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Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:14 PM

 

English should be designated as the world's language

I can hear it already, "ugly American". "American-centric" But let's have English officially recognized as the world language. It is time. Language barriers need not exist, in this ever connected and internet plugged-in world. What do you say? English for all, and no language barriers.

196 replies, 9248 views

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Arrow 196 replies Author Time Post
Reply English should be designated as the world's language (Original post)
quinnox Jan 2013 OP
blogslut Jan 2013 #1
FSogol Jan 2013 #182
ellisonz Jan 2013 #193
FSogol Jan 2013 #194
FSogol Jan 2013 #195
LineReply .
Orrex Jan 2013 #2
Angry Dragon Jan 2013 #5
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #9
quinnox Jan 2013 #16
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #64
samsingh Jan 2013 #3
theKed Jan 2013 #169
samsingh Jan 2013 #184
keroro gunsou Jan 2013 #196
arcane1 Jan 2013 #4
vaberella Jan 2013 #35
blogslut Jan 2013 #44
Confusious Jan 2013 #49
blogslut Jan 2013 #50
FarCenter Jan 2013 #103
vaberella Jan 2013 #127
blogslut Jan 2013 #145
Confusious Jan 2013 #48
bhikkhu Jan 2013 #124
vaberella Jan 2013 #129
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #131
FarCenter Jan 2013 #141
Jenoch Jan 2013 #163
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #176
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #181
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #135
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #175
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #6
surrealAmerican Jan 2013 #29
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #7
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #8
JustABozoOnThisBus Jan 2013 #178
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #179
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #10
Orrex Jan 2013 #12
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #24
Orrex Jan 2013 #27
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #34
Orrex Jan 2013 #42
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #54
Orrex Jan 2013 #62
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #72
Orrex Jan 2013 #78
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #101
Orrex Jan 2013 #133
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #168
Orrex Jan 2013 #170
Confusious Jan 2013 #99
randome Jan 2013 #105
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #112
pangaia Jan 2013 #185
pangaia Jan 2013 #57
pnwmom Jan 2013 #147
lunasun Jan 2013 #155
pnwmom Jan 2013 #157
blogslut Jan 2013 #31
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #40
War Horse Jan 2013 #19
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #30
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2013 #59
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #63
pangaia Jan 2013 #71
War Horse Jan 2013 #65
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #83
War Horse Jan 2013 #94
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #23
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #61
Jenoch Jan 2013 #164
Confusious Jan 2013 #51
backscatter712 Jan 2013 #113
Egalitarian Thug Jan 2013 #151
BlueCaliDem Jan 2013 #161
SheilaT Jan 2013 #180
Viva_La_Revolution Jan 2013 #11
LiberalEsto Jan 2013 #13
quinnox Jan 2013 #14
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #25
lunasun Jan 2013 #156
DetlefK Jan 2013 #45
LiberalEsto Jan 2013 #76
Igel Jan 2013 #84
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #132
LiberalEsto Jan 2013 #140
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #159
LiberalEsto Jan 2013 #173
loyalsister Jan 2013 #122
bhikkhu Jan 2013 #123
Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #160
Jenoch Jan 2013 #165
FSogol Jan 2013 #183
War Horse Jan 2013 #15
spanone Jan 2013 #17
pinboy3niner Jan 2013 #18
arcane1 Jan 2013 #21
pinboy3niner Jan 2013 #39
arcane1 Jan 2013 #46
Recursion Jan 2013 #20
polly7 Jan 2013 #22
MrScorpio Jan 2013 #26
hunter Jan 2013 #108
Speck Tater Jan 2013 #28
vaberella Jan 2013 #32
Confusious Jan 2013 #89
vaberella Jan 2013 #126
Confusious Jan 2013 #134
pinboy3niner Jan 2013 #33
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #37
War Horse Jan 2013 #69
HarveyDarkey Jan 2013 #36
MineralMan Jan 2013 #38
War Horse Jan 2013 #55
MineralMan Jan 2013 #77
War Horse Jan 2013 #109
Confusious Jan 2013 #90
The Second Stone Jan 2013 #41
former9thward Jan 2013 #43
A HERETIC I AM Jan 2013 #189
former9thward Jan 2013 #190
sibelian Jan 2013 #47
darkangel218 Jan 2013 #52
Confusious Jan 2013 #91
darkangel218 Jan 2013 #100
Confusious Jan 2013 #106
bowens43 Jan 2013 #53
Confusious Jan 2013 #92
davidn3600 Jan 2013 #56
CJCRANE Jan 2013 #58
pangaia Jan 2013 #85
CJCRANE Jan 2013 #102
csziggy Jan 2013 #60
Igel Jan 2013 #96
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #66
Lithos Jan 2013 #75
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #67
jpak Jan 2013 #68
Coyotl Jan 2013 #70
Lithos Jan 2013 #74
Lithos Jan 2013 #73
thucythucy Jan 2013 #79
sadbear Jan 2013 #80
99Forever Jan 2013 #81
Agnosticsherbet Jan 2013 #82
Glassunion Jan 2013 #86
southernyankeebelle Jan 2013 #87
bluedigger Jan 2013 #88
RebelOne Jan 2013 #93
Separation Jan 2013 #95
cherokeeprogressive Jan 2013 #97
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #98
hunter Jan 2013 #120
Jenoch Jan 2013 #104
randome Jan 2013 #107
Confusious Jan 2013 #110
War Horse Jan 2013 #115
Jenoch Jan 2013 #162
MannyGoldstein Jan 2013 #111
actslikeacarrot Jan 2013 #114
Confusious Jan 2013 #117
Warpy Jan 2013 #116
War Horse Jan 2013 #118
Puha Ekapi Jan 2013 #119
bhikkhu Jan 2013 #121
GoneOffShore Jan 2013 #125
limpyhobbler Jan 2013 #128
whistler162 Jan 2013 #130
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #146
DonCoquixote Jan 2013 #136
raccoon Jan 2013 #137
dorkulon Jan 2013 #138
Buns_of_Fire Jan 2013 #139
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #142
hedgehog Jan 2013 #143
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #144
Hekate Jan 2013 #148
Historic NY Jan 2013 #149
Egalitarian Thug Jan 2013 #150
cheapdate Jan 2013 #152
Number23 Jan 2013 #153
RKP5637 Jan 2013 #177
lunasun Jan 2013 #154
Confusious Jan 2013 #172
cvoogt Jan 2013 #158
Jenoch Jan 2013 #166
treestar Jan 2013 #167
AsahinaKimi Jan 2013 #171
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #174
a la izquierda Jan 2013 #186
Puha Ekapi Jan 2013 #188
AZ Progressive Jan 2013 #187
RB TexLa Jan 2013 #191
A HERETIC I AM Jan 2013 #192

Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:15 PM

1. Why English?

Hmmm?

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Response to blogslut (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:05 AM

182. Because that's the only language the OP has been able to learn.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #182)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:42 AM

193. Because this is DU:

At Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:31 AM an alert was sent on the following post:

Because that's the only language the OP has been able to learn.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2189329

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

This is a personal attack against the writer of the OP. The specific TOS violation is in the section, "No bigoted hate speech", "disability, or other comparable personal characteristic".

