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With all this talk about technology and exponential development and change, one question does keep popping up for me – so where or how is the English language going to change over the next ten years.
After considerable study, researchers have actually come up with something very interesting and if you are teaching or living in a non native English land, will be of no surprise to you.
Firstly, the future will probably show this:
- The biggest English speaking country in the world will not in fact be the United States, it will probably be China. The reason being that the amount of bilingualism of Chinese and English in China is growing at such a rate that the number of people who will be speaking English fluently will surpass the US. Saying that, they won’t be native speakers they will represent a new breed of English speaker, the second language speaker.
- There is already plenty of evidence that even in native English countries around the world every country has taken the language and added their own ‘localisms’. For example, the obvious ones are – in the US people say ‘sidewalk’, in the UK they say ‘footpath’ and so on. This will continue and instead of there being differences in the native English countries, most ESL countries will develop a range of new ‘non-English’ words into the language that will be considered acceptable English ‘new words’.
- The most interesting development will be a shift in the acceptable Englsih grammar. Already some countries such as Malaysia and Singapore have certain ways of saying something in English that are grammatically incorrect but they will soon become completely acceptable as part of their localized English. For example in Malaysia people use phrases like ‘I will off the lights’, or ‘I will send you’, and so on. Malaysians will soon become proud of this kind of localized English as it represents the location of the English and gives the people an ‘English identity unique to their country.
One thing about the English language is that it keeps on developing, it has never been set in stone from the beginning and will continue to do so. The No. 3 point I think is the most interesting though as there will be a range of new ‘grammatical’ alterations that will eventually be considered acceptable.
My question now is that will these ‘localised’ versions of English be considered acceptable in the formal English contexts?
What do you think?