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Tomasz Poznanski

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Will we eventually have one global language?

Lately, I found myself wondering whether we are slowly sailing towards one global language. If you take a closer look at the current linguistic processes around the world, you will quickly notice that there is a limited number of languages that substantially influence all other languages. Such media like the Internet only intensify this process.

If we assume that English shall continue to spread and make such a tremendous impact worldwide, is it prudent to say that our languages are gradually melting into one? Will they transform overtime to the extent that despite using different languages we will be able to understand each other?

Or are we evolving to bilingualism/multilingualism? Our mother tongue will be retained, but the "overlord" language will be required to fully participate in the global affairs.

Would it make our everyday existence easier, or - on the other hand - would losing other languages trigger a decline in culture-dependent thought diversity?
(see linguistic relativity or Sapir-Whorf hypothesis for details)

Please share your thoughts.


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    Nov 15 2013: Tomasz, what you're asking here is along the lines of a similar thought I've had for a while, not so much targeted at language but rather concerning diversity at large. Indeed, technology has socially connected people and their cultures from all over the world, and I often wonder to myself what will happen when the differences among us become blurred as a single race. I think this connection, exposure, and "blend" of our different cultures through technology is important, and I agree that technology is definitely changing the way we communicate with each other including the way we manipulate language, but I don't think this is a bad thing. Invented acronyms used in mobile texting (such as, lol, :-) , etc., -- what I call "chromatics") help to efficiently express an emotion or set a specific tone, whereas the lack of these chromatics can make a message vulnerable to being misread. In essence, these inventions colour words with an intended affect that couldn't otherwise be as easily evoked unless delivered verbally.

    With all this said, as a supporter for transhumanism, I believe in evolving side by side with technology. Some people say that we (society) have already become cyborgs in the way that our cell phones are attached to us almost constantly, as if they were an extension of our own bodies, and even realities. (You could find some TED talks about this if you're interested.) What I fear though is similar to the very question you're asking, that being, "would losing other languages trigger a decline in culture-dependent though diversity". What I fear is that perhaps technology is not blending our cultures together, but is rather creating a new one through an inflation of self curated personas and thus collective social groups that abandon the classic forms of what we regard as cultural identities . This scares me for a variety of obvious reasons, but also b/c defending the idea of nationalism/culture was one of the primary archetypes explored under WWII conflict

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