Language(s) of the Future
Things to think about as you read the stuff above
- Do you think we are heading to a time when there will be a global language?
- What are some problems with English as a global language?
- Will machine translation ever get good enough to really work?
- What are some ways in which English is changed by being spread around the world?
- Do you foresee any radical changes in how language is used in... 100 years? 500 years?
Take home points
- Lingua francas start to emerge as soon as people start to move beyond their communities (trade, conquer).
- Globalization creates a much stronger need for a global language. It benefits everyone if that language is the same language (hub problem).
- People are learning English because (right now) it’s the most useful language to learn. Gives entry to higher-paying jobs, more (sexual) partners, enjoyment of popular media.
- As English becomes a lingua franca, a “Global English” is gradually emerging. Likely increases in regularization, further simplification of tenses, etc.
- An alternative: Machine translation. Technological challenge. Also social challenge.
- Once a language becomes dissociated from a nationality, speaking it doesn’t connote group membership
- Are we moving toward a more visual language? Interesting to think about...