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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 26th, 2009, 06:14 pm
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Default The Next Lingua Franca

Well, what do you think it will be? English has been at the head of the table for some time. I predict that in 2 to 300 years, something else will be (obviously, we won't know...hahahha). What language, do you think, will come out ahead?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 27th, 2009, 11:53 am
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

Hard to say. Maybe Chinese but there's been so much effort and so much done with English, even if America is toppled as the economic giant, undoing its grapple hold on the Earth will take some time.

However, the nation that emerges as the next leader will certainly start demanding we speak what the money speaks. And, those wishing to get some of the money will put their efforts into speaking that language.
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Unread Jul 28th, 2009, 12:20 pm
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

I don't know. Latin stuck around for a long time as the language of education. . . and it was considered a step 'backward' in education when schools stopped using it. And I know a chemist who had to learn German in university, because it was the language of chemistry. . . these things really are tenacious.

I predict that it won't be Chinese. Just because that seems like the obvious answer. I say Spanish, but mainly to be contrary.
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Unread Jul 28th, 2009, 05:58 pm
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

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I don't know. Latin stuck around for a long time as the language of education. . . and it was considered a step 'backward' in education when schools stopped using it. And I know a chemist who had to learn German in university, because it was the language of chemistry. . . these things really are tenacious.

I predict that it won't be Chinese. Just because that seems like the obvious answer. I say Spanish, but mainly to be contrary.
Interesting. See, I don't see Chinese as the new language of trade, etc. because it is so confined to one specific region. Also, language usually follows an economic power. If the most-used world currency, the dollar, changes, then I think the language will change.

Not too long ago, China proposed a neutral currency for people to use to trade in oil. However, it was rejected. I wonder what would happen if a neutral currency was created. Hmmm, one world currency, what next?
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 29th, 2009, 09:21 am
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

I think that the choice, realistically, for the future global language lies between English and Esperanto, rather than an untried project. As a native English speaker I would prefer Esperanto.

It's unfortunate, however, that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language.

After a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook.

It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and a language of choice by Google,Skype, Firefox and Facebook. Native Esperanto speakers,(people who have used the language from birth), include George Soros, World Chess Champion Susan Polgar, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet.

Your readers may be interested in the following video at YouTube - The language challenge -- facing up to reality Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at lernu!: Main Page
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Unread Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:52 pm
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

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I think that the choice, realistically, for the future global language lies between English and Esperanto, rather than an untried project. As a native English speaker I would prefer Esperanto.

It's unfortunate, however, that only a few people know that Esperanto has become a living language.

After a short period of 121 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide, according to the CIA factbook.

It is the 17th most used language in Wikipedia, and a language of choice by Google,Skype, Firefox and Facebook. Native Esperanto speakers,(people who have used the language from birth), include George Soros, World Chess Champion Susan Polgar, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to NATO and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet.

Your readers may be interested in the following video at YouTube - The language challenge -- facing up to reality Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at lernu!: Main Page
Esperanto eh? I haven't heard of it. I'll have to look it up. Thanks Poster.
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Unread Aug 8th, 2009, 10:59 pm
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

