Is English HIJACKING the world’s INTELLIGENCE?

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This is a very dramatic statement but if you take a few steps back you will realise something quite interesting and dare I say even frightening.

Still today, if anyone wants to learn the latest in any kind of information for any field, the first thing they need to do is to learn English. All the old masters of French, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Farsi, etc are sadly dying out in terms of the discussion of new phenomena.

Even if someone wants to study at university IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY (!!!) they will need to get the IELTS or TOEFL certificates to enter their courses because their course content and readings will be predominantly in English.

For us English teachers and ESL schools, this is great, a guaranteed job for the next 10 years and becoming even more so the further and deeper we get into different countries. But the sad thing is that the old languages though they are still being used of course, are not really progressing at the same rate as English in terms of communicating the new information of the world.

So what is the long term impact of this?

Well, it means English will be the only language for the intelligent people and as a result it will be only the intelligent people who will hold down any kind of quality of life because they are the ones who can negotiate, discuss and talk of the future in terms of economics.

At the same time there are plenty of intelligent people who are not academics, but even if they are business people, they will still need to learn it.

The old languages may end up being used only for basic communication to elders and to hold the richness of a culture. They will never be taken seriously as a natural form of communication, as we may consider such languages as Latin.

My question to you is…..do you think this is fair? Or do you think this is just a fact of life and everyone should make sure their culture and their language is maintained in the history books?

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5 thoughts on “Is English HIJACKING the world’s INTELLIGENCE?

  1. I think it’s cyclical. Take Greek, for example. When Greek culture was dominant, so was the Greek language, although perhaps not to the extent that English is today. Even the Bible was originally written in Greek, even though it was written by Jews (primarily) in a Roman-controlled country.

    Later on, Latin took over from Greek. It became the only language for intelligent people, and, like Greek, its influences were so far-reaching that hundreds if not thousands of English words today have their roots in Latin (and others in Greek). To see just how deep its influence went in academic circles, you need only look at our “English” academics; most of their vocabulary is taken straight from Greek and Latin with very few changes!

    French also had its heyday at one point, although it was never as universal as Latin and Greek, and French words and phrases have also contributed to the hodge-podge that is modern English.

    Now it’s English’s turn. For a while – perhaps a couple hundred years, perhaps more, perhaps less – English will be the dominant language for people who want to study, communicate, or conduct business. But just as Greek, Latin, and French faded out of common use, I think English, too, will one day be eclipsed by some other language, probably an Asian language the way the economic situation is going. (Start brushing up on your Chinese!)

    If you think about it, this is the logical outcome of wanting to communicate in a spread-out world. A central language has been necessary to progress ever since the Tower of Babel, and gravitating towards one particular language for education and business seems to be human nature. But just which language becomes that central language fluctuates with time. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that English is currently the central language. (I also don’t think it’s permanent, but as an EFL teacher myself, I’m hoping that it will continue to be the central language at least long enough to give me job stability for the rest of my natural working life.)

    Just as Latin, Greek, and French didn’t destroy other languages, I don’t think English will, either, even though one’s native language may never have the importance, internationally speaking, that the central language does. On the contrary, other languages enrich English; thanks to them, we have sushi, piñatas, bagels, tchotchkes, and a whole plethora of other fun words that can’t really claim to be English even by adoption.

  2. I have a different take on it. Due to the interconnectedness of the modern world, one language will take hold and become the dominant language. And that language is English. And it will remain that way for the foreseeable future. At least until such a time that human communication takes on an entirely different form than it does in the current age. When there is no longer a need to communicate as we do today, this new, yet unimagined format, will usurp English as the dominant language.

  3. Pingback: Little Hands, Little Hearts

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