"Half the world's population will be speaking or learning English by 2015, researchers say."

znark
 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 15
"Half the world's population will be speaking or learning English by 2015, researchers say."

As no-one has commented on this yet, I will do it myself:

Given the high number of people who now speak, and according to that article, will speak English as their second language in the future, would this surge of new speakers finally call for establishing some sort of "standardized", international form of English?
(Note that I do not mean a "standardized" form of English for those who speak English as their native language but rather for those who do not even live in an English-speaking country, and still need to learn English for communicating with other people (many of those being people who do not necessarily speak English as their first language, either.))

This kind of standardization would, of course, require founding an internationally recognized authoritative linguistic entity - akin to the French Academy - that would look after this "international" version of English. Since various English-speaking countries (and the English-speakers in those countries) have agreed not to agree about things like spelling or pronunciation, this kind of organization would have to work independently of any similar national bodies.

Naturally all this would be a massive undertaking, and not easily achievable. However, keeping in mind what the above-linked article suggests, the number of people who would possibly be using the services of such an organization in the future is quite massive, too. (The idea of having a standardized, international, normative form of English is probably very old and already discussed to death, so I am not saying there would be anything particularly new to it as such, but the above-linked article gives it some new statistical backing, which at least I find personally interesting.)

znark
"Half the world's population will be speaking or learning English by 2015, researchers say."

As no-one has commented on this yet, I will do it myself: Given the high number of people who now ... the future, would this surge of new speakers finally call for establishing some sort of "standardized", international form of English?

No.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
As no-one has commented on this yet, I will do ... for establishing some sort of "standardized", international form of English?

No.

Why not? As of now, those who want to learn to speak English as their second language - as a communication tool, not necessarily as anything they would use for emotionally or culturally bonding themselves to any particular English-speaking country - will have to learn several variations of it, none of which is the English language (for them.)
Native speakers can always use the form of English they grew up with. I, as a non-native speaker, do not have that luxury. I can never be too sure about whether I should stick to the American spelling and vocabulary or the British one (I would include other countries and their native forms of English on the list as well but these two are the ones I am most familiar with.) I often alternate between the two as well as I can, depending on the audience, but on international forums such as this newsgroup it is hard to make your mind about it.

I don't have any clearly-defined preference for one form over the other, but it would be much easier if there was a neutral ground, standardized, international form of the English language I could relate to without necessarily having to choose any single country and their native form of English.

znark
I can never be too sure about whether I should stick to the American spelling and vocabulary or the British ... native forms of English on the list as well but these two are the ones I am most familiar with.)

It doesn't matter in the least whether you use a consistent spelling, pronunciation, or vocabulary in using English "as a communication tool, not necessarily ... for emotionally or culturally bonding (yourself) to any particular English-speaking country." If you want guidelines, just use whatever version of spelling and pronunciation you were taught in school.
"Half the world's population will be speaking or learning English by 2015, researchers say."

As no-one has commented on this yet, I will do it myself: Given the high number of people who now ... the future, would this surge of new speakers finally call for establishing some sort of "standardized", international form of English?

snip
This kind of standardization would, of course, require founding an internationally recognized authoritative linguistic entity - akin to the French Academy - that would look after this "international" version of English.

I don't see the "of course" aspect of this at all.

A de facto standardised form of English used by and between second- language speakers and writers could not only develop on its own but probably will develop on its own. I suspect if a "standardising body" does eventually appear it will simply grow out of some existing UN or EU standards agency, and would not involve a dedicated linguistic entity.

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 22 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van)
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
If you want guidelines, just use whatever version of spelling and pronunciation you were taught in school.

Well, that doesn't work for long, does it? Language changes over time and new words and usages keep creeping in. My old schoolbooks stay the same. If I did what you suggest, I would have to start following the practices of only a single country. I am not sure if I would like to impersonate, say, an English chap all the time (not that there would be anything wrong about being one Emotion: smile. I'd rather speak and write English that does not directly connect me to any particular English-speaking country. In some sense I probably already do, but you know what I mean.

znark
Well, that doesn't work for long, does it? Language changes over time and new words and usages keep creeping in.

Sure, but that doesn't affect spelling and pronunciation. If you want constant information about what vocabulary to use, there isn't any to be had, no matter what variety of English we are talking about.
I'd rather speak and write English that does not directly connect me to any particular English-speaking country. In some sense I probably already do, but you know what I mean.

It makes no difference whether you use a pronunciation based on "standard American English" or a pronunciation based on "standard British English", unless you are particularly good at imitating sounds and wish to avoid being taken for a Brit or an American. If you were to adopt a skillful imitation of "standard Indian English", that might draw some attention.
No.

Why not? As of now, those who want to learn to speak English as their second language - as a ... on the audience, but on international forums such as this newsgroup it is hard to make your mind about it.

I can see how you might puzzle over this. However, I suspect none of the rest of us keep track of whether you are mixing American and British style choices. We're used to both, here. The reader's perspective is different; the writer has to make active choices, but the reader just passively accepts, up to the point of not understanding something.

(What we've noticed over the years is how awfully good Finnish English is. I'm sure you know this already.)
I don't have any clearly-defined preference for one form over the other, but it would be much easier if there ... English language I could relate to without necessarily having to choose any single country and their native form of English.

So if some unspecified people working for some unspecified reason, funded from unspecified sources, put a whale of a lot of time and energy into forming an international organization that is supposed to resolve thousands of conflicting uses and to somehow ensure that their recommended replacements would be used around the globe this would make your own life easier? Because you wouldn't have to worry about whether you looked foolish, mixing styles?
Oakily-doakily. I'll put it on the wish list, somewhere below finishing metric conversion and getting everyone to drive on the same side of the road. And way below the ending of flood, fire, famine, and pestilence.

I think it will be interesting to see in three or four decades (if I'm around to see it) how the nature of English will change as more people adopt it. However, my trust is in the usual mechanics of language use and change and not in international regulatory bodies.

I suspect that by a few years from now, you'll have outgrown your own concern about mixing British and American styles. Perhaps your schoolteachers made an undue fuss over it, trying to get you to follow one and forsake the other? They may have cared, and maybe there are jobs where it truly matters, but the Internet world doesn't care.
Best Donna Richoux
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more