It may not happen in our lifetime that English will drop. The spread and dominance of a language has always been consistent with the economic, military and political superiority of a country and its ability to poject itself beyond its shores. Once upon a time it was the Romans who conquered much of Europe and forced nations to speak Latin.But Latin had a weakness that would kill it after the collapse of the Roman empire. It was a bloody difficult language with the most complex grammar system I have ever seen (I studied Latin for 5 years). As a result this confined Latin to the educated class. The common person had to speak a sub-standard latin. But when the Roman empire fell, people were just so happy to drop the language or speak an adapted form. Unlike Latin English leaves room for forgiveness. It is a language that is defined by the popular vote. Unlike French which has the educated “Academie Francaise” which decides what becomes standard French, English is defined by the common people. In other words it is a less elitist language than French and Latin.
Why English is at such a strong position now is really for several reasons. One of the key reasons is the fact that once the British empire covered a massive amount of the earth's surface and therefore turned English from an obscure language to a global language. The second key reason is that by the time the British empire fell or I would say contracted, it had spread English to a country that was poised to be the next giant empire - enter the USA. English adapts and survives under every circumstance we have seen and that may explain why people feel OK living with it.
The US is yet to collapse. Well, many people have seen the weakening of the American empire as a sign of the end. Also they see the rise of China as the next. I would say do not count the yankees out just yet. The US has always found ways to reinvent itself and who knows. They are the most technologically advanced country with dominace everywhere. The internet has further come to strengthen the position of English – 80% of web content is in English.
Also people think that because Chinese has the largest number of speakers it may help the spread of Chinese. The Chinese are a good example of how the language spreads only when a power projects itself beyond its shores. For a long time Chinese was the language with the most speakers, but confined to one country.
The Chinese are on the rise politically and economically and the language is spreading fast. But we can be sure that Chinese will only try to share the stage with English. First of all like Latin, Chinese has a major weakness. It is not the easiest language to learn to speak or write. Also we do not know how long China will continue to rise. A country with 1.5 billion mouths to feed and whose economy for now is highly dependent on trade with the US is not signs of an empire that will rise to topple the US. Military and technological developments are exact copies of the west. It will take a sudden genius barrage of inventions of new technology from China to outshine the US. I just don’t see it. But China I have no doubts will rise to share that power. But it is funny that as Chinese spreads, English spreads even more in China. It is just a part of the education system.
So what is all this rambling about? Simply put, English will continue to dominate in our lifetime and our Children’s lifetime. Chinese by it’s nature already has handicaps. China is on the rise but how much is still to be seen. There is no next language in site overtaking English as a global language of communication. Judging from my experience learning Latin, French and Chinese, I do see weaknesses in these languages that is not the case with English. With English you can still communicate with broken sentences and a poor accent. Try speaking broken Chinese, most people do not easily catch you. Chinese is a language of tones. A word spoken in the first tone or accent has a different meaning to another word in the second, third or fourth tones or accents. English tolerates and accomodates a wide variety of accents. I just need to readjust my listening when talking to a British, Australian, Indian or American speaker – We still communicate well.
By the way learning Chinese is good for you. The language will not dominate but will surely share the stage with English as an influential partner.

Last edited by Eric : Aug 9th, 2009 at 12:04 am. Reason: Removed self promotion link from post. Please put personal links in your signature.
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Unread Aug 9th, 2009, 01:12 am
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

I dunno about Esperanto. A while back, I wrote a long entry before my internet connection got all hinky (that's not a word I teach students--I'm afraid they'd spend half an hour discussing the German equivalent before I could get them to move on.)

What I think the problem with Esperanto is, is that it's only hope at being the lingua franca is for it to be imposed. I mean, my students learn English because the company they work for--a Swedish energy company--has decided that English will be the company language. So, they're talking to colleagues in Sweden and Poland in English. The company made the decision, though, because it would also enable their employees to talk to. . . . well, anyone.

If you figure there's a lot of money involved in teaching people a language--we know this--you have to wonder what the people paying for it expect to gain from it. And Esperonto doesn't seem to offer enough to justify the cost. . . in terms of money or time.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 9th, 2009, 09:32 am
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

Let me share my expertise: 20 years as an ESL teacher, mostly in New York City public schools and several years in Israel (EFL) and 38 years as a teacher/informer of Esperanto as a Second Language. Kisito discusses ease of learning for ruling out Chinese as a (vast) Second Language. Esperanto is one fifth as difficult a English, so if ease of learning is a significant point we'll agree Esperanto wins. But that is not why I want Esperanto to win a dominant world-wide second language. I might be in the minority of Esperanto speakers who believes that Esperanto has developed its own unique culture, adheres to rules of democracy, with full participation of women. I enjoy the full participation of Hungarian, Lithuanian and Angolan Esperantists. Can I say this easily about English? The United States has the lowest standard of maternity leave, sick leave and vacations in the world (I point to the Swedish model) . It represents the most anti-worker culture I have yet to know in the industrial world. It spreads a false sense of security through its movies. Esperanto gives me hope for a future culture of equality, which I have observed in small and large confereces (Universalaj Kongresoj) in Brazil, Israel, Germany, Belgium and elsewhere. My personal blog is Esperanto Friends. Yes, I am an American citizen, who has resided abroad for some sixteen years with a diverse experiences.
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Unread Aug 9th, 2009, 10:07 am
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