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:39 AM, and the Jury voted 2-4 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Seriously? It's a joke! It's low-hanging sarcasm. It's not even a mean one!
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #3 voted to HIDE IT and said: Hide it so MIRT can decide.
Juror #4 voted to HIDE IT and said: No explanation given
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said:
This is beyond even what I call "DU sensitive".

Leave it. Phrased as a question, no malice involved.


I was Juror #1 - You, Sir, Are A Bigot Against People Who Can Only Learn Their Native Tongue

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #193)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 07:29 AM

194. LOL: "Hide it so MIRT can decide."

Thanks for posting the results.

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #193)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 07:35 AM

195. That alert reminds me of my favorite language joke:

What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages?
.
.
.
.
Bilingual.
.
.
.
.
What to you call someone who speaks 3 languages?
.
.
.
.
Trilingual.
.
.
.
.
What do you call someone who only speaks 1 language?
.
.
.
.
An American.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:15 PM

2. .

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Response to Orrex (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:17 PM

5. I will second that

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:18 PM

9. ...

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Response to Orrex (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:22 PM

16. lol

 

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Response to Orrex (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:09 PM

64. Don't bogart the popcorn...



On edit: I brought the beer

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:16 PM

3. why not English

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Response to samsingh (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:14 AM

169. Why not Zoidberg?

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Response to theKed (Reply #169)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:50 PM

184. it's not spoken by very many people

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Response to theKed (Reply #169)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 08:06 AM

196. to quote your avatar...

YES!

and i said that with maurice la marche's voice

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:16 PM

4. Spanish would make more sense

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:38 PM

35. No it wouldn't. The OP said "WORLD" not US of America.

If it's the World, there are more people in the world speaking English or Chinese. Not Spanish. USA makes more sense if you're speaking about Spanish.

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Response to vaberella (Reply #35)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:45 PM

44. Actually, Spanish is #2

At least if, these numbers from Nationalencyklopedin and Ethnologue are correct:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

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Response to blogslut (Reply #44)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:51 PM

49. But how many learn it as a second language?

89% learn it as a second language in Europe.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #49)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:53 PM

50. Hell if I know

When it comes to my personal comprehension, Math is not one of my second languages.

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Response to blogslut (Reply #50)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:03 PM

103. In terms of total number of speakers, Spanish is behind Chinese and English

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_total_number_of_speakers

English is normally used for international business, confences, etc. It is already the international language.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #103)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:26 PM

127. Which is exactly what I was referring too.n/t

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #103)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:10 PM

145. Cool

However, when it comes to the OP, I think it's about something other than reality.

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:49 PM

48. No it wouldn't

Most international communities use English, it's the language of the UN, science, air traffic control and maritime, and somewhere around 2 billion speak it.

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:48 PM

124. Korean would make even better sense

as it has a written form that is about the easiest to learn of any language. The alphabet actually makes sense, and the number of exceptions to the rules of spelling and pronunciation are very small. As opposed to English, where the exceptions are ridiculously common, and spelling and pronunciation are practically arbitrary.

But, with that said, the odds of a universal language that works is pretty slim. (Anyone still pushing Esperanto?)

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #124)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:28 PM

129. You are right...but they are adapting to Western culture more and more.

So I don't see them as a powerhouse figure...more of a follower to say the least. Although technology wise they are impressive at improving what we put out there. Long live Samsung and LG!

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #124)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:37 PM

131. English orthography could be readily simplified.

See the Shavian Alphabet for an interesting example.

The Shavian alphabet (also known as Shaw alphabet) is an alphabet conceived as a way to provide simple, phonetic orthography for the English language to replace the difficulties of the conventional spelling. It was posthumously funded by and named after Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Shaw set three main criteria for the new alphabet: it should be (1) at least 40 letters; (2) as phonetic as possible (that is, letters should have a 1:1 correspondence to sounds); and (3) distinct from the Latin alphabet to avoid the impression that the new spellings were simply "misspellings".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shavian_alphabet#.C5.9Cava_alfabeto

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #131)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:04 PM

141. The International Phonetic Alphabet could be used

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet

English written material would be somewhat more compact in IPA.

Typing IPA would require an unweildy keyboard, but keying should become obsolete shortly and be replaced by speech to text.

IPA would also simplify text to speech synthesis.

Students would no longer need to learn writing and reading, which would simplify primary education enormously.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #131)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:14 PM

163. We can't even update the QWERTY keyboard

even years after it was the solution to a problem that has not existed for a long time. We failed at adapting to the metric system. How will we change the alphabet?

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #163)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:47 AM

176. Thanks for posting this ... Most Americans couldn't even understand the simple metric system. I

can't begin to comprehend Americans adapting to another alphabet. ... most can't even do simple math. And many can't even speak grammatically correct English.

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #163)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:01 AM

181. Well, the REST of the English-speaking world has at least gone metric.

As to QWERTY, yeah. Dvorak seems to be a failed experiment. Sadly.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #124)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:48 PM

135. Funny you should ask...

It was the first language I thought of when talking about what language should be the world language.

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:30 AM

175. Not really. Ask Brazil.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:17 PM

6. OR we can continue strengthening our synapses by learning other languages

which help us cerebrally. I don't know if this has ever been studied, but from my own experience, I've found that people who speak, read, and write more than one language have a broader mind and are considered pretty intelligent by their peers.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:33 PM

29. I was just reading a few days ago ...

... that people who speak more than one language are less prone to alzheimer's disease.


It's good for your brain to learn a few languages.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:17 PM

7. Latin! n/t

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:17 PM

8. How about you learn how to spell it correctly first.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:58 AM

178. You mean, spell with the extra (and unnecessary) "u"s?

as in "Howdy, neighbour"!


Not to mention the funny use of words, like "boot" and "bonnet" to describe automobile bits.

And completely meaningless words, like "codswallop" (a personal favourite - grrr, bad spelling again)

Two countries separated by a common language - Shaw.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #178)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:02 AM

179. ha ha

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:18 PM

10. How about Chinese? It's the most spoken language in the world. eom

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:19 PM

12. Is it? Mandarin or Cantonese?

And is it the most widely spoken primary language, the most widely spoken language generally, or both?

I honestly don't know.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:29 PM

24. Mandarin and Cantonese are considered dialects rather than separate languages.

Every Chinese I know, know them all: Mandarin, Wu, Cantonese, and Min dialects. That's why I only posted Chinese, understanding there IS a standard language with many varieties.

It's a lot like Dutch. There is the "algemeen beschaafd nederlands" (ABN, the main language as spoken by the Queen) and then there are the dialects from all 12 provinces, but they're all intelligible by any resident of other provinces.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #24)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:32 PM

27. Anyway, what about the other question?

Is it the most widely spoken language overall? Or is it the most widely spoke primary language?

