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A Global Language

Jesusfreak Blog

The idea of a one world language is a fascinating one--the prospect of going back before the time of the Tower of Babel--likely concluding much confusion, and perhaps even ending some peoples' dangerous, and unproductive since of nationalism. Some might argue that to do this means losing a part of a people's unique culture, and if continued... it may even be lost forever. But is this really a legitimate concern? Imagine a world that spoke only one language: a more unified world. Is our proud attachment to culture more important than the pursuit of international union?
According to, there are 7,106 different languages around the world, of these: Chinese (Mandarin) has 1,917,000,000 speakers, while Spanish has 406,000,000 speakers, and English has 335,000,000 speakers worldwide. Because of such a substantial difference in population between these popular languages, it would be plain "stupid" to try and immediately establish a one world language. Very slowly though, many languages are dying off; in fact, "more than 40% of all languages in the world are endangered and at a risk of extinction" (Endangered Languages Project). So it seems that our world will eventually have fewer spoken languages, and people will be brought up to learn the language that gives them more opportunities in life. If a one world language was adopted, it would probably be English. English is already taught in most foreign primary schools, ‚Äčand is vital for its economic, political, and educational opportunities abroad. This is why the Chinese language wouldn't be ideal for a global language--despite it's isolated success in China--it simply doesn't have an international appeal like English does.
Although I wish for an English only world, I would be arrogant to believe that people would just abandon their native language for another. And if English was adopted by another country, there would be a good chance that that country would create its own version of English. Inadvertently twisting the English language to their own liking, and the world wouldn't progress much further because of it. David Crystal, writer of English as a Global Language explains this quite well, "You may feel pride, that your language is the one which has been so successful; but your pride may be tinged with concern, when you realize that people in other countries may not want to use the language in the same way that you do, and are changing it to suit themselves. We are all sensitive to the way other people use (it is often said, abuse) 'our' language. Deeply held feelings of ownership begin to be questioned. Indeed, if there is one predictable consequence of a language becoming a global language, it is that nobody owns it any more." A one world language would most likely drain the world of uniqueness in culture. Because language is more than just a means of communication - it's personality. People see the world differently through their meaning of words, resonate through complex words that are absent in English. Losing a foreign language would be losing a large chunk of meaning behind that particular culture... losing history, scientific research, and deeper meaning.

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