Should English be the international language?

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Should English be the international language?

Postby ishqboli » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:36 am UTC

I don´t see a problem with there being a language that the whole world can use, but does it have to be English. There are more speakers of Hindi and Mandarin. What´s wrong with them?

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby sje46 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:48 am UTC

I don't know much (anything) about asian languages, and how related they are to each other, but english is similar to a lot of romance languages, and may thus be easier to learn. I get that English isn't a romance language, but it shares a great deal of vocabulary. Plus, same basic alphabet with same basic pronunciations (at least, it would be relatively easy to learn them, compared to all the characters in chinese). English is also an easy typing language.

The reason why Englihs is the international language is because England and US have exerted so much influence in the past two hundred, three hundred years, and the fact that the internet was built using English certainly helps.

But I actually think Spanish would make a decent international language. Simple to learn for the most amount of people, and many, many people know it already.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Silas » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:07 am UTC

ishqboli wrote:There are more speakers of Hindi and Mandarin. What´s wrong with them?

They're poor. Weighted by importance wealth, there are a lot more native English speakers. Which sounds awful, but makes sense: at least the plurality of the people who do international business speak English, and I'd wager that, accounting for the size of the deal, significantly more international business or governmental agreements have at least one party whose native language is English than any other language. All those Mandarin speakers don't get counted, because they're stuck in their villages.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:49 am UTC

It's less to do with poverty and more to do with location, I think. Even if all Hindi speakers were incredibly wealthy, they pretty much live in one area of the world. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to push for a language spoken in a handful of countries to become a global language.

Also, I think the OP's question is the wrong one. English already is an international language and has been for some time, so the better question is whether there's any good reason to discourage the trend that's already firmly in place.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:32 am UTC

There shouldn't be any international language, because cultural hegemony is bad for the kids. Hindi is the perfect example: English was, until recently, still the official language in India because minority language groups resented Hindi having official status, and at least English represses everyone's culture, not just that of Punjabi/Bengali/Tamil/et cetera speakers. So Hindi shouldn't be the international language for the same reason it shouldn't be the Indian language.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby sje46 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:41 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:There shouldn't be any international language, because cultural hegemony is bad for the kids. Hindi is the perfect example: English was, until recently, still the official language in India because minority language groups resented Hindi having official status, and at least English represses everyone's culture, not just that of Punjabi/Bengali/Tamil/et cetera speakers. So Hindi shouldn't be the international language for the same reason it shouldn't be the Indian language.
Would a constructed or revived language repress culture too?
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:05 am UTC

Yes. It would be impossible to construct or revive a language that didn't carry an inherent bias that favoured speakers of a living existing language, one way or another. Think about grammatical rules regarding sentence structure or whether letters should represent syllables or not.

Even if there was, somehow, magically, no inherent bias in a constructed language, it would still repress cultures. What happens to the body of French literature? It must all be translated, and much of its meaning will be lost. And what if Balinese have words that convey subtle meanings that are culturally important, which have no equivalents in the new language? The only thing that could be said in favour of it is that English literature and customs would suffer equally as much, but that isn't the greatest comfort.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:25 pm UTC

Well, as a near-fluent speaker of a constructed language (Esperanto, obviously) I do agree with the first point that no constructed language will be equally easy for everyone. But still up to ten times easier than having to learn a national language with all its exceptions and pecularities. Don't stare blind on perfection, 'very easy' is already an enormous improvement. Cultural hegemony will also be less, not entirely gone perhaps, but definitely less.

It is possible to translate most of the meaning in a good translation. This is valid for constructed languages as well as national ones. There may be a few words that are very hard to translate accurately of course, but those who really care about that can always read the original.

By the way, I am absolutely against replacing national languages with anything, but since there must be a means of international communication, it's best if there is one language, and that that language is not any national language, but Esperanto (or another suitable constructed language, but I really think Esperanto is the best one).
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:53 pm UTC

Well, you're right, 'very easy' is better than 'bugger it they can all learn English.' And I'll concede that I don't think anyone would seriously consider replacing national languages, so I was arguing against a bit of a straw man there. For the purposes of commerce, politics and international law something like Esperanto would be useful, but I still find it too Eurocentric. That is, it would be a concession to many Europeans, but not really one to Asians etc, and in that respect is not much better than English or French (the old international language).