A big and important distinction.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #27)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:36 PM

34. What is the distinction? Elaborate. eom

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #34)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:44 PM

42. Okay

I accept that more people worldwide learn Chinese as their native language while children. But is that number of Chinese-as-primary speakers larger than the number of people who can speak English well enough to communicate?

Wikipedia, for instance, reports that English is the most widely used language on Earth, and it is the third most common native language after Mandarin and Spanish.

Wiki also has this to report, which was news to me:
ere are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken, by far, is Mandarin (about 850 million), followed by Wu (90 million), Cantonese (Yue) (70 million) and Min (50 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, although some, like Xiang and the Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and some degree of intelligibility. (emphasis mine)


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Response to Orrex (Reply #42)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:57 PM

54. Strange, but from that same page

it states this at the top:

The Chinese language (汉语/漢語 Hànyǔ, 华语/華語 Huáyǔ, or 中文 Zhōngwén) is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_language



Since Mandarin-Chinese is the most used, it should be the standard-bearer of the Chinese language then. That said, it's still Chinese. My argument is still valid.

There are more people worldwide who speak Mandarin-Chinese than English, so based on the OP's suggestion of a world-wide language, (English is his/her preference, obviously) shouldn't the world's language be the most spoken language of the world, not English, that comes in third place (after Spanish)?

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #54)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:05 PM

62. You're misreading the numbers

English is already the most widely used language on the planet, so by your own assertion it should be made the world's language (if there were to be one).

The issue is not the number of native speakers but the number of people who can understand the language. By that metric, English is the clear winner.

Here's something else to consider, regarding your claim that all Chinese dialects are "mutually intelligible" among their various speakers:
consider how American audiences raved about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, while Chinese audiences winced as they watched Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh, Cantonese speakers, stumble through their Mandarin lines. To non-Chinese speakers, the dialogue comes across as nuanced and flowing, while to a Chinese speaker, it is like watching Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice come out of a Chinese martial artist. --From Cracked.com
You can quibble about the source of the citation, but it raised an interesting point: are the various Chinese language truly as interchangeable as you assert?

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Response to Orrex (Reply #62)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:23 PM

72. I don't assert anything other than what I've read by

those who have studied the variant in languages and who are more worldlier than I am. Perhaps the discrepancy here has to do with the difference between audible language and written language?

As I've explained in one of my previous posts, dialects are difficult to listen to and understand for any native of any particular language, but the writing of that language generally stays the same and are mutually intelligible.

As an example to illustrate what I mean, picture how a TeaBagger would hear Oxford or Cockney English. S/He wouldn't know what they meant if they pronounced the simple word, "aluminum" or if they said "zet" as opposed to "zee" for the letter "z". I would safely bet that the majority of American audiences would be as confused listening to a movie with Cockney actors and dialogue as the Chinese audience listening were listening to Chow Yun-Fat's Mandarin dialogue.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #72)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:30 PM

78. You're arguing a point that's been multiply refuted

I get it--a resident of some small town in the Ozarks won't be able to converse easily with an artful dodger from East London. But so what? Geographically isolated dialects do not constitute the entirety of a language--they represent the edges of the bell curve. Compare that with Chinese dialects spoken by 90 million people or more (rather a larger number than a few thousand East Londoners, wouldn't you say?) When you get into numbers of that size, the difference in the various forms of the language become really significant.

In any case, we're not talking about the breadth of the English language; we're talking about the number of people who can already understand the language that is called English.

That number exceeds the number of people who can understand Chinese, even if you include the many dialects (dialects which multiple people and sources, including someone in this thread with first-hand knowledge) have identified as having limited intercompatibility.


I don't know what it would take to convince you, since you don't find online citations, actual numbers, or direct personal experience to be persuasive.

All I can do at this point is repeat my feeling that we shouldn't force the world to name one official language, but it we were to identify one based on the current state of the world, that language would be English.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #78)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:01 PM

101. Maybe it's been refuted in your mind since it's about winning an argument for you

rather than an honest debate. I'm sorry, but you are wrong based on the numbers by researchers who know more about this than you apparently do.

But that said, the same argument you put forward can be turned against you.

If you believe that there are more English speaking people in the world, counting English as a second language, to justify making it the world-language (which, I know, you aren't advocating but you are arguing), take into account that Chinese (Mandarin) is still #1 even though they, too, speak English which still didn't help the English language as the most spoken language shoot to #1.

Here is the evidence:

The following list is from George Weber’s article “Top Languages: The World’s 10 Most Influential Languages” in Language Today (Vol. 2, Dec 1997):
(number of native speakers in parentheses)

Mandarin Chinese (1.1 billion)
English (330 million)
Spanish (300 million)
Hindi/Urdu (250 million)
Arabic (200 million)
Bengali (185 million)
Portuguese (160 million)
Russian (160 million)
Japanese (125 million)
German (100 million)
Punjabi (90 million)
Javanese (80 million)
French (75 million)

However, in terms of secondary speakers, Weber submits the following list:
(number of speakers in parentheses)

French (190 million)
English (150 million)
Russian (125 million)
Portuguese (28 million)
Arabic (21 million)
Spanish (20 million)
Chinese (20 million)
German (9 million)
Japanese (8 million)

Thus, if you add the secondary speaker populations to the primary speaker populations, you get the following (and I believe more accurate) list:
(number of speakers in parentheses)

Mandarin Chinese (1.12 billion)
English (480 million)
Spanish (320 million)
Russian (285 million)
French (265 million)
Hindi/Urdu (250 million)
Arabic (221 million)
Portuguese (188 million)
Bengali (185 million)
Japanese (133 million)
German (109 million)

http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm


There. I hope that satisfies the criteria for online sources and numbers for you. My argument stands. Yours didn't. End of story.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #101)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:44 PM

133. It's not "all about winning." That's a petulent objection.

Last edited Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:24 AM - Edit history (1)

So your numbers apparently differ from Wiki's. I'll check on that later because I'm on my phone now and can't readily cut and paste.

Take a breather. You'll be fine.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #133)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:04 AM

168. Yes, it's petulant. So why was that your objective?

That said, my numbers trump yours because, as I've made clear in my post and what you'll discover when you finally find the time to follow the link, those aren't my numbers. Those are the numbers and the analyses by professional researchers who actually study this stuff.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #168)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:16 AM

170. It is typical of the person losing an argument to complain about the person winning the argument

If it makes you feel better, I'll imagine that the online citations, actual numbers, and direct personal experience don't entirely refute your claims. Peachy?

As for your statistics about language use, I can as readily cite equally definitive numbers that demonstrate, if nothing else, that the matter is still under debate. I note that estimates from 2011 and 2012 put the number of English speakers at 1.5 to 1.8 billion speakers.

This Wikipedia entry shows conflicting totals, one of which places Standard Chinese as number one, and another which places English at the top.


I'd say that you're more deeply invested in this than I am, demonstrated by how upset you've gotten over trivia. Let's just pretend that you're right, as well as polite and reasonable, and be done with it.


There. You won an argument. Well done.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #72)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:59 PM

99. Someone who speaks canton can't understand mandarin

They can write notes to each other though. They use the same characters.

