World English: The Need of Tomorrow

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shaikh_1234

World English: The Need of Tomorrow

Postby shaikh_1234 » 2005-05-28, 19:58

Hello friends I am shaikh from india. I am looking forward to suggestions for an International standard of English as different from American and British standards of monopoly. If figures are to be believed, almost half the earth population is bound to become fluent in English just a generation or two from now. In the event of such an unprecedented development, native English speakers will become a miniscule minority in comparison to the overwhelming majority of non-native English speakers. In any case, many non-native speakers are excellent in observing the rules of Grammar and Syntax as evident from scanning TOEFL/IELTS scores of Asian students applying for studying in the UK/USA/Australia.

In such a changing world order, the fact that regional/local developments and particular cultural contexts often influence a language from within throws open the possibility of anarchy and confusion in the way the Queen's language to be used in the future. Already, in India a debate ensues over whether or not to delegalise British English and replace it with Indian standards. Supposing China becomes as conversant in English as India is today, similar debates may be generated over there. African countries have their own principles to honour. With the rise of Asia and Africa as world powers, the USA and England will be forced to reckon with the grown-up men of tomorrow.

The World English debate should not be taken frivolously. Unlike the UN which has become the joke of an institution thanks to mindless intervention by Uncle Sam, the World English should be more democratic in principles. And, in 25 years time, India and China will be way too powerful to exert their influence in shaping anything that World English may demand.In such a situation, people of countries smaller in size and stature must come forward to make a democratic alliance so that arm-twisting tactics don't work. The task begins right now and must be carried diligently by all people of this world.

The World Wide Web and the global media as well as Television and Cinema are going to play a pivotal role in chiselling the development of World English. Smart gadgets like PDA's, mobile phones and iPods have changed forever the way we communicate. Chat Rooms speak their own brand of English constantly undergoing sea changes every day.

Unfortunately, the task of establishing World standards of English lie with politicians having vested interests and narrow minds. The British Prime Minister would not like to lose his country's predominance in the English theatre, nor would the American President. The task should be entrusted with academics the world over. With increased interactions between people the world over, significantly reducing distances because of increased purchasing power parity and Cinemas, such an endeavour is the best practical solution for the benefit of humanity.

If we don't take immediate steps to develop a World English, chances are that English much less being dreamt of as a Global language may die the way Latin did and divide into so many offshoots that a millenia from now, to a person sitting in London, Indian English may sound more difficult to understand than Russian or Greek.

A doomsday scenario in which Everybody's English will become Nobody's English.

Comments, suggestions, criticisms and feedback invited from all Global citizens.

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Kirk
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Postby Kirk » 2005-06-04, 9:31

Well, such is the nature of language, since it's constantly changing. No matter how hard official entities have tried to "regulate" language usage over the usages, real speakers have continued speaking as is natural to them. That's just a basic fact about human languages. You could have all the scholars in the world decide and agree on some arbitrary world English standard but that would be unlikely to accomplish anything.

English, like all other living languages, is constantly changing, and there is no way to stop that process.

Scientific linguistic evidence has consistently proven that English varieties the world around are steadily diverging from one another. What is different about the case of Latin, however, is that while each regional area may diverging from other regions, people at this point are at least more familiar with dialects from across the globe. In my daily life I may not come into contact with British people very often, but I can very easily go out and rent a British movie. I can watch an Australian TV show or listen to a Singaporean radio station online. Mass media increase familiarity with other dialects, even as they don't affect how people actually speak.

That being said, it's probable that English dialects around the world will eventually reach a point where mutual intelligibility amongst native speakers could become strained.

English is a living language and attempting to create a "World English" without regional standards would surely be an exercise in futility. Of course, I'm talking here exclusively about the spoken languages, which change much faster than the written language ever does.

The only thing I could foresee possibly happening would be that as regional English dialects lose significant amounts of interintelligibility, people might be able to be educated in learning something akin to "world business English"--they could still retain their natural regional speech varieties but would be able to be conversant in an agreed-upon more "neutral" form more comprehensible to all when in settings that required speaking with others from different places. Maybe this is what you were referring to--even then, it would be quite a task to accomplish on a global scale, and would only have an impetus to be carried out once English dialects lose significant amounts of interitelligibility. Language is notoriously hard to regulate.

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Postby greg-fr » 2005-06-16, 8:10

Agree with svenska84 totally. Take France’s French for instance. It’s changing all the time and fast. It doesn’t mean old rules and usages necessarily disappear : old and new forms may compete or simply coexist. That trend is noticeable in virtually all matters : grammar, vocabulary, phonology, spelling, registers etc. However, l’Académie française is still out there performing the job it’s paid for : serve as a reference, not a model. So prescriptivism or standardisation may not be incompatible with natural change as long as the two are taken for what they are : norm vs reality.

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Postby JoeK » 2005-06-16, 8:38

svenska84 wrote:That being said, it's probable that English dialects around the world will eventually reach a point where mutual intelligibility amongst native speakers could become strained.


They speak some language in parts of the state of Georgia that no one else in the US, at least that I've run into, can easily understand. It's seems like English, but consists mainly of mumbled vowels.... :wink:

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Postby Kirk » 2005-06-16, 8:56

JoeK wrote:
svenska84 wrote:That being said, it's probable that English dialects around the world will eventually reach a point where mutual intelligibility amongst native speakers could become strained.


They speak some language in parts of the state of Georgia that no one else in the US, at least that I've run into, can easily understand. It's seems like English, but consists mainly of mumbled vowels.... :wink:


Maybe you're referring to Gullah as spoken by the Gullah people? I believe in Georgia they're also referred to as Geechees. I remember watching a video of some Gullah speakers in a high school English class and at least the variety I heard I could understand most of what they were saying (or at least get the gist of what was going on), altho there were subtitles to help--but they seemed largely unncessary at least for those speakers and I remember laughing with my friends in class because there were subtitles for the words we had just understood perfectly well :) The only things were some significant vocubalary and lexical differences especially as related to food and plant life.

Anyway, maybe someday the different regional dialects of English will reach such a point of intelligibility where the majority of things are understood or the general idea is clearly understood even if it may not be nearly perfectly intelligible as is generally the case today--it may approach the situation of the Scandinavian languages/dialects where a significant degree of interintelligibiliy may be found even tho some things aren't always as transparent.
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

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Postby Kirk » 2005-06-16, 9:00

greg-fr wrote:Agree with svenska84 totally. Take France’s French for instance. It’s changing all the time and fast. It doesn’t mean old rules and usages necessarily disappear : old and new forms may compete or simply coexist. That trend is noticeable in virtually all matters : grammar, vocabulary, phonology, spelling, registers etc. However, l’Académie française is still out there performing the job it’s paid for : serve as a reference, not a model. So prescriptivism or standardisation may not be incompatible with natural change as long as the two are taken for what they are : norm vs reality.


That's true. Any "language regulating" done may only be taken to the extent that it's making clear what is the arbitrary "standard norm" but not necessarily the reality of the spoken language. It's when people take things like the pronouncements of the Académie française to be infallible and the only authority on how the language "should" be that it's been taken too far, in my opinion--especially as related to the spoken language.
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks


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