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The future that I fear


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The future of language.

I am an English teacher here in Prague. Technology, mainly the internet, has changed the way that people live, work, do business, date, travel, and learn. The school that I currently work for teaches several different language including Czech, Italian, German, Russian, English and many others. However, 85% of lessons are English language lessons.

Due to technological advances, the ability to reach English language markets is easier and easier. This means that companies looking to take advantage of lucrative markets in English speaking companies educate their workers to speak English. Children learn English, sometimes as early as preschool, throughout their educational career. The number of English speakers grows and grows, creating a new language commonly referred to as globish. For the first time in the history of the world, a major language has more people who speak it as a second language than do people who speak it as native speakers. Perhaps this was the case with Latin in the ancient world , but that was little documented , and not nearly the scope and scale that we see today. The day that most languages are obsolete may be closer than we think. There are roughly 5,000 languages in the world, but 22% of the worlds population are native speakers of Mandarin, Spanish, or English. Ever since Europeans spread out to colonize the world the trend has been increasing: languages are disappearing. Progress happens, languages and cultures evolve. It will certainly make the world more efficient to only have two or three languages. it would certainly make it a lot easier. But is that better? American children do not grow up learning Czech, only Czech children do. The #'s are so lopsided that it is hard to deny which will win out in the end. The internet has made distance a non factor. As soon as technology makes doing business remotely easier than doing it in person, we will see the trend escalate.

Major information companies are working on a device that one sticks in your ear and translates what it hears into your native language. The babel fish I guess you could call it. It is far from reality at this point, but not so far that it is unimaginable. The day when the human capacity for language learning is not needed, the day when culture disappears in favor of the global economic juggernaut, the day that we speak of diversity in the spoken word in the past tense. That is the future that I fear. I do not want languages like Czech, Italian, German, Dutch and the like to be put on the protected list , but I fear that it is inevitable.

Author: Kevin Meng

Category: Education Viewed: 942 times
Username: kevinmeng1 Listing Ref: 1272268360
Date of Listing: 29 May 2013, 16:35:57

The future that I fear


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