Having friends who insist I can't truly understand The Golden Ass without reading it in Latin, or the Iliad without learning Ancient Greek, I have to question the idea that a translation is as good. Although I am happy to say that I read Borges despite the fact that I only have an English translation of Labyrinths, the truth is that there are meanings and subtleties from the Argentine wit I am missing because I don't read him in Spanish. Besides, translations are co-authored by the one doing the translation, so a twenty-first century translation of a seventeenth-century philosophy essay can only be so legitimate.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:27 pm UTC

A little remark here about the first point: even though Esperanto, English and French are probably equally alien to Chinese speakers, only Esperanto has a regular spelling, no congruation of verbs and no irregularities. That is also what makes a constructed language like Esperanto easier.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:16 pm UTC

Wait until kids start learning it as their mother tongue. Then change and irregularities will no doubt crop up as they do in all natural languages.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Shivari » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

I still don't really see a reason to switch the international "business" language from English when it's already pretty firmly in place. I don't see why telling everyone to stop and learn Esperanto or creating some language with a bit of everything thrown in so that it's equally awkward for everyone would be of any benefit or convenience to well, anyone, so why bother?

And I see what you're saying about losing some of the meaning in a translation, but it's not as if that by allowing the current trend to continue that we'll completely abandon all other languages and all works written in them. It's just a language that's more often than not used to communicate when one or more of the native languages in a meeting (or whatever) is not spoken by everyone. We're not holding a gun to every country and telling them to all learn English and abandon their native language, so I don't see a problem with using English a common language for international meetings and such.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

Three important points: first, that English is already an international business language does not mean that people don't have to spend any more efforts. Every new generation has to learn the language again, and those who know it have to keep up with it which means immersing in English-language culture, i.e. cultural dominance. And for those new generations learning a far easier language will be a great improvement.

Second, languages are disappearing all over the world at an alarmingly fast rate. Admittedly, this is mainly national languages replacing local languages, but it shows that a strong language can cause the elimination of a small one. And in some post-colonial nations English or French are among the national languages, and there are children there learning only the 'modern' language, at the cost of their grandparent's language. Is it not sad for children to not be able to speak with their own grandparents?

And there is a (perhaps more important) point from a moral view: why should some people learn a whole language, while others can just use their mother tongue? And why should the ones that did not spend any effort still be the better speakers and thus be able to be more argumentative? Does anyone here dare to say that this is not unfair?
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:57 pm UTC

Couldn't those same things be said of Esperanto?
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Mavrisa » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:39 am UTC

One thing I have heard from my friends which are able to speak those languages say that dialects actually act like language barriers. Apparently, if someone were to learn Mandarin, very few others who also spoke mandarin would be able to understand them. English is universal as far as I'm aware. Aside from the horrid accents some people have*, I can understand any [educated] anglophone.

*I don't mean to say that I cannot understand people with heavy accents, some are just very hard to decipher..

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And hey, English is only the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy... that leaves... food preparation!
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:32 am UTC

Mavrisa wrote:One thing I have heard from my friends which are able to speak those languages say that dialects actually act like language barriers. Apparently, if someone were to learn Mandarin, very few others who also spoke mandarin would be able to understand them.


( I don't speak mandarin, but my girlfriend does, but she's not around at the moment to check, so this is second hand info: )

It's true that if you learn "standard" mandarin, you won't be able to understand people who don't come from near Beijing, although that still leaves leaves millions if not dozens of millions.

But that doesn't mean they won't understand you. The standard dialect is the standard, it's spoken on TV etc, so people with weird dialects can often understand you if you speak standard mandarin well enough. People from all over China do learn to speak the standard dialect if they often deal with people from other parts of the country.

