Thursday, 23 February 2012

BBC: Is English or Mandarin the language of the future




eon said...

That Madarin typewriter keyboard pretty much sums it up. Any language that is too complex to print rapidly and efficiently, and/or has a high probability of misinterpretation, will not work in a highly technical environment.

But I disagree slightly with the gentleman who claims that Hollywood will keep English alive more than anything else. Internationally-marketed Hollywood films have always been dubbed or otherwise translated into local languages, going back to the placards in the silents. (To say nothing of the 1931 Spanish-language version of "Dracula" at Universal, which is a better adaptation of Stoker's novel than the Lugosi version.)

The real reason is civil aviation. English has been the lingua franca of the airways for the last century, and it isn't going to change anytime soon. Not in a situation where confusion or misunderstanding can have catastrophic consequences. (Tenerife', Canary Islands, 1975 comes to mind.)



David said...

More than that, English is incredibly easy to learn. Anyone of average intelligence can carry on an intelligible conversation in English in a week with hard study. From my own experience, I spent some time in Hong Kong as a boy and despite my best efforts I never did get past a few phrases that the locals found unintentionally hilarious.

Ironmistress said...

English is not easy to learn - the ortography differs radically from pronunciation. In this respect German and Japanese are far easier. English is easy to get the grip but very difficult to master.

In my case, Japanese has been by far the easiest foreign language for me to learn, as its morphology and grammar resemble Finnish more than the Germanic languages. The only real difficulty has been the strange insects which they call kanji.