
    It would seem to most, that English is fast becoming the language of the world. Spoken by one out of every six people in the world and numbers on the increase. Spread largely through colonialism and furthermore, through the American media and globalisation. The only real rivals in terms of sheer numbers of speakers are Mandarin and Arabic. However, the vast majority of speakers of these languanges are natives of the respective countries. English on the other hand, is the official language of a large number of countries including: the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many other members of the commonwealth. Moreover it is the second most widely learned second language after French.

    But does the world need a Lingua franca at all? And if it does is English really the best candidate? It reasonable to assert that an international language does make international business, liasons etc more simple and efficient. It could also be argued that the easier it is for the people of nations to converse and communicate effectively, the more readily barriers fall and people unite.

    So if a Lingua franca is useful, which is the best candidate to provide this? The problems with English include the numerous irregularities in its grammer, which make it difficult to learn as a second language. This can result in a clear divide between native and non-native speakers, wherein non-native speakers can never achieve the same level of fluency as a native speakers. Arguably, even more important, is the association between English and colonialism. This results in a resistance to converse in and use the language because of the negative connotations with the past.

    These problems are not unique to English, most national languages have these problems to some extent. Ideally, an anational international language is the answer. Languages, such as these do exist. Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, to name but a few. However, these languages have achieved little real success. Esperanto is the most widely spoken anational language, with an estimated two million speakers. This is hardly comparable with English which has approximately 700 million speakers, or Madarin, which has 1.2 bilion. The reasons for this lack of success is debatable. The lack of culture, media and opportunities to use the languages undoubtably play a part. This lack of success does not however, mean that a language such as Esperanto, if promoted and widely taught through schools, could not provide a fairer, more neutral means of international communication.

    Whether the people who speak fluent English as a native language, who largely control the worlds media care enough about fairness or neatrality to learn a language such as Esperanto I doubt. If however, as other nations develop media empires of similar resonance and distribution to America and Hollywood. And if they select to promote films and music written in an anational language, as opposed to a national language, this language could in time spread and become a realistic alternative to English as our new Lingua Franca.
    This is something we were discussing in linguistics earlier in the week. We also questioned whether English would be the lingua franca considering the spread of Chinese which is actually spoken by more people throughout the world than English.

    There's something like 6000 languages in the world at the moment, with two thirds of the world's population speaking 1 of 12 major languages. And the majority of these less known languages will have disappeared within the next half a century.

    Personally I couldn't imagine having to learn Chinese within my lifetime. I've grown up in an English dominant world and to imagine the UK shifting to diglossia with Chinese being taught predominantly before I die is a strange concept.
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    (Original post by Futility)
    It would seem to most, that English is fast becoming the language of the world. Spoken by one out of every six people in the world and numbers on the increase. Spread largely through colonialism and furthermore, through the American media and globalisation. The only real rivals in terms of sheer numbers of speakers are Mandarin and Arabic. However, the vast majority of speakers of these languanges are natives of the respective countries. English on the other hand, is the official language of a large number of countries including: the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many other members of the commonwealth. Moreover it is the second most widely learned second language after French.

    But does the world need a Lingua franca at all? And if it does is English really the best candidate? It reasonable to assert that an international language does make international business, liasons etc more simple and efficient. It could also be argued that the easier it is for the people of nations to converse and communicate effectively, the more readily barriers fall and people unite.

    So if a Lingua franca is useful, which is the best candidate to provide this? The problems with English include the numerous irregularities in its grammer, which make it difficult to learn as a second language. This can result in a clear divide between native and non-native speakers, wherein non-native speakers can never achieve the same level of fluency as a native speakers. Arguably, even more important, is the association between English and colonialism. This results in a resistance to converse in and use the language because of the negative connotations with the past.

    These problems are not unique to English, most national languages have these problems to some extent. Ideally, an anational international language is the answer. Languages, such as these do exist. Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, to name but a few. However, these languages have achieved little real success. Esperanto is the most widely spoken anational language, with an estimated two million speakers. This is hardly comparable with English which has approximately 700 million speakers, or Madarin, which has 1.2 bilion. The reasons for this lack of success is debatable. The lack of culture, media and opportunities to use the languages undoubtably play a part. This lack of success does not however, mean that a language such as Esperanto, if promoted and widely taught through schools, could not provide a fairer, more neutral means of international communication.

    Whether the people who speak fluent English as a native language, who largely control the worlds media care enough about fairness or neatrality to learn a language such as Esperanto I doubt. If however, as other nations develop media empires of similar resonance and distribution to America and Hollywood. And if they select to promote films and music written in an anational language, as opposed to a national language, this language could in time spread and become a realistic alternative to English as our new Lingua Franca.
    As a non-native speaker, I believe that I am more fluent than 99% of the native speakers I've met here (as is the general case for most non-native speakers, not taking accents into account). The one issue I've had here is that given my limited exposure to British English (only studied it for my O'Levels, 6 years back), its been hard to converse with people with really strong accents although I've managed to overcome that issue greatly. The second, less important but definitely not unnoticeable issue has been understanding the intricacies of British spelling, grammar and vernacular as a speaker of the American dialect and trust me, at times it can be important to know the difference, considering that some of the words/phrases in one dialect are unheard of in the others (**** for cigarettes) and then there are others which have completely opposite meanings in British and American English (chippy in Britain means a fish/fries joint. In American English it means slut). These minor issues aside, I don't see why English can't be adapted as a lingua franca, considering that its one of the easiest languages to learn.
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    (Original post by Futility)
    But does the world need a Lingua franca at all? And if it does is English really the best candidate? It reasonable to assert that an international language does make international business, liasons etc more simple and efficient. It could also be argued that the easier it is for the people of nations to converse and communicate effectively, the more readily barriers fall and people unite.
    While it might not strictly be a necessity it brings more of a benefit than it would have in the past. In our 'information age', the transmission of the most important commodity - information - benefits from a common language. That will probably be true until/if we are able to develop good automated translators (at which point it will presumably become far less of an issue).
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    if it isn't broken dont try to fix it?
 
 
 
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