And perhaps more important, people speaking "Chinese" can usually communicate by writing, even they if they speak completely different languages. That's an aspect of the language we tend to underestimate, and of course also the reason the country can cope with so many people who cannot talk with each other.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:39 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Yes. It would be impossible to construct or revive a language that didn't carry an inherent bias that favoured speakers of a living existing language, one way or another. Think about grammatical rules regarding sentence structure or whether letters should represent syllables or not.

Even if there was, somehow, magically, no inherent bias in a constructed language, it would still repress cultures. What happens to the body of French literature? It must all be translated, and much of its meaning will be lost. And what if Balinese have words that convey subtle meanings that are culturally important, which have no equivalents in the new language? The only thing that could be said in favour of it is that English literature and customs would suffer equally as much, but that isn't the greatest comfort.


Are you arguing that there shouldn't be one world language everyone learns from birth, or that there shouldn't be one lingua franca at all?

I personally have some doubts about people who claim that stuff is so much better in the original. If I were to spend years to learn ancient greek, I sure as hell would claim it gave me special insights too.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Sc4Freak » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:54 am UTC

ishqboli wrote:There are more speakers of Hindi and Mandarin

I don't know about that. I've seen wildly varying estimates of the actual number of English speakers. This page, for example, quotes a number of 1 billion (just under Mandarin Chinese's 1.051 billion). The footnote says,
depending on what constitutes a second language speaker, estimates vary between 0.5 and 1.8 billion.

I'm not sure what the source of that is, though.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:58 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:Are you arguing that there shouldn't be one world language everyone learns from birth, or that there shouldn't be one lingua franca at all?
Pez Dispens3r wrote:And I'll concede that I don't think anyone would seriously consider replacing national languages, so I was arguing against a bit of a straw man there.

Reading the thread before you post: it's recommended by some.
Zamfir wrote:I personally have some doubts about people who claim that stuff is so much better in the original. If I were to spend years to learn ancient greek, I sure as hell would claim it gave me special insights too.

Ancient Greek (probably) wouldn't give you special insight into the meaning of life. It would give you insight into the Iliad.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:28 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote: Zamfir wrote:Are you arguing that there shouldn't be one world language everyone learns from birth, or that there shouldn't be one lingua franca at all?

Pez Dispens3r wrote:And I'll concede that I don't think anyone would seriously consider replacing national languages, so I was arguing against a bit of a straw man there.


Reading the thread before you post: it's recommended by some.


hey, calm down :D I did read that part, I am just curious what you do see as the ideal situation, or as best achievable situation.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Ancient Greek (probably) wouldn't give you special insight into the meaning of life. It would give you insight into the Iliad.


Yeah, i get that. Ill try to be a bit more specific in what I meant: people who learn foreign languages, let alone dead languages, with the main purpose of reading artistically valuable texts tend to be people who read those texts with much, much more scrutiny than others. And they focus relatively more on texts where that level of scrutiny is likely to be fruitful, partially because the author put in a lot of subtlety in the first place. This most clear in the case of poetry of course.

I have no doubts that within this subfield of a subfield, the original language is important, or even crucial. But I would argue that for the far majority of reading, the original language version does not offer that much more that it makes learning a language worth it. In particular, a careful reading of a good translation in a language you completely master is likely to work better, in the far majority of cases, than reading the original in a language you are not deeply experienced in.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:11 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:hey, calm down :D I did read that part, I am just curious what you do see as the ideal situation, or as best achievable situation.

Fair; I'm just tired and grumpy. I think the ideal would be to have more languages than there are now, with much less standardization, because when you have to make an effort to understand someone's language you're more likely to gain an appreciation of their culture. As opposed to going to Denmark assuming you can wing it with your English, which you can do, but you don't get much from the visit. I am, of course, a hypocrite, because I plan to go to China next year to teach English. But my point is that linguistic hegemony is almost identical to cultural hegemony. This is why the Welsh worked secretly to keep their language alive, and why the English tried to exterminate it. It's why the Anglo-Australians sought to assimilate Indigenous children by separating them from their linguistic heritage. Once the language goes, the culture is soon to follow. When the lingua franca is English (ignoring that it's likely to be the mother tongue of one party) it doesn't do as much damage as forcibly removing a language, but it does contribute towards Western dominance.
Zamfir wrote:Ill try to be a bit more specific in what I meant: people who learn foreign languages, let alone dead languages, with the main purpose of reading artistically valuable texts tend to be people who read those texts with much, much more scrutiny than others. And they focus relatively more on texts where that level of scrutiny is likely to be fruitful, partially because the author put in a lot of subtlety in the first place. This most clear in the case of poetry of course.

