521-Class 28

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Language(s) of the Future[edit]

Henry Hitchings What’s the language of the future?

What Would a World Without Language Barriers Look Like? (the promise of machine translation)

The rise of the machine translators

English against the machine

English as She was Spoke

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...