TED Conversations

Hugo Wagner

Graduate Student - Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley


This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 4 2011: So it seems there's around 6,000 spoken languages, and the rate at which they go extinct is fairly slow... I'd guess it'll take 5,000 - 10,000 years before we get a unified language at this rate. I think this makes it relatively unpredictable with our current level of technological advancement.

    It's hard to say if there will ever be only one language. However, I think it's likely that the number or languages will be greatly reduced.
    • thumb
      Aug 4 2011: Actually, extinction of languages is a sad everyday reality, as Phil Borges explains it with his wonderful pictures inspired by those who lose their mother tongue on a daily basis http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/phil_borges_on_endangered_cultures.html
      • Aug 4 2011: I still think the relationship of cataloged languages to how many on record are going extinct is still the best way to make any kind of guess about what the future will bring. If we don't look at history/trends, then there's no way for us to know. But it is possible as stated in Nye's talk that if the diversifying of language is useful, then it will continue to splinter as well. Maybe there's an "optimal" language population.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.