I have no doubts that within this subfield of a subfield, the original language is important, or even crucial. But I would argue that for the far majority of reading, the original language version does not offer that much more that it makes learning a language worth it. In particular, a careful reading of a good translation in a language you completely master is likely to work better, in the far majority of cases, than reading the original in a language you are not deeply experienced in.

It's not about artistry. You can parse a lot of cultural meaning from the language a text uses. Compare The Day of the Triffids with the lyrics of an Eminem song, and then try and translate them both into French. Their peculuralities will be diluted, their turns of phrase lost, their puns rendered pathetic. Further, their message will be corrupted (or worse, enshrined) by the translator. Either our French translator will tend to make Eminem conform to the dictionary, or will ghettify the good mister Wyndham.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:38 pm UTC

In the last case, it is also because Eminem is using a different dialect of English, and that dialect has a cultural value attached to itself.

And to return to gmalivuk's question: No, none of those three is valid for Esperanto as a world language. First, by being nobody's language people from all over the world would contribute equally to a 'world culture', so even if it is a dominant culture everyone will be able to contribute. Because Esperanto is far easier to learn, parents will feel less obliged to learn their children this language from birth instead of their own mother tongue (could still happen though, I'm not saying it will never). And Esperanto does not grant anyone the position to be the only one to correct others about their language. It may be somewhat easier for some than for others, but no one will have to do no effort at all.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:41 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:In the last case, it is also because Eminem is using a different dialect of English, and that dialect has a cultural value attached to itself.

Exactly. And is it hard to imagine that the fifties BBC English also has a cultural value attached to it? As well as present-day BE and AE?
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:51 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Fair; I'm just tired and grumpy. I think the ideal would be to have more languages than there are now, with much less standardization, because when you have to make an effort to understand someone's language you're more likely to gain an appreciation of their culture. As opposed to going to Denmark assuming you can wing it with your English, which you can do, but you don't get much from the visit. I am, of course, a hypocrite, because I plan to go to China next year to teach English. But my point is that linguistic hegemony is almost identical to cultural hegemony. This is why the Welsh worked secretly to keep their language alive, and why the English tried to exterminate it. It's why the Anglo-Australians sought to assimilate Indigenous children by separating them from their linguistic heritage. Once the language goes, the culture is soon to follow. When the lingua franca is English (ignoring that it's likely to be the mother tongue of one party) it doesn't do as much damage as forcibly removing a language, but it does contribute towards Western dominance.


I think I agree when it comes to dominance, and apart form the West dominating the rest, it's of course also the English speaking world dominating the rest of the West. It is of course rather ridiculous that I know details of the American health care system, and that Rudd replaced Howard in an unimportant country (to me) on the other side of the globe.
But what's the alternative? I could decide not to learn foreign languages, and to stay away from English texts and debates. But that would just put me in a small corner of the world, and while I have now little chance of influencing native speakers of English, if I don't speak English my influence doesn't grow.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:It's not about artistry. You can parse a lot of cultural meaning from the language a text uses. Compare The Day of the Triffids with the lyrics of an Eminem song, and then try and translate them both into French. Their peculuralities will be diluted, their turns of phrase lost, their puns rendered pathetic. Further, their message will be corrupted (or worse, enshrined) by the translator. Either our French translator will tend to make Eminem conform to the dictionary, or will ghettify the good mister Wyndham.


For the Day of the Triffid, I don't really agree. I think I did actually read that book in English and in translation, and the translated version even has a different title. Still, I doubt I got a very different experience. There might be something especially 1940's England in the book, in references and in language use, but I won't notice a lot of that even in the original language. A good translator who does notice and manages to convey some of it in the translation might actually do me more good in that respect.