I've seen multiple people say it, and you can look it up on the web.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #99)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:10 PM

105. My inclination for Chinese languages is to trust in the username of 'Confuscious'.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #99)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:23 PM

112. Oh, I believe you completely. 100%.

But both Mandarin and Cantonese are considered part of the Chinese language, although variants/dialects of it.

As an example: Amsterdam and Arnhem; two provinces in the Netherlands. They speak Dutch, the official language of the Netherlands. But put an Amsterdammer and Arnhemmer in one room to have a conversation, they'd be hard-pressed to understand each other - even when writing notes. I've seen this happen. I speak, read, and write fluent Dutch, but when I have to speak with an Amsterdammer, I have to strain my hearing. But that doesn't mean Amsterdam has its own language. They're just dialects of the Dutch language (and very difficult to understand, believe you me).

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Response to Confusious (Reply #99)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 08:56 PM

185. YOU can look it up on the web.

I have spent a lot of time in Guangzhou and a large majority of educated people there speak Cantonese AND Mandarin... Of course not all...

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #24)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:02 PM

57. My experience in China, and having a Chinese wife,

is a little different. I agree that Putonghua, while, probably theoretically a dialect, is considered the 'official language' of China. And as such more people in the world speak Mandarin as a primary language than any other language.

Even this is misleading as people in an area of, lets say Guangzhou, may learn Cantonese at home, but learn Mandarin in school. However, in my considerable travels across China I have not found that all Chinese know all or even several languages, especially outside the large cities, or even among the less educated in those cities.

People I know in Beijing, Qingdao, Wuxi, Wuhan do not speak Cantonese. They may know some, or even many words but not enough to communicate. Mandarin usually works...

Most/many of those ubiquitous American so-called "Chinese ' restaurants are owned by people from Fujian. My wife speaks excellent Mandarin, and knows enough of several dialects to get by, but she can't understand anything they are talking about. :>
They CAN communicate in "Putonghua," however.

I would still vote for Mandarin as a world language but only IF there had to be ONE language.

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Response to pangaia (Reply #57)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:18 PM

147. Spanish is easier to learn than English or Mandarin.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #147)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:57 PM

155. agree! I was trying to say rice and I was saying poop all because of the intonation

Mandarin was not so easy for me!
Spanish French Italian all the 'latin' languages at least make sense if you are a native English
at least me

English not so much to other tongues.....just sayin ....not dissin English ..so dont go all crazy on the comment

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Response to lunasun (Reply #155)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:17 PM

157. Spanish is much easier than French or English to spell, because it doesn't have all those

silent letters.

And it's spoken around the world more than Italian.

And it's one of the easier languages for people with dyslexia.




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Response to blogslut (Reply #31)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:43 PM

40. Thank you for this. Mandarin

is a dialect of the standard Chinese language just as Oxford English is the standard of the English language despite its many dialects (including American English).

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:24 PM

19. Well, more and more people *do* study Chinese

And the Chinese are also getting more proficient in English.

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Response to War Horse (Reply #19)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:33 PM

30. True. On the other hand, imo, Spanish is the easiest language to learn

so I'd opt for Spanish rather than English. English, or its American variant, is more complicated than most people think.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #30)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:03 PM

59. Spanish is easiest IF you speak English or another Western European language

If you're Asian, Spanish is no easier than English.

The "ease" of a language is directly proportional to how close it is to your native language.

English speakers find Japanese to be devilishly difficult. Koreans find it to be a snap. I once had a Korean student who examined into second-semester Japanese by studying the first semester material during the two weeks of Christmas vacation.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #59)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:09 PM

63. Wow. That was one intelligent student!

Jeezus. He learned first-semester Japanese in two weeks! Amazing.

Now I have a renewed respect for all those Koreans and Chinese who speak pretty fluent Spanish and who told me that they learned "on the job". They all owned small businesses in predominantly Mexican neighborhoods in SoCal and had to learn Mexican-Spanish and English for their non-Korean customers.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #59)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:22 PM

71. Interesting..

I flunked French in college--twice, many years ago! But aced German. And became fairly fluent in German.

I did not have any excessive difficulty learning Japanese well enough to live for more than a year in Japan speaking only Japanese.
But, I had a hell of a time learning Mandarin. For me it was a matter of pronunciation. German and Japanese were easier for me. French and Mandarin, much more difficult.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #30)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:11 PM

65. English is actually my second language

I can probably still get by in German, but would have to "re-learn" French (use it or lose it). Don't know if my brain has room for more languages. The thought of learning a non-Germanic or non-Latin language makes me shudder at this point, but I'm glad our kids are working on it.

But it does make a lot of sense to learn Spanish, it really does. Kinda sorta working on it myself

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Response to War Horse (Reply #65)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:34 PM

83. American-English is my first language (born in the U.S.)

and Dutch is my second (lived in Holland for 16 years, speak, read, and write it fluently).

However, I flunked German in Junior High in Holland ( ), but aced French ( - 9.5 our of 10 grade average). Spanish was easiest for me although I've lost a great deal of it over the years, but I had learned it quicker than French. It's a beautiful language although in Spanish, too, there are many variants. Peruvians, for example, speak a different variation of Spanish than Mexicans.

My friend is Peruvian, and when we were on our way to Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, she lost her way in the maze of downtown L.A. streets so she needed to stop and ask for directions (this was before GPS and iPhones w/GPS). She stopped a Mexican woman on the sidewalk and asked directions. The woman looked at her as if she were speaking a totally different language! Her daughter, who had a Mexican boyfriend and knew how to speak Mexican-Spanish, jumped in to help, and only then did the Mexican woman understand what we wanted. I was very surprised when I saw that happen in real time. It was very interesting.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #83)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:56 PM

94. Interesting, indeed

It's often the "surprising/unexpected/unknown" part that catch folks off guard, I've found. Same thing with EUR Spanish and Latin American Spanish speakers, in my very limited experience. (Broad brushing a bit here, I know).

I'm Norwegian native speaker, but I've actually had to help US EN speakers navigate certain UK dialects

All of my Dutch friends have acquired a basic proficiency of Norwegian rather easily, though, interestingly enough. Some of them struggle a bit w/ the definite article, though .

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:27 PM

23. And not suited to being a lingua franca.

Chinese is very hard to learn for non-native speakers; the writing system is such a nightmare that even native speakers with years of education often can't properly identify the particular character for a given word.

See here for instance: http://pinyin.info/readings/texts/moser.html

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #23)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:05 PM

61. Many people believe the same thing about the English lang - as

Teabaggers and other assorted RWNJ prove again and again, and they are supposed native-speakers of the English (American version) language, yet they still can't get it right. English is not an easy language to learn. Sure, conversational English is simple enough, but the English vocabulary is so extensive that it's very easy to make errors and almost impossible to write properly.

