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Hugo Wagner

Graduate Student - Mechanical Engineering,

TEDCRED 200+

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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 15 2011: I definitely hope we do. Not that I wish different languages to be eradicated- they're great for art, expression, unity, and secrecy- but I think that we can achieve so much more as a global entity if we can transcend the barriers of language. Even though it'd be "fairer" if we could use a constructed language, nations obviously would resist, especially the ones that possess the "soft power" to spread their language. I think we will see a rise in English and Mandarin speakers, though we can't know which one will come out on top.

    Countries and businesses could save valuable time and money by not needing to hire translators or deal with translation errors. Knowing a second or third wouldn't be a significant advantage in the workforce (though that may only seem a good thing to my monolingual self). I think international cooperation would rise, not just on the Country level, but on individual levels as well. This would have dramatic impacts not just on culture, but on promoting empathy, morality, and understanding across the world. We'd better understand other customs and the problems of those suffering. We'd understand their cries, and they'd understand our solutions.

    Culture is a collection of gestures, customs, traditions, expression, and memes. Cultures that have existed are the product of geographic isolation over centuries. I don't feel like cultures are meant to or can be kept in a stasis, and that as cultures have grown through "Cultural Diffusion" over the ages, they will grow through globalization. It's impossible to preserve a mere phenomenon. But it's not something that's lost or needs to be mourned for. Just as periods of artwork- Impressionism, Romanticism, etc- came and went, so do cultural practices, but we still see people trying to capture the themes of those periods in artwork. So, even as cultures get "tainted" with globalization, I believe that what we value in those cultures will remain and still grow, if not in a "pure" way, still a worthy one.

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