Eric Lind

unemployed and looking,

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What do you expect the dominant language of the world will be in 50 years?

The dominant rhetoric is that English is the language of business and hence regarded as a somewhat universal language. Given the state of global affairs, do you expect English to remain dominant, or be replaced by something better? If you expect a replacement, which language?

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    Apr 5 2012: binary
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    Mar 18 2012: It will probably be English - but not as we know it. English is highly irregular and difficult to learn, so I would expect spelling to be phonetically simplified, as will grammar. I do expect most people will also have either Spanish or French and / or Mandarin.
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    Mar 16 2012: Interesting comments so far.I was waiting patiently for someone to bring up Chinese (specifically Mandarin) and Spanish; both of which I think are likely to be big parts of global society in the coming years. This is not an all inclusive list of big languages though I don't think. If I may offer my own opinion on this question, I think that no single language will dominate per se, but most people in 50 years will probably be multi-lingual partly out of necessity and partly out of self-interest. Languages will probably also continue to mix in manners such as Spainglish, Franglais, or Chinglish. In fact, Japanese and Spanish have so much in common with respect to pronounciation, it's a wonder there isn't more mixing there already (although Peru would be the place to look for this and I've not been there yet).Still interested in seeing more comments; particularly since I let my cat out of the bag so to speak.
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    Mar 16 2012: Chinese. English as close dominant, but close second for Spanish!
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    Mar 13 2012: It won't be esperanto
  • Mar 13 2012: Do Americans speak English? Arguable, I think. A vast number of Indians speak A version of English. Is it English? Languages drift. Once upon a time Latin was the de facto language of international trade... English is the hands down language of technologically shared language. Part of its appeal is its fluidity in incorporating new words. What language is English anyway? Any "native" english speaker can tell you of the struggles to read Chaucer or Shakespeare...
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    Mar 13 2012: I'm going to agree with the English argument, but I want to add a few specific reasons.1.) Because the language and syntax are so much closer, most of the major western economic powers will champion English over Mandarin.2.) Because there is not just one Chinese language.3.) Because of the historical animosity between Japan and China, coupled with the long-term economic entanglement, Japan would also champion English over Chinese.4.) India alread knows more English than most countries are ever going to learn of Hindi or Mandarin.5.) The switch-over costs would be out of this world.
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    Mar 12 2012: The main problem the other languages face is that the major communication network that we are currently using is basically designed for use in english. As long as the dominant operating systems, software and social networking sites continue to come out of the U.S. any other language is going to be an add on. As Douglas said, if english isn't your first language it will almost definitely be your second. If it is your first language you probably won't bother learning a second.
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    Mar 12 2012: JAVA is a good option. I don't know how people will speak it though :)

    Jokes apart. English is here to stay i guess. While Mandarin comes close, it's a distant thought (Farther than 50 years) because I don't see how a French person could end up speaking Mandarin by choice.

    Cheers
  • Mar 12 2012: Hi Eric,

    I agree that English has a lot of momentum toward becoming the de facto "common language" right now. Not necessarily as a first language, but as a very popular 2nd language. This was brought home to me when I worked on a project with several people from the Indian subcontinent. They all spoke english when they were together. Despite being from a single country, it was the only language that they all had in common.

    There are lots of languages, but I'd be hard pressed to say that any one is better than the others.

    Best wishes,
    Doug
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    Mar 12 2012: English always be dominant.