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Old HWG
(Posted as herewego)
Posts: 32/580
(07-Nov-2003 at 18:32)


The strength of the English Language

(please forgive spelling errors... discussion is about the English language... I'm just not the best at using it... hehehehe)

I'm curious... Being a native language user of English it has come to my attention that there is a definite bias in the world towards using this language... I'm not sure if it is the most used "native" language within the world (quick calculation within my head makes me think that Mandarin Chinese... due to the population, might be)... but it is the "international" language of choice since it's so globaly spread.

This is what get's me....

When within a native English speaking country... there seems to be a certain amount of irritation towards those that live there (visit there) that don't always use that language (English) within social conditions (I'm speaking mostly as someone from the U.K. as this is from personal experience... not all people get irritated by any means, so... please comment to this constructivly).

However, when native English speakers (in general) visit a country that is not.... it is almost taken as a given that someone will be there to help as a translator.... and if not... Shouting should do the job (I've seen this happen so often.. and recently where I work... in China).

(I accept and realize that alot of people do indeed study langauges for what ever reason... but I'm creating this thread in relation to those that travel and do not make the effort)

Can anyone give me a decent (well thought out answer) to why this is?




Two reasons contributed (in my mind) to this....

1. I can't remember the direct passage... but, within the bible there is mention to "mans" intention to create "1" language.

2. This is a small point... noticed the forums rules on demanding that the English language is used within the forum.

SF, I love you I do!
Everytime someone gets warned, Starfriend cuddles a kitten. -V-
There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home: AASQGASA
#1  
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(Posted as Jiema OA)
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(07-Nov-2003 at 18:48)


I can only speak on point two: If you were to poll, I'm pretty sure you'd find the majority of internet users speak English as a first language, and an vastly overwhelming majority of users speak English as a second language. In fact, it would be interesting to see the percent of users who don't speak English.

As far as English as a powerful, invasive language, America speaks English. Before America was a superpower, the British Empire spoke English. When Rome was alive and kicking, people spoke Latin. It kind of follows the money and economic power.
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Old HWG
(Posted as herewego)
Posts: 33/580
(07-Nov-2003 at 19:23)


"and an vastly overwhelming majority of users speak English as a second language. In fact, it would be interesting to see the percent of users who don't speak English."

I realize the use of English as a second langauge... I think that was covered in the first post... perhaps it wasn't clear and for that I apologize. However... I wasn't strictly creating this thread on internet usage.

The notion of "following money and power" is a good point though.

Any other suggestions?

SF, I love you I do!
Everytime someone gets warned, Starfriend cuddles a kitten. -V-
There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home: AASQGASA
#3  
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(07-Nov-2003 at 19:30)
There is this story from an airport, where a pilot was speaking to the tower.
"This is a German airport, and I'm a German pilot, why do we have to speak English?"
Heard through the radio, from an unknown sender with a pronounced Brittish accent:
"Because we won the bloody war!"
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(07-Nov-2003 at 19:40)
smile

Interesting enought that you bring this up because it is my assumption that a few of th active players in my kingdom that don't respond to the forums are uncomfortable speaking in English.

I'm from the states and was born in the states and am amazed by the arogance (including myself) of the people who are only fluent in one English. I'm trying to learn spanish, have french orgins and my parents speak Cajun-French. (The French would laugh at this dialect) Although, Cajun French is a dying language
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(Posted as illuvata)
Posts: 1853/2744
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(07-Nov-2003 at 20:08)
Re: The strength of the English Language

Quote:
(Originally posted by herewego)

However, when native English speakers (in general) visit a country (...) Shouting should do the job (I've seen this happen so often.. and recently where I work... in China).
i think this is common to all tourists. i have seen quite a few non english people think that as long as they speak slow and loud, they should be understood

Quote:
2. This is a small point... noticed the forums rules on demanding that the English language is used within the forum.
that is more so the mods can enforce the other rules. also, there are many threads on this rule, so please dont drag this thread offtopic discussing this rule (as some people inevitably will try to)
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(Posted as DuctTape)
Posts: 152/412
(07-Nov-2003 at 22:59)


