English Will Disappear?

tags Men and women whose 1st language is English are apt to be complacent about its pre-eminence. English is seen as indomitable ruling the worlds of business, science and entertainment. However in The Last Lingua Franca, Nicholas Ostler serves up a bold corrective to Anglo-centrism and its familiar flag-waving myopia
Ostler, a Briton who chairs the Foundation for Endangered Languages, opens with the provocative statement that the decline of English, when it starts, will not appear of excellent moment
Ostler provides an account of the fluctuating fortunes of other major globe languages. In each and every case their majesty has proved fragile. For instance, the may possibly of Persian, established more than a period of practically a thousand years, was shaken to its foundations in just 16. If we imagine that the supremacy of English will endure forever, says Ostler, we are guilty of each memory failure and a signal lack of imagination
Today, were told, English offers an entry card to the worlds Executive Club. But sceptics recommend that its prospects are tainted by its association with Britains exploitative previous and Americas recent taste for political interventionism
Worriers allege that the diffusion of English need to lead to its break-up: it will develop in several directions, its different new forms in the end becoming mutually unintelligible
Ostler contends that the future promises something quite different: a new linguistic world order, in which China, India, Russia and Brazil, increasingly dominant economically, will learn that they can safe their positions in the global marketplace with out recourse to English. The international type of the language will evaporate, and English will revert to being spoken only in its native heartlands. These heartlands will be significantly less important politically and commercially
Typically, anyone who argues that Englishs position is insecure proposes that some other language most most likely Spanish or Mandarin Chinese will supersede it. However Ostler takes the view that by about 2050 no international lingua franca will be needed. To a large extent, this will be thanks to technology, for example as enhanced machine translation will make much more languages mutually accessible
Yet whilst he writes with engaging crispness, at times the text becomes forbiddingly technical, and one can shed oneself in a thicket of thorny names and bristling verbiage
Ostlers arguments are cogent and alarming. However he leaves us with a salutary believed: whilst the world can nowadays seem flat and homogenous, and whilst a language dies out every fortnight, numerous distinct tongues persist, and in them survives a wealthy miscellany of traditions, histories and nuances of human character(Details derived from the network)