Bluefront wrote:No matter what languages you learn, unless you use them frequently, they get lost. I learned Latin in school......three years of the stuff for unknown reasons. Then I studied German and Spanish for a while.....gone mostly.
This very true. It's also the reason why I'm only fluent in English and Finnish. I have studied Swedish for 6 years and German for 5. I'm proficient enough to read newspapers in both languages, but let's face it, understanding a language is much easier then speaking it. I'm more fluent with Spanish then German at the moment, because I recently took a Spanish course in university. Despite the fact that my German vocabulary is are much larger.
At our present course, I wouldn't be surprised if Mandarin became the new English.
never happen. mandarin is too hard, tones are too difficult to master, and uses ideograms instead of Roman alphabet (which is at least one advantage of English). has a big advantage in terms of native speakers but actually the big craze is for Chinese people to learn English, not the other way around. most of China's economy is based around manufacturing, you don't need to speak the other person's language to get business done, you just need the technical documents translated (and also a local involved who you can trust to make sure you aren't being ripped off). of course with the rise of China there will be more non-indigenous Mandarin speakers, but it will never be a lingua franca like English.
Not to mention English is lingua franca not only in economics, but also in science, internet and entertainment. Science is important. Internet is really important, but nothing is as important as entertainment. You simply cannot beat Hollywood and especially the music industry. Just look at Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Countries that sang in English or partly English were: Moldova, Azerbaijan, Norway, Poland, Ireland, Andorra, Armenia, Netherlands, Russia, Greece, Iceland, Sweden, Ukraine, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Belarus, Latvia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, Malta, Macedonia, UK, Germany, France.
17/25 finalists sang in English or partly English. There will be a point in future when all finalists will sing in English. Bands know singing in English is the only way to ever have a chance to become big internationally.
Dutchmm wrote:Now, suppose the non-native English speakers outnumber the native speakers (ignoring the question of which Native English we speak). What result can we expect? The subtle nuances we native speakers can imply in what we say are bound to go away.
Synthesis: it will be as linguistically dangerous for English to become the lingua franca of the non-native world as it was for Latin, and as it has economically been for Sterlling and the Dollar (whatever happened to that?).
English language conservatives are not the only one's worried. For example many Finns are worried, because our language is slowly evolving to Finglish. But that's the nature of languages, they evolve constantly. The world is turning more multicultural and languages are reflecting it. I think that in future, many languages will evolve into pidgin and creole languages with heavy English influences. Something like Spanglish or Singlish. I wouldn't mind, if Finland went the Singapore way and started using English as first language medium in education. Most of books you read in university are already in English.
mr. poopyhead wrote:
Bluefront wrote:Well I'd need to be convinced that a native English-speaking person is at any dis-advantage if he only speaks the one language. Unless you have frequent dealings with a non-English country or person.....what's the big deal?
Learning/speaking English is an advantage for everyone, since it seems to be a second language no matter where you go.
while what you say is true, that technically there is no real benefit to learning another's language... i think the idea is to show some respect to another's culture... even if they DO speak english...
Cultures don't deserve respect, people do. All you need to do is be polite. I don't expect Bluefront or anyone else to learn Finnish, just for the purpose of showing "respect" to my culture. Personally, I'd rather compromise and speak English with him, rather then expect him to learn useless Finnish language, which he could only use in akward and broken way, which would only serve as a form of amusement for myself.
My sisters spouse is Mexican. He has studied Finnish and I have studied Spanish. We both understand each other to some degree, if we are in a group that is speaking in Finnish or Spanish. But we still use English between us, because it keeps the conversation most fluent.