Will we all one day speak the same language?
By Hal Hodson

With over a billion native speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the language spoken by the greatest number of people. English comes third, after Spanish. But unlike Mandarin and Spanish -- both spoken in more than 30 countries -- English is found in at least 100. In addition to the 335 million people for whom it is their first language, 550 million cite it as their second. It dominates international relations, business and science.
    All this suggests English is on course to be the planet's lingua franca. It just probably won't be the English that native speakers are used to.
    Millions of second-language English speakers around the world have created dialects that incorporate elements of their native languages and cultures. Anna Mauranen of the University of Helsinki in Finland calls these varieties similects: Chinese-English, Brazilian-English, Nigerian-English. Taken together they -- not American or British English -- will chart the language's future path, she says.
    "We used to think there were two possible futures," says Jennifer Jenkins at the University of Southampton, UK. "In one we'd all end up speaking American English. In the other, English would separate like Latin did, and we'd end up with [new] languages. I don't think either of those is happening."
    Instead, English similects are probably here to stay. Even in a future where China, India and Nigeria are global superpowers, English is likely to be the language of choice for international discourse, simply because it is already installed.     Full post


Do You Think the English is a Good Language for Science?
A question for the scholars of ResearchGate.net     full post


-- What is really precious is to dispose of ONE universal language for science, regardless of our respective mother tongue. It is so great sitting around a table with experts from different continents and have the possibility to understand each other and exchange meaningfully. At different times in human history the language of Science was Greek, Latin, or Arabic (until the 15th century, medicine was taught in Arabic in southern France). Now English plays that role. Who will be surprised if iit becomes the turn of Chinese in 100 years or less? That will not matter. What will matter is for researchers to keep the ability to understand each other.
-- Dear all, I am from Kerala, India. This is my mother tongue, Malayalam. I love it, personally, I like to speak science also in this language. But, I can not, because it is not a universal language. So I would prefer to use English as it is common now everywhere. I know most of you could not read even what I wrote. This happens to me when you write French or German languages.
-- English is the lingua franca of science because it is much more likely that scientists from multiple countries will have English as a second language rather than any other. I have the great privilege of working with a European Union think tank on scientific evidence and I love the multi-national get togethers we have. We have speakers of every language in Europe present but the official languages are English & French. At meetings we nearly all have to speak English because virtually everyone speaks it while only half of us understand French.
- I love to use my native language - Chinese to compose papers and articles. But how many people in the world can understand them? Both languages are good for expressing ideas and scientific concepts. We need to advocate for bilingualism. Use Chinese for Chinese readers and use English for international readers. All educated scientists should be bilingual in this era.
-- I review papers for Mathematical Reviews (USA) and Zentralblatt fur Mathematik (Europe); most of them are written in English; occasionally I get to review papers written in French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian. Although I manage and overall understand those languages, I write my reviews in English; as such, the interested readers can at least understand, from my reviews, the essential of those papers.
-- I love mother language, but for common to all people English is must and easy
-- Although experts from different countries are discussing and understanding scientific issues in English, its new vocabularies will be explosive someday with the development of scientific research . Therefore , I think Chinese is a good language for science for the stability of Chinese Characters.
-- I think English is a good language for scientific texts because it not only expresses ideas clearly but at the same time the reader can understand the nuisances of the meaning. Furthermore, it is the most widely used in academia, thereby making it possible for researchers to use it as a lingua franca to communicate their ideas with other researchers easily.
-- I do believe that the language that should be most appropriate for science should be that we would use to infer a term or use to elaborate on a phenomena precisely. One should differ between common and scientific language. We sometimes use the English term beside the German or Arabic for instance to encompass a term. Hence, one language never could be saturating.
-- A good friend says: Philosophy in German, Science in English and Poetry in Spanish.
-- I would caution against the idea on settling on just one language for scientific or indeed any other kind of expression. Each language or at least each language type carries with it a certain way of thinking which that language best expresses. And each language has limitations as to the kinds of thoughts, ideas, and feelings it can convey. We have already done that with mathematical expressions. We are now world-wide bound by the kinds of relationships the decimal system and algebraic formulae can express. Along the way did we ignore and suppress other modes of quantitative thinking that might resolve some of the paradoxes of modern science?
-- English like all other languages evolves all the time and applies itself to the circumstances prevailing. English has become the lingua franca of science but English is language that owes so much to other languages that this is no hegemony.
Those who succeeded in 'tethering' their languages gave the free and liberated polyglot of English free reign to take the lead. The whole world has used Arabic numbers for many centuries to allow us to communicate a universal arithmetic. We all understand them.
When a Polish speaker, a Mandarin speaker, a Spanish speaker and Hungarian speaker meet at a scientific conference they will speak English because it is far more likely that they will share it as a common language even though more people in the world speak Mandarin and Spanish than English.
- Whether we like it or not, English has taken the lead during our times. May be in future some other language might take the lead and turn the table. Who knows!
-- These days a big deal is made about English being a or THE lingua franca of science, and there is a lot of research about that. However, I think that the nature of the science field itself is an affective factor as well.
- The English language is the one currently used for communication, dissemination and structuring of scientific knowledge. The reasons and reasons for this: 1. Science is ruled by the Empire; And the Empire is English-speaking. 2. The English language facilitates the language of greater precision and simplicity than other languages. 3. The English language facilitates the organization of logical-syntactic-semantic structures of scientific statements.
-- Arab cultures did well in Science when translated from Greek. Latin is also a base for modern scientific language. Esperanto would likely be the best in many cases. Chinese and Japanese are complicated for Westerners but both cultures have done well in Science as of late.
-- You are right, whatever language you are familiar and fluent you prefer to study science in that language. What matters is science itself, not the language you study or practice.
-- But if you speak a language that only a very small fraction of others speak, then you won't be able to propagate your results very easily.
-- Any rich and widely used language is good for the job. English is such a language and is fine for the job.
-- I think that English is a good language for Science, there is a lot of books to read and English is the language of business. Business is related to Science.
I teach English as a Second Language and present all my research in English. As a universal language taught globally English addresses a wide variety of cultures, continents, and peoples. I believe for publication, and information dissemination English is accessible to a broad audience.
-- Yes, I think so. Especially nowadays when English, along the globalization, has become the most used language in the world.
-- English is very good language for science and writing papers and articles .
-- I think, Yes, almost books, papers, researches are presented in English.
- No, I don't think so. English is a very easy structured language. But that doesn't mean that complex scientific contents become easier when using easy wording.
-- In practice, scientific work is often judged on the basis of the scientific journals in which it is published. Thielmann regards this practice as problematical because all the leading journals are based in the United States of America: German scientists have to write in English in order to be published in those journals. . . .
    //www.goethe.de/lhr/prj/diw/dos/en8201485.htm
-- As a historian of science, I have decidedly mixed feelings about this issue. On the one hand, I agree it's nice to have a "lingua franca" among scholars which at the moment happens to be English. But as others have rightly pointed out, English didn't always used to be, in the nineteenth century, the "scholarly" languages of science were French and German, and who knows what it might be in a few centuries or even decades.
-- I think you have answered your own question in your description. And English is a universal language which helps increasing the visibility and use of all sorts of information than those available in the language limited to a particular area.
-- The need to be able to understand how the phenomena of the world operate makes us look for a common language: mathematics. Together with these, the use of a common language, which favors precision, although this is never achieved, makes possible the construction of scientific knowledge, as common knowledge about the world: objective-physical-natural, social-intersubjective and subjective-spiritual.
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