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Today's Big Idea: Linguistic imperialism

The Big Idea for Saturday, September 22, 2012

One-fourth of the world's population can communicate in English with some level of proficiency. English has also emerged as the dominant language of academics. It is the dominant language of the Internet. It is indeed the dominant language of the knowledge economy. If you are an educated person in the 21st century, you speak English.

In other words, English plays the same functional role that Latin once did before it became essentially a dead language.

So what is the outlook for English as the globally dominant language? We asked the Princeton University language expert and translator David Bellos that question in a recent interview.

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Will English Go the Way of Latin and Sanskrit?
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 How Many Words Do We Have For Coffee?
    David Bellos Experts' Corner
  3. 3 How Children Learn Language
    Steven Pinker
  4. 4 The Decline of the West?
    Niall Ferguson
 

Today's Big Idea: Linguisti...

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