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A Future Global Language


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Communication could be so much easier if there existed one common, global language. But which language should it be?

Should it be English, Spanish, Mandarin? Or would Esperanto or any other artificial, international language be better suitable?

On the following website you can take part in the first global election and more:

Vote for the best language you can think of,

Make your voice heard with your comments and ideas and

Have a look how others decided and what others think

www.freewebs.com/international-languages

Ronaldo

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Thanks for mentioning this interesting link. However, the poll in the above mentioned website is quite different:

You can vote for your favorite language, be it Mandarin, English or ...

You can give your reasons for your decision

You can let the world know about your ideas about a new language if you believe this is the best way to go.

So why not have a look even if it is only to find out how other people voted and think. It can't hurt

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  • 3 months later...
Jack MacKelly

Good link HashiriKata, there are good posts in that link

English has arisen as the international language for a variety of reasons. However, it is really a poor choice for an international language. Its grammar is complex, vocabulary very large and it lacks consistent rules for usage.

It would be great if Esperanto or something similar could gain acceptance, but I doubt this would happen. If several governments around the world actively began promoting Esperanto this might lead to its wider acceptance. Indeed if the Chinese government adopted a wide spread program to educate its citizens in Esperanto then it wouldn't take long for the rest of the world to start learning it!

I do believe that now there are so many people speaking English as a second language more simplified versions of English will begin to emerge. I suspect this will be on a regional basis. Hence there will be people speaking "European simplified English", "Asian simplified English" "African simplified English". Each one will have its own characteristics but will be functional enough for international communication.

Languages are "living" entities that grow, change and in some cases die, whether it be in part for some obscure words that fall out of use, or by loss through one culture assimilating another or each other - giving rise to new hybrid languages or "patois".

This is not a "good" or "bad" thing, only a natural social occurance. For instance archaeologists are often required to learn "dead" languages if they are to understand the past, and you would be surprised at how many dead languages there are.

The Germans have an old saying that goes "if you are coming to buy, then you can speak any language you like, but if you are coming to sell, you must speak only German" - its to do with business, why else do most people actually bother to learn foreign languages?

English is regrded as the international language of business, and this is why it is so prolific. The reasons being the historical influence of British colonialism (may those days never return!), and the worlds biggest economic power, America, is also English speaking.

On the bright side for China is that due to ever improving economic growth, many foreign businesses want to develop interests and contacts within the country, and I think you will find that this is promoting Mandarin very strongly indeed throughout the rest of the world - although this might not bode so well for regional dialects.

As I've posted in ' 'How many people do you think these 3 languages reach?

:the thing about Spanish is that it has a long history and connections to other regions much like many other Asian or European languages. If you know Spanish there is a very good chance that others from Portugal, France or Italy may be able to understand you and many Spainsh speakers can also understand other European languages. Spanish is the real neo-Latin language derived from the Latin of Roman merchants, soldiers and travelers. The Castilian is a very strong language, the roots coming from the period of Roman conquest, it is the most widely spoken of the Romace languages and there is a strong chance that French people or Portugese will also be able to understand a good deal of Spanish.

Spanish are very proud of their language, in the USA some administrations have tried to push down Spanish in the past and promote English better but it hasn't worked, Spanish and other languages like Italian or Chinese stay strong in the US ethnic communities.

In Spain although the cities are often multi-cultural go outisde the major Capital and cities and almost nobody speaks foreign languages like English, German....Spanish looks like it will stay strong for sometime

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taibeihong

I'd say the best language to promote would be one that has already a great number of speakers, that has materials available for its learning by speakers of most other languages, and doesn't involve many complicated rules. And that language would be English. And if governments/institutions felt uncomfortable promoting it, it would still become the world's lingua franca.

I'm a native Spanish speaker, and until I learnt French, I had to communicate in English with French speakers. And French speakers who haven't studied Spanish can't understand spoken Spanish, either. And even though I can understand most WRITTEN portuguese, I can't uderstand anything except a few words here and there when spoken, although I admit Portuguese speakers have an easier time understanding spoken Spanish. Something similar happens with Italian. Believe me, even speakers of major Romance languages use English to understand each other (not talking about Galego speakers understanding Portuguese ones).

Although it's an interesting exercise on what people would wish, I think we should accept that English is already the world's international language and, like a snowball effect, it will start become ever more widespread. Of course, learning all the other languages will still be useful and valuable, because it's someone else's native language and speaking to someone in their own tongue will always be appreciated and guarantee a better communication, but as far as promoting a second language, we should take advantage of what already is there.

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wushijiao
Although it's an interesting exercise on what people would wish, I think we should accept that English is already the world's international language and, like a snowball effect, it will start become ever more widespread

I agree. English, at this point, is fact becoming the world's lingua franca. Nonetheless, I think one of the greatest reasons for learning Spanish is that it is a gateway to learning other Romance languages. I love the rationale behind Esperanto and other easy and non-imperialistic languages, but these need government support and the dedication of millions of people, so that's bound to fail.

Although it's an interesting exercise on what people would wish, I think we should accept that English is already the world's international language and, like a snowball effect, it will start become ever more widespread

I don't doubt this. But, let's take a hypothetical situation of a well-educated Spanish speaker traveling in, say, Italy. His Spanish is a 10 (out of 10), his English is a 7-9, but his passive ability to understand Italian is 2-4. When he meets an Italian who has Italian 10, English of 7-9 (due to years of education), and a passive knowledge of Spanish at 2-3, of course they will speak English because this is the langauge that they speak the easiest, but with the most complexity. When two people meet, they generally speak the language that allows the best communication.

