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307. Why we need a single language system globally

March 16, 2013

The world has four language blocks. Spanish in most of South America, Mandarin in most of China, English in most of North America, parts of Europe, Asia and Africa and then a fourth block consisting of regional languages in Brazil, India, parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. However, if there is one language that comes across as the most understood or widely spoken it would be English.

The Chinese have been embracing the language ever since the Beijing Olympics of 2008 and the Shanghai Expo of 2010. Indians by and large are in 3 buckets – those who are well versed in the language, those who can survive the language and those who can’t even spell their own names in English. Africa and South America are warming up to English given the growth in consumerism these two continents are seeing.

Multiple languages are great but if one digs deep other than the local culture in the form of art forms and music that they support there is no value they add to a better lifestyle or abolition of poverty. On the contrary multiple languages just add to costs of everything we consume in form of redesign, translations and the like. People would argue about preserving rich traditions and great cultures but I think this is possible with one language but which one is the pain point though I would vote for English.

This maybe practically difficult given the egos at play and this may sound blasphemous given the sensitivity people attach to their mother tongues. But think about in – Is the money that goes into making translations and customization worthwhile given the amount of poverty we live in. I would focus on doing my bit to eliminate poverty rather than spending that money on preserving my language.

PS – I have a working knowledge of 4 Indian languages but 2 out of these are of no use beyond my hometown and 1 is of no use beyond my state. I am proud of these languages and can read,write and speak in all of them though the fluency has decreased. I write this blog also with the understanding of how language creates barriers and is another reason to spread hatred which we can do without.

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