I really believe Spanish should be the world language, though (although I'm not proficient in it, either), because as I learned the language in Junior High (many moons ago), it was easier than French, English, German, and especially Dutch (another difficult language to learn), languages that were a mandatory part of my High School curriculum in Holland.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #23)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:34 PM

164. I have a high school buddy

who studied international business and moved to Taipei over twenty years ago. He has a Chinese wfe. When people with whom he has spoken over the telephone meet him for the first time in person, they are shocked to see he is an American. I guess he speaks their native tongue fairly well.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:55 PM

51. The problem with Chinese

From what I hear, is that you can never become a native speaker, even after years and years, because of the inflections in the language.

Also added difficulty due to the character set.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:26 PM

113. Holy Testicle Tuesday, I can work on my Chinese swearing!

We'd all be talking like the crew in Firefly!

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:35 PM

151. Too limited, too imprecise, too many regional variations, too difficult to learn.

 

None of the Asian languages are suited to being an official international language.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #151)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 09:32 PM

161. That's true. I agree. eom

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:22 AM

180. I'm under the distinct impression that its various dialects

are mutually incomprehensible. The written version apparently is universal to Chinese, but not the spoken version.

And what in the world would a Chinese typewriter look like?

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:19 PM

11. ugh

and we should all wear the same clothes and drive the same cars and eat the same food because who wants to be different or unique or special or interesting...

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:20 PM

13. Only if English gets rid of its crazy grammar, etc.

Just the fact that letters are pronounced many different ways - like the a in cat, car, the silent letters like the gh in laugh.

I learned English when I was 5. I could already read and write in Estonia. Estonian speakers have an easy time learning to read and write in the language because every letter has just one sound that never changes. It's completely phonetic.

When I started learning to read English, it was confusing as heck trying to memorize all the crazy rules and pronunciations.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:21 PM

14. that is part of its charm

 

English for all!

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:29 PM

25. The problem with that is dialects and regional variations as well as sound shifts...

and pronunciation changes. Whenever I hear people advocate "phonetic spelling" I just laugh and wonder "whose phoentics"? Phonetic spelling of General American is not the same as British Received Pronunciation is not the same as Inland US Southern is not the same as Cockney or Scots or Mancunian.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #25)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:07 PM

156. Oh Scots or Cockney-perfect example of this all for one and why it doesnt go too far for speech

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:46 PM

45. Second that.

Btw, German allows you to create wonderful chained word-constructs. A famous one is
"Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän"
literal translation: "Danube-steamship-traffic-society-captain"
translation by sense: "captain working for the entity responsible for steamship-traffic on the river Danube"

You can stack and stack and stack... You could, for the level of detail, go down to the eye-color of the mother-in-law of the guy who designed the sole of the captain's shoe! All in one long word that's easy to write and comprehend, but nobody would have the nerve to actually spend the time speaking it.

You get a monster of a word, but you can cram the essence of a lengthy and complex explanation in it, making this method very precise and very popular with german bureaucrats.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #45)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:28 PM

76. German has problems with "der, die and das" articles

I took three years of German in high school, and had a lot of difficulty guessing at what things took the masculine article der, the feminine article die, or the neutral article das. Same problem in French. These antiquated gendered articles should be reformed.

While not promoting Estonian because it is difficult to learn, I believe it is a good example of a language that doesn't bother using articles to denote gender in a word. Estonian simply does not use articles.

Also, the gender-based pronouns and possessives her and she, his and her don't create hassles for Estonian speakers. We use the neutral pronoun ta and possessive tema instead.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #45)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:34 PM

84. So does English.

We just put spaces between words.

Arnie Duncan enjoys all the Department of Education cabinet appointee position perks that are permitted by law.

Yesterday a Harris County high school science student tried to fit a miniSDHC-format cell phone card adapter into his standard HP tablet SD card slot.

Notice the nouns. "Department of Education cabinet appointee position perk". "Harris County high school science student." "Mini-SDHC-format cell phone card adapter." "HP tablet SD card slot."

Just try to use the "adjective" form of those few words in my examples have. "A Harris County high school scientific student." "Department of Education cabinet appointee positional perk." Yeah. Doesn't work. They're compounds.

All the people that go around complaining that "X" has to be an adjective in form and not just function utterly miss that English is a Germanic language. Like German, we have adjective suffixes. Like German, we freely compound.

For formal linguistic purposes we talk of "coercion" and say that these nouns are coerced (syntactically) into functioning as adjectives. They are still special adjectives, though, because their stress properties are a bit different from normal adjective-noun phrases.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #45)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:44 PM

132. I call for a general

Waffenstillstandbehandlungsondersitzung.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #132)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:02 PM

140. Um...

Was bedeutet das?

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #140)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 09:14 PM

159. Special meeting of an Armistice Committee.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #159)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:27 AM

173. Sehr dank

(and that's about the extent of my German)

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:44 PM

122. There, their, they're, them??

Two, to, too

Hands, fingers, toes, feet (wtf?) Go, gone, went?

And on and on.... English lacks a logical structure. After learning language we learn a nonsensical measuring system. Ten fingers and ten toes and somehow we have inches, yards, and acres. Despite knowing how to count to 100, we set freezing at 32. It's a mystery that we would we not make measurements more user friendly.




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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:45 PM

123. Or better - its completely arbitrary spelling

I read one thing awhile back about the old saw "the Chinese are disadvantaged because they have to learn all those characters to be able to read". On the other hand, in English you have to memorize far more word spellings, as the rules are so arbitrary and full of exceptions that it works about the same - we have to remember how every word looks, the same as if they were each represented by their own character. Perhaps we have better "clues" to help us, but in Chinese there are elements to the writing of the characters that also help one along.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #123)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 09:21 PM

160. The advantage of the Chinese system

is that people of mutually unintelligible dialects can read each other's writing.

And English spelling isn't so much arbitrary as sort of archaic. The pronunciation has changed and the spelling hasn't. Take, for example, the German word Knecht and the English word Knight. They were once pronounced a lot alike, but the English pronunciation shifted and the German remained pretty much the same. There are a lot of similar examples--light, Licht, enough, genug, etc.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:39 PM

165. Here is a list of words in English that might be problematic

for someone attempting to learn the language:

bough
dough
tough
through

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #165)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:11 AM

183. The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough

From Doctor Sesus of course.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:22 PM

15. It already is a lingua franca in many respects

I don't expect that to change any time soon. But "American-centric" - isn't more more like "(Simplified) UK English centric"?

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:22 PM

17. who are we to say what the world's language should be?

silly.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:22 PM

18. I'd go for something retro...

...like Aramaic.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:24 PM

21. How about Indo-European?

Old-school!!

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #21)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:42 PM

39. Some status quo proponents would say that that Tower of Babel is too damn short!

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #39)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:46 PM

46. LMAO!

:Spittingoutcoffeesmiley:

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:24 PM

20. All Internet protocols are written in English

So in some ways it already is.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:27 PM

22. What a horrible idea. nt.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:31 PM

26. Esperanto

Universala Vortaros for everyone!