However, if someone who throughly knows one Romance language decides to seriously study another, I think s/he could obtain a decent level of understanding in a short amount of time (maybe a 6 months - 3 years). So I think traveling and serious language study two different things. I don't want to distort what taibeihong said because I agree completely. I'd just like to point out that when learning a language, one also gains a foundation in that language family, which can hopefully enable one to quickly learn other's in that language family.

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taibeihong
So I think traveling and serious language study two different things. I don't want to distort what taibeihong said because I agree completely. I'd just like to point out that when learning a language, one also gains a foundation in that language family, which can hopefully enable one to quickly learn other's in that language family.

Of course. After all, having Spanish as my mother language has allowed me to learn French to a pretty decent level with just a couple of courses and exposition to the language, and to learn Italian to an intermediate-advanced level with just 1 year of self-study, and with those two I'd probably be able to learn Portuguese in a few months. German gives you easy access to Dutch and Afrikaans, and quite some help with Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. And even Mandarin does help you (in varying degrees) in learning other Chinese languages like Shanghainese or Cantonese. And so on...

That would be one of the reasons I don't mind having English as an international language. It's just that, ANOTHER language which helps communicate when you don't know the other person's language. But people will still learn their mother tongues, and studying them will be a thrill for those who have an interest, and dying languages will still die no matter what international language you choose, and thriving languages will still import words from whatever the international language is.

Some people complain about the imposition of English, about some kind of linguistic colonialism, but so many of today's countries have done the same! The French, the Italians, the Germans, most Arab speaking countries, the Brittish, the Spaniards, the Chinese have all promoted one way of speaking/writing as THE STANDARD, calling the others patois, dialects, uncultivated, unsuitable for serious expression, etc. And in the end, that standard has served as a lingua franca in those countries/regions. So if I have accepted the "internal colonialism" of those countries, with all the linguistic impoverishment they have caused, I don't have a problem having English as an international aid to communication.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Watch the news on TV, protestors around the world usually hold signs written in English. Is it because, they don't have their mother language, or they choose not to use it? Either way is sad.

I support English to be a global language. But don't misuse or overuse it, like when you speak among Chinese, or when you protest (except when you protest the US or UK).

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Do people here agree that English is the easiest European language to learn? (Moreover, do you know of any full-fledged living language that's easier to learn?)

My native language is Shanghainese/Mandarin. I've subsequently studied English, French, and Spanish, in that order. Of these three, I've found English to be the easiest, mainly due to its lack of complicated conjugation rules. Spanish is probably the hardest of the three because of conjugation. There are thick "501 Verbs" books showing conjugations for both Spanish and French. There's no need for such an encyclopedic book in English. The overwhelming majority of English verb conjugations are regular and simple. For the irregular verbs, you can explain them all in just a few pages, maybe even in just a single page if you're concise.

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Hmm, gato, guess I disagree there...

English certainly is an easy language, but I found Spanish to be much easier. Maybe because through my native language (German), I can cope with conjugations (or declensions, for that matter).

In English, pronounciation is more difficult to deduce from written text than with simplified characters, and advanced grammar can be a pain in the ass, I believe...

Spanish is, or so is my impression, very regulated, having few exceptions to a very straightforward grammar, which I like. There are conjugations, sure, but for the largest part regular.

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In English, pronounciation is more difficult to deduce from written text than with simplified characters,

Probably because there're so many foreign words in English, particularly French, though not pronounced with their original pronunciations, words like colonel, Sioux, gesundheit (if you didn't know, Americans say that when someone sneezes, if they don't want to say the more religious "bless you"; the Chinese just ignore it).

and advanced grammar can be a pain in the ass, I believe...

What topics do you consider advanced? Use of "were," "would," and "will"?

I've heard German grammar is pretty tough.

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Foreign words - yeah, I guess that's one thing. Especially with German words, as gesundheit, I am completely lost by how much I have to swich the pronounciation to English... I am kinda getting used to the English rendering of the French nasal vowels, though!

But there is also a lot of "real" English words where you can hardly guess the pronounciation as an inexperienced learner. Check out this poem: http://www.mipmip.dsl.pipex.com/tidbits/pronunciation.shtml

Concerning advanced grammar, I'm afraid I can't give any examples, mostly it's just a rule here or there that throws me off, can't really recall any right now, sorry.

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paco8888x

In a way there already is an international language. For example CD is understood around the globe, even if only pronounced. And what language doen't use "baby", "I love you" in its popular music. "Tsunami" is also widely used. "Pizza".

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  • 4 weeks later...

English, with limited conjugation and le/la, is apparently easier than french or spanish but its huge volume of vocab ---sometimes praised by English scholars--- is no doubt the worst thing in this language. A crazy thought: if english can form vocab in chinese way, it will be the best.

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PheonixUK

I think Spanish is easier than English because its spelling and grammar are more regular

I think Indonesian/Malaysian are the easiest to learn because;

only a small number of words are required to be functional due to root words agluntive properties.

Its simple grammar

Its regularity

One thing that may make English easier than German/French is the widespread presence of English loan-words in their native language.

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English, with limited conjugation and le/la, is apparently easier than french or spanish but its huge volume of vocab ---sometimes praised by English scholars--- is no doubt the worst thing in this language. A crazy thought: if english can form vocab in chinese way, it will be the best.

the huge vocab stimulated English literature because the rich nature of a language, but its not very practical... anyways, I dont think Mandarin will gain any international acceptance. No one cares that 700 million villagers in some ass-end of China know mandarin (at least to some degree in terms of dialect, often times two people who think they both know mandarin require an interpreter). Westerners will not be expected to learn any other language and unless theres a huge political shakeup and living standards suddenly reverse, everyone will continue to learn English.

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