Here's the full text of the article: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/currents/15153726.html

This article says "Today, it is the world's dominant language. Tomorrow, that may change" and reminds us that "English is not the first language to have had the world at its feet. Latin was once the global lingua franca, and the very currents that bore it to the fore bore it away. The same thing could happen - easily - with English."

What do you think?
Interesting article, and the subject as a whole. I believe that the biggest menace to the English language is the English language per se, that is, with its myriad of varieties. I wouldn't be surprised if some day mutual intelligibility is lost, say, between British English and Australian English.
But as I said: this subject really whets my appetite.
Possibly. Who knows? I've sometimes heard that Chinese will be the next lingua franca, because of the huge population of China. However, their language seems too difficult compared to English. I shared my flat with 3 Chinese girls for one year and didn't learn a word ... not even one!

I think this article points out two important things.

First, Latin predominated in (what we would now consider) a small part of the world, while English is used as a lingua franca all over the world.

Second, there are many varieties of English. Differences between these varieties are now not too many and not too huge, so that's not a problem now. If it weren't for globalization, these varieties could evolve independently (as Latin-based languages did), but, since we live in a global world, will it be possible?
I think one "threat" may come from those countries (by the way, how many there are?) where English has been adopted as their official language, because people there are likely to mix English with their native languages, originating a new "dialect" and increasing the fragmentation we can now observe. However, will those forms of English ever be considered a variety like, say, BrE or AmE? Hmm...

PS: Thanks for the link, Barb, I enjoyed reading it. Emotion: smile
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I liked the part that shows how English is being used regionally.

I think the comparison between the Latin languages that evolved into seperate "species" because they were (more or less) isolated from each other is an interesting comparison to today's global communications - it would be like keeping the species in the same ecosystem, so they didn't evolve in different directions after all.
Darn it, I don't seem to have an access to that site from my work PC. Emotion: sad

Anyway, I think people need a common language in order to communicate with each other all over the world. English is the easiest one nowadays, and I think, till it remains like that, it will be in use.

By the way, Tanit, I knew a Chinese once, and he told me Chinese was not so difficult as it might seem at first sight. Emotion: wink It's just hieroglyphs that are tough, but the language itself is not.
Hi GG
We don't know how long life will go on in its present forms on Earth and what will be the lingua franca in, say, 5,000 years. Mankind may perish and a new man may evolve in circumstances remarkably different from what we have now. He may or may not speak a language known to us today. Earth will become too hot for life as we now know it in 900 million years. All surface water will evaporate. I would be extremely surprised if English retained its position until all life ends on our planet.
Cheers
CB
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Cool article Barb! Emotion: wink
RuslanaBy the way, Tanit, I knew a Chinese once, and he told me Chinese was not so difficult as it might seem at first sight.
Yeah right, Lana, LOL! A Chinesesaid so! Did you ever find an American who started learning Chinese after high school and said... "Oh, yeah, it's so simple!" Pretty much impossible! Emotion: stick out tongue
Seriously, my opinion is that English is already an international language and the most important one for global communication, and I don't think anything is going to change soon. Because I know tons of Chinese people who are learning English, are improving, use it for work, study it in school because it's mandatory... How many Americans do the same, learning Chinese? And Europeans? And if you want to be a famous singer or band, are you going to sing in English or... another language? Chinese? Nope, everyone is singing in English, even if it's not their native language.
Chinese seems the only language that is likely to become very important, as of now, but there are so many difficulties in learning it that it seems almost impossible that all the world will try to learn Chinese well, and become fluent, and making it the most important and used global language for international communications.
What I think is likely to happen is that English will be spoken throughout the world, also as a second language, and there will be lots of dialects: Chinglish, Arabenglish, Spanish-English... And not all of them will be mutually intelligible. But hopefully there will be a couple of dialects that will be the mainstream ones, used in international communications, etc. Now the most important dialects are American English and British English... One day maybe Chinese-English will be the most influential and important one, who knows?