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #26)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:14 PM

108. I prefer Interlingua -- similar to Spanish with fewer quirks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interlingua

People who speak Romance languages, Spanish speakers especially, can read it almost right away

From an essay by Alexander Gode:

Interlingua se ha distachate ab le movimento pro le disveloppamento e le introduction de un lingua universal pro tote le humanitate. Si o non on crede que un lingua pro tote le humanitate es possibile, si o non on crede que interlingua va devenir un tal lingua es totalmente indifferente ab le puncto de vista de interlingua mesme. Le sol facto que importa (ab le puncto de vista de interlingua mesme) es que interlingua, gratias a su ambition de reflecter le homogeneitate cultural e ergo linguistic del occidente, es capace de render servicios tangibile a iste precise momento del historia del mundo. Il es per su contributiones actual e non per le promissas de su adherentes que interlingua vole esser judicate.

Interlingua has detached itself from the movement for the development and introduction of a universal language for all humanity. Whether or not one believes that a language for all humanity is possible, whether or not one believes that Interlingua will become such a language is totally irrelevant from the point of view of Interlingua itself. The only fact that matters (from the point of view of Interlingua itself) is that Interlingua, thanks to its ambition of reflecting the cultural and thus linguistic homogeneity of the West, is capable of rendering tangible services at this precise moment in the history of the world. It is by its present contributions and not by the promises of its adherents that Interlingua wishes to be judged.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:32 PM

28. Once this thread sets the world standard,

 

you guys be sure to let me know so I'll know which additional language, if any, I need to learn.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:36 PM

32. Chinese is coming up...and even our people are learning it to compete in the world market.

So...no. Whomever controls the world market controls the dominance of a language. America nor Britain holds many of those cards.

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Response to vaberella (Reply #32)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:43 PM

89. If Chinese competes with English I would be surprised

Taking a realistic view.

To hard to learn, have to get the inflections right, most people use alphabets, not characters. you can never be a native speaker, even after years and years of practice.

English is the standard for the UN, science, air traffic control, maritime commerce. 2 billion speakers, native and non native around the world.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #89)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:26 PM

126. Actually...

I think you will be surprised then. Most students learning business in England are actually required to learn basic Mandarin. Not to mention the 1 billion or so population also counts as making it a world figure head. And it's making international moves; particularly in Africa and the Middle East.

You're right in certain respects to the difficulty of the language...that is also why Mandarin has evolved a long way from traditional characters and is adopting pinyin more and more as the main form of writing. I never said English is not a powerhouse...but they are not controlling the market any longer and when other nations like China start making international waves as they are adopting English will have to start backpedaling. To me what you're saying is basically people who fear the rise of China's influence.

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Response to vaberella (Reply #126)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:45 PM

134. 2 billion speak English

1.6 billion non native, and 400 million native.

And yes, I do fear china. Not because of who they are, but because of thier government.

I don't know if you've been paying attention, but Japanese and Chinese fighters had a run in the other day.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:36 PM

33. Sounds like a path to illiterateship...






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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:39 PM

37. Yeah. Lets make English the world's *offical* language.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:19 PM

69. Somehow I don't think those morans

would do very well even in an "English as the lingua franca" world .

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:38 PM

36. Why not Engrish, it would be much more fun

 

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:41 PM

38. Why? It's difficult to learn, a hodgepodge of borrowings from other languages,

and is far from universal, worldwide. You speak and write English as your native language. You're part of less than 6% of the world's population for that. There are many major languages on this big planet, and learning some of those helps expand your own horizons and demonstrates a certain lack of language chauvinism.

Our variety of languages, globally, offers fresh points of view and philosophical differences around the world.

Diversity is a good thing.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #38)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:58 PM

55. Someone once told me that English is a Germanic language

with a very bad case of latinitis

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Response to War Horse (Reply #55)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:30 PM

77. That's pretty close.

English is a language of borrowing. It has borrowed from just about every other European language over the centuries. Its spelling is haphazard, it's grammar is a lousy mess of exceptions, and it's one of the most difficult languages for non-native speakers to become completely fluent in. Still, it works for those born to it just fine, and offers a very wide vocabulary from which to choose.

But I can't think of a single reason for it to become a universal languages. In fact, I can't see the utility or even the possibility of a universal language at all.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #77)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:15 PM

109. Oh, how I know about the exceptions... :)

Years spent on "grammar trees".

I don't see the case for a universal language either. Someone would always had to start from scratch, somewhere, regardless.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #38)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:47 PM

90. 2 billion people speak English

Native and non native.

English is the Language for the UN, air traffic control, maritime commerce.

Diversity is a good thing, but how do you share your diversity without a common language?

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:43 PM

41. I don't see the need for an official world language

voluntary learning of language is enough for me.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:45 PM

43. The world's marketplace already has designated English.

I have been in 41 countries so far and English is widely spoken in all of them. In most of them it is taught as a mandatory subject in schools. It is the language of business and the world knows it.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #43)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:31 PM

189. I find it interesting that the few posts that express this point of view have NO responses.

And you're right. It is also the international language of Air Traffic Control and if I am not mistaken, Maritime communications.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #189)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:15 PM

190. I am no cheerleader for globalism.

But for better or worse we are here. In the short term at least it will probably be for the worse as far as the U.S. is concerned. But the point is that no country -- especially its young population -- wants to be left behind.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:48 PM

47. What for?


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Response to sibelian (Reply #47)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:55 PM

52. Its easier to "conquer" when you take their culture/language away.





That's probably what the OP thinks.

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Response to darkangel218 (Reply #52)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:50 PM

91. How about we not "infer" what someone thinks?

A common language makes it easier to chat and work together.

English has become that language, for the most part.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #91)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:59 PM

100. English is already being taught all over the world.

There are no restrictions to learning English. Anyone can, if they have the will to.

The OP sugests English to be made the official language." Easier to chat and work together " sure. But a HUGE part of any national identity and culture is their Language. I'm not okay with that at all.

Perheps the OP didn't think of the consequences of such changes. Would you like if someone proposed Spanish to be the official internationalb language?

I'm not at all for globalization.

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Response to darkangel218 (Reply #100)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:10 PM

106. "official" doesn't really mean much

Like an honorary doctorate.

Most people wouldn't learn it, nor should they, if they don't have dealings outside their country.

Right now, it's an official language at the UN, science, air traffic control, maritime commerce, and 2 billion speak it. It would be and honors doctorate to say that.

It used to be the language of peasants.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:57 PM

53. most of the world doesn't speak english

sorry but this is a ridiculous idea

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #53)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:52 PM

92. Non native speakers of English

Outnumber native speakers by 1.6 billion to 400 million.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:59 PM

56. English is already pretty official

It's pretty much the standard language of commerce and diplomacy.

If you want to do any business internationally, you pretty much have to at least understand English. It's been that way for centuries.

Even in the Olympics the two official languages are English and French. If you can't read/write in either, you better have translators.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:02 PM

58. IMO the thing that's holding Europe back...

compared to the US, is the fact that they don't have an agreed common language.


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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #58)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:35 PM

85. I don't think that is a problem.

Most educated Europeans speak at least 2 languages..often 3,4 and a little of another or 2.

