TED Conversations

Hugo Wagner

Graduate Student - Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley


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Is our destiny to be one world with one language?

Are we heading towards a world with one common language?
If you think so, do you believe that it will happen naturally (because globalization requires it) or because of one country's leading "soft power"?
Would it enhance international cooperation and promote better understanding between countries?

On the other hand, what would it mean for human cultures and civilizations?


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  • Aug 3 2011: My answer is 'Yes'. Eventually, the entire world will use a single language. This will occur more as an evolutionary progression, born of necessity (it will be the next evolutionary step up from using a lingua franca). When this happens, I believe "international co-operation" will be an obsolete concept as we will have also evolved into a "one world" entity (a world without borders, free from conflict, and one in which "collaboration" replaces "competition").

    What this will mean for human cultures and civilizations is that there will be no 'power' (be it 'soft' or otherwise), all other languages will become extinct (studied for leisure purposes perhaps), and a 'cultural merge' will have taken place ("cultural identity" will mean something completely different to what we understand today). We will become a global resource based civilization where the well-being of our fellow human-beings (and the planet) will have replaced the pursuit of profits.

    I just hope that when this day does come, the language chosen isn't Esperanto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto) :)
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      Aug 3 2011: Hi Andy,
      Thanks for your insightful answer!
      I like what you said about Earth being already a "one world entity" when the use of a single language happens.
      As you said, I believe it will be part of an evolutionary process, but I wonder if there won't be something (the next giant leap in humankind) that may inspire such a social change.

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