Quote:
(Originally posted by illuvata)

i think this is common to all tourists. i have seen quite a few non english people think that as long as they speak slow and loud, they should be understood


that is more so the mods can enforce the other rules. also, there are many threads on this rule, so please dont drag this thread offtopic discussing this rule (as some people inevitably will try to)
I think it derives from the money, power, imperialism argument. As pointed out, English is the most widespread language, primarily due to British Imperialism (as the British boasted at the height of Britain's empire, "The sun never sets on the British Empire"). Therefore, English was well on its way to becoming the predominant "international" language at the beginning of the 20th century.

In addition, also because of European imperialism, many students from countries around the world have gone to schools in English speaking countries to further their education. For example, many leaders from around the world, especially those from former British colonies, went to Oxford or other English schools to study. Increasingly, students from all around the world are comming to American schools to study as well. Thus, as these educated individuals frequently become very successful, English has emerged as a common language of the social elite.

Therefore, from these and many other factors, English has become the dominant international language. For example, it is one of the two official languages of the Olympics. Therefore, people in English speaking countries do not think it necessary to study another language. The recognition of English as the dominant world language and the unimportance of other languages in English speaking societies may lead to the generalized arrogance described by herewego. On the other hand, people in non-English speaking countries, see English as an important subject to learn in school. Therefore, their schools teach them at a very early age that multilingualism is good, and therefore, they are generally more open to other languages than native English speakers.

Sapere Aude!
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(Posted as Lord Drizzt)
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(07-Nov-2003 at 23:29)


I speak both fluent English and Mandarin Chinese.

Maybe a whole ton of people would be able to speak chinese, but I assure you, not a whole lot of people can write as well as they talk.

I doubt that the population of the world that can speak chinese is greater than the population that can speak english, though.

s o u l f i r e
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(08-Nov-2003 at 00:10)


I agree on the "imperlism" point, but with that also comes the cultural "imperlism", if you will. I'm an American, and I recently was on an exchange to Japan. When I was there, I saw McDonolds, Starbucks, adds for American pop music, Coca-Cola signs, etc. American international business also spread English through their very exhistance.

Also, I would like to refute the point that "english speakers are unwilling to learn a seccond language". Frankly, while I don't enjoy my Spanish class (bad teacher), I have in the past, and I found studing Japanese to be lots of fun. Many of my friends are bi-lingual, or taking a laguage class. The key to learning languges is imersion, and the problem is most schools, (definitly American schools) can't immerse the student in a language.

-KublaKahn

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A statly pleasure dome decree...
"
By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
#9  
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(08-Nov-2003 at 00:39)


well in fact english is strong within the net and in big city, where people have to speak english, because they have to. English, even if you donmt like it, is the buisness language. but you would be surprised by the incredible number of person around me that dont speak english,even if you are surrounded by english

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Honorary Member
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(08-Nov-2003 at 00:42)


because the simple british attitude (yes that includes much of wales and scottland) is simple if you don't like it then oh well.

I have found the only place as useless as us at foireign langueages is the french, i go there a lot and you would expect them to know englsh but nope half of them don't understand the simple stuff.

I know very limited german and french and i blame the way languages were taught at school for that

however the thing is, it is good. if this forum used a veriety of languages there would be a problem, if in tourist countries there was no lauguage that many could understadn then you would have probelms.

basicly engisl provides a basis for conversation, it like french used tgo be the language of politics and diplomacy just now its english, no point of having a discussion in these forums if we cannoty understand one another

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#11  
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(08-Nov-2003 at 01:14)


and another thing is that english is a language that is very easy to learn. so it's probalby why a lot of person know their own language plus english.