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Response to pangaia (Reply #85)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:03 PM

102. I'm thinking of the EU government...

they don't have an elected president.

I think part of that must be the diversity of languages, they don't have politicians who have appeal across the whole continent.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:04 PM

60. Let's all start speaking Esperanto!

I is intended to be a cross cultural language and already has a number of speakers, published works, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto#Geography_and_demography

That way we avoid the charges of cultural bias for a particular traditional language.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #60)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:57 PM

96. Esperanto draws on a few European languages.

All Indo-European.

It's easier for IE speakers to learn than, say, Finns or Hungarians.

It's not as narrowly built as Interlingua. Once got a conference announcement written in a language other than English and there was a word or two I had to guess about. Didn't interfere with the meaning, though. I thought, "Interesting conference, got nothing to present." Then I stopped short. "And just what language is this call for papers written in?"

Wasn't Spanish or Portuguese, Italian or French or Romanian and their dialects. But it was certainly Romance. Ruled out Catalan and Sardinian and Romansch. Rummaged for a few minutes and determined it was Interlingua.

But if you build a language that is equally easy for English, Arabic, Swahili, Mandarin, Tagalog, Tamil and Thai speakers you'll find that it's no easier than Arabic would be for Tagalog speakers, English for Mandarin speakers, or Tamil for English speakers. With one exception.

Orthography. English orthography isn't bad for reading, if you know the language. (Really, it isn't.) It's bad for putting spoken words into written. It's certainly better than Chinese on that score, however (which is why they have pinyin, after all).

The only reason for using an artificial language like that is to avoid charges of favoritism, which are usually part-and-parcel of nationalism. Choosing something like Nweh or Ge'ez, Brahui or even Quechua would fix that but produce the same problem that the EU linguistic empowerful dweebs run into. They euphemistically call it "language planning."

You can't use a lot of languages for all the things that Russian, English, or (now) even Chinese are used for. They lack the registers, the explicit grammar needed for the convoluted hypotaxis that formal legal documents typically need; the range of vocabulary needed for expressing everything from folklore to quantum physics and LCD engineering. The EU (and countries like Canada) have banks of linguists that spend their lives producing lists of the officially endorsed words for these ideas. So if you want to be a Galician engineer at a Galician-language conference you need to learn the words in Galician for the paper you wrote in English or French or German (where such vocabulary has been worked out of the course of the last century by common consent and more than a little wrangling). The Czechs did something like this in the 1920s, building on puristic work from the 1800s.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:13 PM

66. I am dumber for having read this OP. (nt)

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #66)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:27 PM

75. Best answer

+1

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:16 PM

67. Make it offical. nt

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:18 PM

68. English is thoroughly laughable pseudo-language

pitui

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:20 PM

70. Mandarin please.

English is one of the most screwed up languages ever assembled.

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #70)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:26 PM

74. So is Mandarin

Most languages are screwed up, comes from their adaptability.

L-

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:25 PM

73. What an absurd notion

Wrong on so many levels.

Go watch Trainspotting and tell me just how much of the movie you think would translate to another English speaker in India? Same for Chinese - I know of several ostensibly Mandarin speakers who have a hard time understanding each other. French - Parisians have a hard time understanding the creole of Quebec or Louisiana (archaic). etc.

Similarly, the second you make any language standard - by being a super grammar nazi, you have essentially made it a dead language in that no one will speak it.

L-

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:31 PM

79. Old joke I first heard in Europe:

Q: What do you call someone who speaks three languages?

A: Trilingual.

Q: What do you call someone who speaks two languages?

A: Bilingual.

Q: What do you call someone who speaks one language?

A: American.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:31 PM

80. Google is on the case. (Google translate)

And I hear they're working on a version of Douglas Adams' babel fish as we speak.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:33 PM

81. Yeah sure...

... 'cuz that "spreading democracy" and making other nations into little Americas has worked so fucking great, hasn't it?






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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:34 PM

82. Why should people be encouraged to abandon their culture?

We should educate people to speak more than one language rather than advocate for one language.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:35 PM

86. I hate the idea.

Their is a problem with you're idea of making are language the universal language of the world. Eye fore one do not think that our language is the easiest won to learn, and can bee quite confusing when trying to get a point across. Sea what eye mean?

Other languages are arranged where a thought can be simply put to words by how they are arranged. English does this through punctuation, however leaving the words in the same order.

"Let's go eat, grandma."
"Let's go eat grandma."

Those two phrases say exactly the same thing, however have completely different meanings.

I vote for French if we need to settle on a language.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:37 PM

87. Many countries have the english language taught in their

 

schools as second languages. I know my Italain cousin told me when he was in grade school that had a choice between english or french. They had to take one of or the other.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:42 PM

88. yIDoghQo'

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:53 PM

93. Actually, I think it is.

I have been in many countries and most of the people speak English as their second language.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:57 PM

95. It kinda already is.

English is the primary language while flying as far as I know.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:58 PM

97. I'm okay with that. Imperial System of measurement too.

Why stop with the language?

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:59 PM

98. Esperanto, designed for just that purpose, much better than Spanish or Englis

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #98)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:39 PM

120. Esperanto is unnecessarily difficult for non-European language speakers.

It has a very strong European bias.

A constructed language meant to avoid this European bias is Lojban.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lojban

I know people who learn new languages easily, and shift fluidly among languages when they have a multi-lingual audience, but I'm not one of them.



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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:08 PM

104. There arw

about 1.3 billion Chinese and 1.2 billion Indians (among orhers) that might disagree with you. (However I suspect this thread was started to make some other point although I confess I have not read any of the responses).

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #104)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:11 PM

107. But most of those people are not widely dispersed throughout the world.

The OP's contention, I believe, is that English is used across a more diverse geographical area.

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #104)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:15 PM

110. Actually, the Indians wouldn't disagree

English is an official language of India.

Many people there use it, because they have different dialects of hindi and having to learn a different dialect might create hard feelings, so English is the neutral language.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #110)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:31 PM

115. "English is an official language of India."

I most certainly is. Good post. Indian (spoken) English takes getting some getting used to for us Westerners, though. But it's easy to get once you get used to it

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Response to Confusious (Reply #110)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:07 PM

162. I did not know that.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:21 PM

111. The best way to do it is to not do it

It pretty much is the language of the world, or at least the lingua franca. If that's made official, then people will get upset and fight it.

A smart rabbi once told me that Jews (in general) tend to become more secular when not being persecuted, but when governments have actually tried to attack or banish the religion, we become more religious. I suspect this more generally shows that when you try to take something away from people, it becomes more important.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:31 PM

114. I think the official language...

...should be interpretive dance. Could lead to some interesting scenarios.

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Response to actslikeacarrot (Reply #114)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:33 PM

117. Lol! I would vote for that!

Get boner to dance about his hate for Obama!

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:32 PM

116. It's already the de facto world language in things like aviation

but I would hope the world would pick an easier language for a worldwide one.