Neil: You illustrate pretty well a point that I think will work against Esperato, eventually, it's not how much work you have to do to learn it, it's what you can do with the language once you know it. And Esperanto seems to be the language-of-choice for people who are pro-globalization and anti-American. I don't think that's a big enough group of people for Esperanto to reach the critical mass it'd need to have for people who ask themselves "How can I better communicate with the world?" to answer with "Hmm. . . I know, Esperanto." Now it's English. In the future, I don't know.

Here's something we haven't touched on in this thread: pidgens. Or, the idea that 'International English' can become a language of it's own. . . When the Chinese gain more international influence, there'd be more Chinese in it. When India gets more influence, it'd have more Hindi influence. . . It could become the kind of 'artificial' standard language like you read about in Sci-Fi. (I'm thinking of the Ender saga by Orson Scott Card.)
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Unread Aug 9th, 2009, 11:05 am
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

Hi Steve

I agree. No-one can forecast the future. But we can create our destiny :-)

Esperanto is not a hobby, for many native Esperanto speakers, it is a way of life.

For example YouTube - Bebo parolas en Esperanto
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Unread Aug 9th, 2009, 07:14 pm
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Lightbulb Re: The Next Lingua Franca

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I dunno about Esperanto. ....

What I think the problem with Esperanto is, is that it's only hope at being the lingua franca is for it to be imposed. ...

If you figure there's a lot of money involved in teaching people a language--we know this--you have to wonder what the people paying for it expect to gain from it. And Esperonto doesn't seem to offer enough to justify the cost. . . in terms of money or time.
Cost/benefit analysis is a very sensible approach to the question and it highlights one of the main things that most people dunno about Esperanto!

The cost of learning Esperanto is on a completely different scale to other languages because it is the only one which was designed with ease of learning in mind. Ten (free) lessons and 100 hours of practice will make you a competent speaker of Esperanto.

What you can gain from it includes: experiencing thoughts and dreams in another language, making friends (on an equal basis) and exploring cultures from the inside in 100 countries, making/keeping your brain flexible, paid teaching work (I've done it for 10 years so far), and being part of a valuable social justice movement.

I have never found another language which offers more benefits for less cost, which I suppose is why Esperanto is a living language in spite of being the only one which has never been imposed.
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Unread Aug 14th, 2009, 09:05 am
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Default Re: The Next Lingua Franca

I think that Esperanto would already have become popular as a second language throughout the world had the Esperantists themselves recognised one simple fact: Esperanto does have its opponents.

The Esperantists only want to hear the 'good news'. If you try to tell them what's going on behind the scenes they'll generally tell you to shut up. What I came across was systematic harassment of key people in the Esperanto movement in the UK, before I was subjected to the same thing myself. There is undermining going on, and it's not just the paranoids who have been trying to bring that to their attention.

Now it's spilling over into vandalism. See: Vandalo atakis monumenton de Zamenhof — Libera Folio . During the World Esperanto Congress this summer there were at least seven incidents of vandalism directed against Esperanto. That wasn't just bored youths.

We got an Esperanto parliamentary group going in 1972, and after the 1974 general election we had a majority in the Commons. Shortly afterwards there were dirty tricks against the president of the group, who promptly resigned. There were dirty tricks against the president of the Universal Esperanto Association in London, who resigned in 1974. Harold Wilson, himself and Esperantist, resigned as Prime Minister in 1976 following dirty tricks. There were dirty tricks against the Esperanto Parliamentary Group in 1999, leading to its collapse.

The next lingua franca could still be Esperanto. The idea of Esperanto will make sense to people after the current 9/11 wars, in which English is being pushed as the language of a militaristic New World Order.

Esperantistoj, vekiĝu.
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