Of course, Eminem is different matter, but also an example of very artistic use of the language. The linguistic study of that is a deeply specialized use of language, especially if it isn't even your own language. If, in a future Esperanto or Mandarin speaking world, there are specialists who study ancient English rap, would it be a great loss to the world that they are not native English speakers? The quality of their analysis might be less, and understanding of the past is going to be less in that particular respect, but is that really a great loss? Those future analists are going to miss a lot anyway, will this be such a deal breaker?

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:Because Esperanto is far easier to learn, parents will feel less obliged to learn their children this language from birth instead of their own mother tongue (could still happen though, I'm not saying it will never).

I think it absolutely will happen, for the very same reasons that, say, Native Americans in the US are now more likely to learn English from birth than their ancestral language. Children don't learn a language because their parents decide to teach it to them. They learn a language by hearing the language, and if it's particularly useful for adults around them to use Esperanto, children will learn Esperanto. If the idealized future of one world language bringing everyone closer together is actually realized, this will happen even more. If I can speak to the majority of adults anywhere on Earth by using Esperanto, why would I continue to make extensive use of English?

Perhaps an even better counter to your "it's easy to learn" argument is the development of pidgins and creoles. Pidgins are very easy to learn, as they develop precisely in response to a need to communicate quickly with a new trade partner. But then kids start hearing pidgin all the time, and it develops into a full-on creole when they use it as their native language. Meanwhile, whatever native language their parents and grandparents used to speak isn't particularly useful any more, so it isn't spoken enough to be accurately learned by children who already have a perfectly serviceable way to communicate with each other.

I have never seen anything based on actual sound research into language learning in general or Esperanto in particular that suggests anything different would happen just because it happens to be an artificially created language.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:12 pm UTC

Nor do I know of such a research, but I do know that most Esperanto speakers are very eager to point out errors in each others' talk. Grammar fascism is kind of encouraged within the community. I'm not saying that the language hasn't changed at all, however.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby mikhail » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:27 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:Nor do I know of such a research, but I do know that most Esperanto speakers are very eager to point out errors in each others' talk. Grammar fascism is kind of encouraged within the community. I'm not saying that the language hasn't changed at all, however.

There's kind of a self-selection going on there though. I mean, who learns Esperanto?

We had a pan-European language in Latin, which was once spoken by probably the majority of educated people on the continent (neglecting Russia). I'm unclear as to why it has collapsed so suddenly. It informed speakers of English, Spanish, French, Italian, German (it pretty much stole its grammar from Latin) and other European languages about the origins of much of their native languages. The Catholic church still uses it as a common language (to what extend, I don't know). My mother learned it in school. By my generation, it was almost unknown to do that. Anyone know why Latin declined so rapidly?

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Zamfir » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:48 pm UTC

mikhail wrote:We had a pan-European language in Latin, which was once spoken by probably the majority of educated people on the continent (neglecting Russia). I'm unclear as to why it has collapsed so suddenly. It informed speakers of English, Spanish, French, Italian, German (it pretty much stole its grammar from Latin) and other European languages about the origins of much of their native languages. The Catholic church still uses it as a common language (to what extend, I don't know). My mother learned it in school. By my generation, it was almost unknown to do that. Anyone know why Latin declined so rapidly?


I wouldn;t call a language that was still spoken over 1000 years after its last native speaker died "rapidly declining"... *

On a mor serious note, the big decline of Latin as a lingua franca was in the 16th century, in some ways related to bookprinting, the reformation, ironically even the Renaissance, and a lot of other stuff too. Before that, almost all literate elites in Europe were literate in Latin and usually educated by in some way by the Church. So almost everyone who could read your works could read Latin too, and writing in Latin was common even when aimed at people speaking the same language.

From roughly the 16th century on, people mostly write in their own language, so that all your literate countrymen can read it. The downside is of course that the highly educated people in other countries have more problems reading your work, but the increased audience at home clearly made up for that.

From that period on, Latin started to lose its usefulness, and the main reason to learn it became reading the classics, not contemporary works.


