Can English Remain the ‘World’s Favorite Language’?
Millions of people around the world speak English, but computer translation technology, the proliferation of mixed languages, threatens its status.
Which country has the most English speakers or people learning to speak English?
The answer is China.
A study published by Cambridge University Press shows that at least 350 million people have some knowledge of English, while at least 100 million people in India are aware of the language.
China probably has more people who speak English as a second language than there are Americans who speak it as a first language.
But how can English qualify as ‘the world’s favorite language’ now?
According to World Economic Forum estimates, one and a half billion people around the world speak English, but only about 400 million people speak English as their mother tongue.
Of course there is more than one English language in the world, even in England.
For example, even in the historic city of Port smith, the regional dialect ‘Pompeii’ is more popular than American and modern English.
English is the most favorite language in the world. When people fail to communicate in their native language, most people try to communicate or communicate in English.
For example, a Chinese-speaking person in conversation with a French-speaking person will not speak Chinese and there is a strong possibility that they will speak in English.
This may have been true five years ago, but not now. Thanks to advances in computer translation and voice recognition technology, they can speak and hear their own language. Machine translation is today’s reality.
So are the days of the English language as the global language of the world numbered? Or say the age of computers has arrived and they are winning.
You can now read any text whether it is in English or any other language with a few clicks on your computer tablet in any language you like.
So why learn English when computers can now do all the hard work for you.
Currently, if you want to do business internationally, play modern video games or listen to popular music, and you don’t speak English, you will have a hard time, but things are changing fast.
Wonkyum Lee, a South Korean computer scientist at Stanford University in California, is helping to develop translation and voice recognition technology that will be so good that you’ll know when you call a customer service helpline. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking to a human or a computer.
Christopher Manning, professor of machine learning, linguistics and computer science at the same institution, insists that there is no reason why computer translation technologies cannot outperform human translators in the near future.
English is not the only language facing this challenge as many people speak it as a second or third language. ‘High Bird’ varieties of it are spreading, which mix Standard English with distinct languages. Only in India, you can find Hinglish (Hindi English), Banglish (Bengali English) and Tunglish (Tamil English).
Many Hispanic Americans in the United States with roots in Central and South America speak Spanglish, a combination of Spanish and English alphabets.
Language has always been a means of communication. It is also an expression of identity, it tells us about who the person is. Josiah Los Aldrete, a San Francisco poet who writes in Spanglish, calls it “the language of resistance.”
The dominance of English has been owed to being the language of the world’s two most powerful nations, the United States and the United Kingdom, but now the English language is facing a challenge, especially due to the rise of China as an economic superpower.
If you are from sub-Saharan Africa and are eager to find work, instead of learning English at school level and hoping to get a job in the US or UK, you should learn Mandarin (Chinese) and work in China. It would be better to find a job.
Learning Chinese is also becoming very popular in America. According to reports, in 2015, the number of students learning this language doubled in two years, while the number of students learning the language in colleges increased by 50% compared to the previous decade.
All secondary schools in Uganda are taught in English while some parents teach their children English as a first language. In many parts of the world, the English language is still considered a guarantee of success.
So is the future of English in danger? I do not understand.
Although the global dominance of the English language may decline in the coming decades, like all other languages, English is constantly changing and adapting to new needs. Until recently, text and friends were common nouns. Now these have also taken the status of functions.
Computer translation technology, the spread of mixed languages, the growth of China are all real challenges, but I consider myself extremely lucky to have been born in a country where I learned the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton and Dickens. Can speak and enjoy it even though what I call English is very different from the language of all of them.