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Q: If English is the 'world' language now, what will happen to the rest of them?

Such as Chinese, French, Spanish, etc... let alone all those much much smaller (speaker-wise) languages, such as indigenous languages.

Do you think English will merge with Putonghua more, so they blend into a single language, similar to in 'Firefly' (although, it was 90% English, and 10% (swearing) in Chinese)?

8 years 33 weeks ago in  Transport & Travel - China

 
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I recently thought about a very interesting phenomenon that language can change the people's behavior. Say it's hard to say romantic stuff in Chinese but in Korean, you can say anything without growing goosebumps.

 

There's a research showing that using English makes people more rational.

 

And even some really rude people when use Cantonese can behave very tender.

 

The point is I don't think languages are conflicted with each other. And by leaning another language you can also develop other areas of your personality too.

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2 years 13 weeks ago
 
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Posts: 1933

Shifu

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English will loan a lot of words into the major languages, and the minor languages have been rapidly vanishing anyway. Then some new language will come along, and all the languages will borrow a bunch of words from that.

In the East, it was classical Chinese. Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese borrowed thousands of words from Classical Chinese, but still remain remarkably distinct.

In South Asia, Sanskirt and (to a lesser extent) middle Persian. In the rest of the Muslim world, Arabic. In the West, going backwards, French, Italian, Latin, Greek. All just languages of the moment, really. It would be ridiculous now to suggest that all the world will soon be speaking Italian, but once it probably seemed plausable.

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8 years 33 weeks ago
 
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To show my age, look at the movie Blade Runner (my absolute favorite movie of all times), there is a great street language that they use in that movie which is a mix of 10 different languages.

In any case, languages come and go.  It is the reality of time.  Will there ever be a global, single language?  I don't think so.  There is too much national pride for people to let go of their linguistic culture.

I think a neural translator is far more likely than a universal language.  :)

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8 years 33 weeks ago
 
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I actually disagree with XpatJohn (which is a rarity).  English will be spoken by more than half the population of the Earth (either as native, second or third language) by before 2050. 

It's the most widespread language in history, the most countries have it as an official language (the US does NOT) and it's used for every single important communications on the planet (scientific community, any sort of international travel, airplanes, ocean freight, etc.).  English is already the world language, some people just need to learn it..

This is not going to change, no matter how many Confucious institutes China opens.

Other languages will continue to be used (China will never ever give up Chinese because even though the current written form has only been around for 60 years or so, they think it's been 8000 years) on a local basis, but English will remain the lingua franca and continue to grow in scope over the next century.  As globalization continues, more people will learn English because it's already what everyone else speaks and is learning.

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8 years 33 weeks ago
 
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I agree with Mr. Tibbles, English will be the major language for a long time. It's so popular that most people learn it as a second language if it isn't their native language. The only way it would be replaced is if another country that speaks a different language would become so important and popular that it would push English out of the number one spot. However, I don't see that happening for a very long time.

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8 years 33 weeks ago
 
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Maybe I misunderstood the question.  I thought it was what will happen to other languages as English becomes the world default.

I find myself agreeing with kchur (which is an even more extreme rarity), global dominance of language has been going on for a long time.  People used to think Japanese was the language to learn, before that French, before that Roman, before that Greek, etc...

However, look at the point of technology and voice recognition.  There are already rudimentary real time voice translators on the market.  People can already do basic control functions on computers with the power of their mind.  Neural translators are probably only 30-50 years off.  NostroXpat has spoken.  :)

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8 years 33 weeks ago
 
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I think I mostly agree with kchur although you all have valid points.
Between the British and American Empires (yes I said it), the influence of the English language has been domineering.
Maybe in 200 years we will see something new emerge, but until then English is the global language for all things.

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8 years 33 weeks ago
 
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true, english is dominant n wl remain so fr long into future.
but more people r becomin' multi lingual, so major languages like chinese, french, spanish etc wl continue to grow too.

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2 years 13 weeks ago
 
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I like seeing these discussions from years ago because the questions and answers each have at least a modicum of substance, there are no Up or Down votes, no copying and pasting, no lame-ass attempts at humor, and everyone used a keyboard where all the keys worked.  My, how times have changed.

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2 years 13 weeks ago
 
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I think English language dominance has downsides for the relevant countries. You see this phenomenon most starkly in Britain now. In come immigrants who learned a 'world language', to generally communicate in any foreign country, then made no further effort. In Britain, it's the native language, too, isn't that handy?

So, you have arrogant, entitled natives clashing with lazy, entitled immigrants. In most EU countries, learning a new language is a mandate that forces an immigrant to adapt and build appreciation for local culture. After they speak the language, they are 'invested' in their new home. It's not something they can up and leave, taking all their gains with them: The native language they learned is only of value in the country they're living in.

English connects people internationally, but it disconnects immigrants nationally. Immigrants in Britain speak the language, but have never had to make an effort. So they are still somewhat isolated. There's plenty other countries where English language is of use, so what makes an immigrant feel involved with the place they live in?

In Europe, my Chinese wife and I are increasingly feeling that English is an outsider language. It's not about Brexit. You don't speak a local language, and not every country has decent English speakers.

Strangely, English is also the main language in EU government, to the chagrin of the French. It makes the British sentiments seem even more incomprehensible. But not any more than having a monarch with German family ties, who contaminates the English language with germanized speech. I loved when they made her do the Brexit speech, and she wore a hat in the EU flag colours.

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2 years 13 weeks ago
 
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Fuck me.... a six year old question that is still rellevent.

 

English is the language of transport. By air or water.

 

There is not many tech companies who hire ppl to translate TO English.

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2 years 13 weeks ago
 
Posts: 734

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I recently thought about a very interesting phenomenon that language can change the people's behavior. Say it's hard to say romantic stuff in Chinese but in Korean, you can say anything without growing goosebumps.

 

There's a research showing that using English makes people more rational.

 

And even some really rude people when use Cantonese can behave very tender.

 

The point is I don't think languages are conflicted with each other. And by leaning another language you can also develop other areas of your personality too.

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2 years 13 weeks ago
 
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