Tag Archives: language imperialism

One language for all: for and against

language imperialsmWe are living in the era of extreme decrease of the number of languages. Therefore, perhaps there are indeed reasons for thinking that one day, only one language will remain.

The decrease in the number of language is happening because the world is globalizing, becomes united, and therefore, a center of influence forms. Before, there were quite a few centers of the sort, and they’ve existed autonomously in various corners of the planet. But a single language for the entire planet – that’s definitely not happening tomorrow!

Various opinions are circulating on the subject. The idea of translating the world into a single language appeals to far from everybody. Let’s review this issue from various points of view.

FOR:

Translating the world into a single language is a wonderful idea. Such a decision would help the people get rid of global conflicts, improve the economy, politics, as well as create unified equality for everyone. People from different countries would have an easier time finding the common ground.

The common tongue does exist. Esperanto is the most widespread manmade language that was created as a result of 10 years of fruitful labour of a Warsaw ophthalmologist Leizer (Ludwik) Zamenhof in 1887. Its distinguishing feature is that it’s not related to any state or nation in anyway. Esperanto is created to serve as a universal international language, a second (after native) language for each educated person. The use of a neutral and simple to learn language would help take translingual contacts to a brand new level. In addition, Esperanto has a significant pedagogic value, i.e. substantially makes subsequent learning of other languages easier.

Existence of a single language would relieve humanity of wrongful translation and substantially help us save time and effort. People wouldn’t have to use translators’ services and waste time on learning foreign languages.

AGAINST:

At first glance, introducing a unified language isn’t a bad idea. However, just imagine what would happen if everyone starts speaking the same language. Some people believe that if everyone started speaking the same language, everything would become so boring and uniform it would provoke a new foundation for global conflicts. Everything would mix: cultures, religions… Some jobs would completely disappear. Many cultures in our world have had been created by people for centuries. It would be stupid to reject the richest history, diverse cultures and the great power of hundreds of languages. You can’t burn, force and destroy the uniqueness of various countries.

Not everyone would be able to forget everything they’ve learned from the time of their bedtime stories in diapers: forget their roots, native language, traditions and culture. In addition, you can’t make everyone and their mother learn a single language and talk in that language alone. Sometime ago, Esperanto was created for a similar purpose, but that idea wasn’t welcomed in the global society.

Either way, any language is a system of definitions and therefore, outlooks on the world. Therefore, the more there are, the richer human knowledge is… It’s like that old anecdote: Russian is best for swearing, French for confessing love and English for academic debates.