* It's actually not easy to say when the last native speaker lived. It took literally centuries before the speakers of Roman languages realized that the language they wrote wasn't the language they spoke anymore.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:01 pm UTC

I wonder if there are any modern native speakers of Latin. I could really see some enthusiastic Latin teacher speaking it to his children. Just consider that there are about 1000 native speakers of Esperanto.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby mikhail » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:08 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:I wonder if there are any modern native speakers of Latin. I could really see some enthusiastic Latin teacher speaking it to his children. Just consider that there are about 1000 native speakers of Esperanto.

There are dialects of Italian which are considered close enough.

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:14 pm UTC

mikhail wrote:
Roĝer wrote:Nor do I know of such a research, but I do know that most Esperanto speakers are very eager to point out errors in each others' talk. Grammar fascism is kind of encouraged within the community. I'm not saying that the language hasn't changed at all, however.

There's kind of a self-selection going on there though. I mean, who learns Esperanto?

Right. Even if it wasn't self-selecting purely on account of being Esperanto rather than a natural language, people the world over tend to have a very different attitude about the grammar of additional languages than they do about their first language. If you learned the rules explicitly, instead of inferring them like you did with whatever language(s) you learned as a child, then you're far more likely to be anal about everyone following them.

Grammar fascism is encouraged among a community that voluntarily chose to learn a made-up language as adults. It probably won't be when any sizable number of people learn it involuntarily from birth and use it as their native language.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:12 pm UTC

Some very good points. So it seems that we must not learn Esperanto to our babies but to our teenagers, if we want to keep our beautiful language pure and divine.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

Good luck with that. You can't speak it around your children or they'll learn it along with any other language you speak around them. And you have to make sure other kids aren't learning it as a first language either. Otherwise they'll go and "ruin" your lovely invention despite your best efforts with your own family.

And even as a second language among only adults, Esperanto will continue to change as new needs arise. Because that's what living languages do.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Velifer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:lots of cultural preservation stuff...

To play the devil's advocate a bit... Xenophobic preservation and promotion of language as identity smacks of nationalism, and that leads to world wars, so you support Hitler.

Or, to make a less Godwinian argument, a lingua franca, even with the attached negative cultural implications, has value in creating shared culture and bringing down barriers to international understanding. English is a whore of a language--what better tongue to spread wide and use?
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:English is a whore of a language--what better tongue to spread wide and use?

I don't think her tongue is the part on a whore you're supposed to spread...
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Roĝer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:56 pm UTC

Oh gmalivuk, it almost seems that you have some kind of problem with constructed languages. Any bad childhood memories? :wink:

Anyway, we'll need quite a few centuries of language evolution before Esperanto comes even close to the complexity of English.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Hobgoblin » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:45 pm UTC

sje46 wrote: English is also an easy typing language.



sje46 wrote:Englihs


God damn it, I laughed out loud.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Sizik » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:49 pm UTC

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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:16 am UTC

Roĝer wrote:Oh gmalivuk, it almost seems that you have some kind of problem with constructed languages. Any bad childhood memories?

I have no problems with conlangs in themselves. Some of them are quite fascinating and worthy of study.

What annoys me is the attitude that they're better and will magically remain better than existing natural languages. Because most of the things that are allegedly better about them are functions of the fact that the only people currently using them are ones who have decided to learn a constructed language, rather than anything intrinsic in the language itself.

Roĝer wrote:Anyway, we'll need quite a few centuries of language evolution before Esperanto comes even close to the complexity of English.

What's so complex about English that you think it'll take centuries for another language to match it? Keep in mind that those hypothetical centuries would involve Esperanto being spoken by orders of magnitude more people than it currently is. It's not at all difficult to keep a language stagnant when there are only a few speakers. Especially when, as already mentioned, those speakers have very specific reasons for learning the language that tie in with a specific desire not to have it "corrupted" or whatever you think becoming more complex would amount to.
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Re: Should English be the international language?

Postby Bobber » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:58 am UTC

Gmalivuk actually sounds like a decent name for a conlang. Better than Volapük.
It would feature lots of glottal and epiglottal sounds, as well as a phoneme pronounced /A FIST IN YOUR FACE/
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