jump to navigation

The World Language October 22, 2016

Posted by anagasto in history, language.
trackback

.
cats in china

Is  English the final world language ?

There are more than twice as many speakers of Chinese, but English is distributed all over the world, as if all by itself it were pushing to become the language of the global village.

The two cat pictures are 12th century Chinese paintings on silk: the kitten hiding behind its mom and, below, the two little kittens fighting and the flowers. — In public domain according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mao_I_001.jpg

cats on chinese silk painting

.

In addition to native and fluent English speakers, there are untold millions of people who manage to speak  somehow.

The technocracy use English at work. Tourists try wherever they go.

And the kids? All those computer games, songs, and music? It has been an ongoing  cultural revolution.

………………………………………………………………………………………

.

To some English might even look like a virus. It has been advancing all over and destroying or displacing many languages on its way. That is a view, and it is not necessarily conclusive,  but it is well founded:

Three-quarters of the world’s mail, telexes and cables are in English.
More than half of the world’s technical and scientific periodicals are in English.

So, if you need information of any kind,  you’ll  find it  —  if you know how to search for it in English.

………………………………………………………………………………………

.

world english

As this family tree shows, the internationalism of the English language is the result of a very long development that started maybe about 400 years ago and is still on the increase, though now maybe with less  prestige.

It is a tree that hangs upside down. It begins far up north and then branches out towards America and Europe and Asia finally reaching  latin America, Africa, and Australia.

The map is from http://www.sterlingtimes.org/memorable_images36.htm

………………………………………………………………………………………

.

india language chart

The chart is from http://www.nationmaster.com/.

It shows where the world’s English speakers live: nearly 60% are in the US, and 20% are in India. In the United Kingdom there are only 11.5%. Canada and Australia each account for about 3.5%.

The surprise is that there are more English speakers in India than in England.

………………………………………………………………………………………

Chinese is spoken by many more people, but statistics say it is harder to learn. Besides, it has not yet penetrated many countries.

As a civilization China would be very much older than England.

……………………………………………………………………………………..

.

Not too long ago the Esperanto lobby still used to say that if everybody spoke the same language, there would be fewer wars in the world, because people would “understand” each other better.

It was  a word play. It is based on the term understand which means both  getting along and making sense.

As a word play it is awful or sickening in fact — Don’t you remember  the 50 million dead left by WWII ?

Besides, don’t you think there are more fights inside families than outside?

Comments»

1. Brian Barker - April 26, 2012

No one has ever said that Esperanto will bring world peace and I wonder where you received this incorrect information ?

Many ill-informed people describe Esperanto as “failed” – others say that if human beings were meant to fly, God would have given them wings.

Esperanto is neither artificial nor a failure however. As the British Government now employs Esperanto translators it has ceased to be a hobby. More recently this international language was used to address the United Nations in Bonn.

During a short period of 125 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 22nd most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice of, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook and Google translate recently added to its prestigious list of 64 languages.

Native Esperanto speakers, (people who have used the language from birth), include World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. Financier George Soros learnt Esperanto as a child.

Esperanto is a living language – see http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670

Their online course http://www.lernu.net has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per day. That can’t be bad :)

2. cantueso - April 26, 2012

If Esperanto is so successful, why then isn’t there any successful forum online in Esperanto?

As to your other bit of misinformation, see Wikipedia on Esperanto, first paragraph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto:
“Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language that transcends nationality and would foster peace and international understanding between people with different regional and/or national languages.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s