There's nothing like the sound of hundreds of voices screaming in unison - Kefka

Attention Blisk. I am Cryptosporidium of the Planet Furon. This planet is now a territory of the Furon Empire. And your asses belong to me. - Crypto-138
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(Posted as Jean Seb)
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(08-Nov-2003 at 01:22)


Not than its so easy to learn. It's simply than most of us are so exposed to it than we end up learning it anyway. If spanish had the same kind of exposition, it would be as "easy" to learn.

For instance, I learned most of my english by playing a game named Xenogears (What a game!) and by chatting on the net

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - American Declaration of Independance, July 4th, 1776
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(08-Nov-2003 at 01:30)


Re: The strength of the English Language

Quote:
(Originally posted by herewego)
2. This is a small point... noticed the forums rules on demanding that the English language is used within the forum.
I suspect this is a problem of not being able to see the forest for the trees ;)

You may or may not have noticed that Utopia is an english game, and this is a Utopia fan-site :) I think therein, lies your answer.

If you would instead like to discuss the prevalence of english as a language (which you all seem to be doing quite happily anyway ;) go ahead :)

[Have also heard that English is a difficult language to learn, but I'm not in a position to judge :/ ]

Last edited by GryFalcon, 08-Nov-2003 at 01:32.
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(Posted as Belnick HaJ)
Posts: 1157/1695
(08-Nov-2003 at 02:24)


hmm yea, heard English is now the most spoken language in the world and second were mandarin, can't rem the rest I saw the top 10 list in Illustrated Science

*goes to look up the magazine*

Within darkness comes enlightenment.
There is no god, there is no Devil, there is no heaven or Hell
STYX HaJ challenged Lord Hawk - He ran off

Last edited by Belnick the God, 08-Nov-2003 at 02:27.
#15  
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(09-Nov-2003 at 05:36)


Quote:
(Originally posted by cathou79)

and another thing is that english is a language that is very easy to learn. so it's probalby why a lot of person know their own language plus english.
English is actually fairly tough to learn, it is a real bastard of a language (I use that in the literal sense). It draws words from everywhere. It has tons of words derived from French/Latin, tons of German words and apparently the closest related language is Swedish (although even that doesn't mean much due to all the French influence). It also has some words left over from before the Swedes, Germans, French etc. all invaded.

The verbs are all irregular (there is no one set of rules on how they should be conjugated), slang on the streets that you hear all the time changes frequently and would be very hard to keep up with when you are trying to learn the basics in a classroom setting.

Of course Mandarin Chinese with its thousands of symbols is no picnic either.

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(Posted as Lord Drizzt)
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(09-Nov-2003 at 05:39)


English is a much tougher language than Chinese, I can safely tell you that.

s o u l f i r e
#17  
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(Posted as DuctTape)
Posts: 153/412
(09-Nov-2003 at 06:20)


Quote:
(Originally posted by Agaratar) slang on the streets that you hear all the time changes frequently and would be very hard to keep up with when you are trying to learn the basics in a classroom setting.
Isn't this true of any language that isn't dead (i.e. latin)?

Sapere Aude!
#18  
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(Posted as Jean Seb)
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(09-Nov-2003 at 06:37)


For a french speaker, english* is actually relatively* easy to learn. 1,000+ words are the same or almost the same in both languages* and english grammar* is less complicated* than french one.

* = words that are almost the same in english \ french ( I havent dont an effort * to put similar* words in this post*)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - American Declaration of Independance, July 4th, 1776
#19  
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Old HWG
(Posted as herewego)
Posts: 36/580
(09-Nov-2003 at 07:17)


It's interesting to see Lord Drizzt state: "English is a much tougher language than Chinese, I can safely tell you that."

Would be interesting to know which language you learnt first?

This is as they are very different from each other.... Madarin is a language based on tones (which is a real pain in the arse)... as for written chinese... that speaks for itself (I'd of hated to try and learn this language when Pin Yin (the Roman phonetic version) was not in place.

SF, I love you I do!
Everytime someone gets warned, Starfriend cuddles a kitten. -V-
There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home: AASQGASA
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