Spanish is beautifully logical compared to English. Mandarin is a really simple spoken language.

There are many other alternatives.

Just not English, please. Even people who have heard it all their lives managed to mangle it.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:34 PM

118. There's a saying among translators

"You can never become 100 % fluent in any language that isn't your native tongue".

There's a lot of truth to that. Proficient, yes. 100 % fluent? Sometimes pretty close, but rarely.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:36 PM

119. Instead of promoting a single European...

...language, much more work should be done to ensure the survival of the world's endangered languages.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:40 PM

121. Whose English? And what would that mean?

Why do we need laws about what people should speak anyway?

I don't have any problem with the language, or with the idea that a common language would be a good thing, but there's all sorts of problems with regulating a language. Languages grow and change and migrate by themselves over the years; if you try to pin them down to one set of words and pronunciations, they die. That's Latin, and Sanskrit and so forth...and English sooner or later.

Just hang out in a club or a bowling alley or anywhere that people talk among themselves naturally - if you write down what you hear and take a good look at it, very seldom are the written rules of the language followed, and the movement is consistently away, one generation to the next.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:24 PM

125. With thanks to Backscatter712 -

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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #125)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:28 PM

128. LOL

+1

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:30 PM

130. Which is it English or American?

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Response to whistler162 (Reply #130)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:11 PM

146. I'm American I took English as a second language.

Grew up speaking hillbilly (til the age of 5 it was all I spoke).

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:50 PM

136. Some good and bad

One the one hand:

English is a pidgin tongue, made when a bunch of French, Germans, Celts, Romans and Scandinavians found themselves on some island that was South of Iceland (aka Britain.) It is not as elegant as some, but that is because it allows itself to absorb other words. Look at these words:

Nuance (French), Zeitgeist (German), Ninja (Japan), Jumbo (Swahili), Alcohol (Arabic), Ketchup (Chinese), these words and many more are words that would not work with other languages, but English can make them work together.

On the other hand:

We do need to be careful that a language does not become an instrument of cultural dominance. Every Language can be corrupted into that, certainly English, French, Latin, Arabic and others have been used to undermine native cultures out of existence. The ideal thing would be two have several commonly known languages...but ones that are NOT artificial, ones that have active development, from newspapers to web sites to radio broadcasts.

As much as I love Esparanto (Bonvenon!), it is simply not that widespread,and it does have a very European bias. I do not know if it is possible to make an Asian equivalent,perhaps something that mixes Korean, Japanese, Hindu and Mandarin, but even if they could, it would still be one voice among many.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:54 PM

137. No, no, no! I vote for Spanish. English spelling is so effed up.

Spanish has phonetic spelling.

If I'mm reading aloud and come across a word I don't know, I can pronounce it without hearing someone say it.

I can hear a word and most of the time, just from hearing it, know how to spell it.


In English there are so many words that have antiquated spelling with letters that are no longer needed.

For example, night, light, bright.

Worse yet:

through
tough
bough
cough

Spelled alike but aren't pronounced alike.

And I've only scratched the surface here.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:54 PM

138. How about we all sprout wings and fly around pooping cinnamon rolls for our hungry animal friends?

I mean, while we're dreaming...

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:59 PM

139. What? Force the teabaggers to learn a new language?

Damn. And here I was just starting to pick up Dumfuk (their "offical" language), too.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:07 PM

142. What would that mean? Would everyone be forbidden to speak any OTHER languages? n/t.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:09 PM

143. No need to declare it an official language, it is already the language spoken in more places than

any other.

It's frustrating for an American to choose a second language. Everyone else's default is their own language, English, and maybe a third or fourth. Even if an American selects one foreign language, we end up speaking English if the group includes more than one other language.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:09 PM

144. On the numbers, there's a far stronger case for making Mandarin the world language. n/t.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:22 PM

148. English has been the language of international business for most of a century already

Have you not noticed this? It is the language of airline pilots and air traffic controllers. It is the language of research scientists and medicine and education in a host of areas. English is particularly useful for conducting business in cultures with a strong hierarchical and gender bias built into their own language. Everywhere that the British colonized a form of English is now spoken and taught, but nowhere does it supplant the original languages. It is useful, and so it has spread.

Why on Earth would you want to make a law about it? Languages carry culture and ways of thinking and seeing the world and interacting. Ours is not the only way of thinking and acting in the world -- in some ways we are very destructive of that world, and our very use of language blinds us to it. We need to have the others as well, to save the planet if nothing else. Trying to impose a single language on all nations by law would cause generations of war and destroy all that has been built up by the needs of commerce, science, medicine, and so on. Our country is not the only place where these things take place, and in fact in many ways we now lag behind -- but English is flexible and it is useful, and America is still politically powerful.

Think it over. We need diversity of language and culture to survive.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:10 PM

149. All airline pilots must communicate in English.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:31 PM

150. It is already the de facto lingua franca (irony smiley goes here), so what's the issues? n/t

 

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:35 PM

152. Absurd. n/t

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:37 PM

153. I am sincerely hoping that you are joking when you say that the world speaking English would be

considered "American-centric."

Quite possibly the dumbest post I have ever seen here. Ever. Wow.

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Response to Number23 (Reply #153)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:49 AM

177. If one wanted a more explicit language it should in fact be German not English. n/t

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:51 PM

154. Mandarin or Spanish unless your "world" is very very small and centrally located near you

English is not the most spoken so you would have to change.
Do you want to in order to have uniformity? I will guess not
next brainstorm?
Mandarin 840 MIl + 180 mil(2nd language)
English 340 mil + 510 mil (2nd langauge)

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Response to lunasun (Reply #154)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:20 AM

172. Your world must be small. 1.8 billion people speak English

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now the most widely used language in the world.

27% of the population of the earth, based on a population of 6 billion

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:45 PM

158. Waar heeft iedereen het toch over?

Ich kann gar nichts verstehen.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:52 PM

166. "...let's have English officially recognized as the world language."

What is interesting about this topic is that English is not even the officially designated language of the United States.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:56 PM

167. There's no governing body to enforce that

Informally, it may be close to it, however.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:28 AM

171. meh...

愚かなポスト

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:29 AM

174. Hello? English pretty much IS the de facto world language.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:16 PM

186. Um, no.

Language is more than just words. It's culture.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #186)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:24 PM

188. +1000!


Exactly. The way you think, view the world and your relationship to others is closely tied to language.

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:24 PM

187. Language is a unifier of culture within many cultures.

Thus for the people to not learn and speak their race / culture's language is like not being a part of one's culture. For instance, it's hard being latino without knowing and at least periodically speaking spanish.

Besides, English is the de facto standard language anyway worldwide (especially for business.) In countries like Japan it's even pretty much the official second language (with many signs being printed in english.)

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Response to quinnox (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:16 PM

191. Really? We should be putting Anglo-Saxon culture in the ashbin of history. Name one people who


were better off after being forced to use English. I mean out of the ones who weren't slaughtered or starved to death.

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Response to RB TexLa (Reply #191)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:29 PM

192. The Peoples Front of Judea?

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