A new series where I jot down quick thoughts because I wrote a giant post yesterday and don’t have the time to do another one today.
- There’s the whole “scare” about “over half the population being Spanish-speaking” or whatever, but I think it ignores that a) the language of the one percent is still English and is likely to remain that way and so if you want to become part of the one percent you’d better speak English and b) as far as I know other countries are still mandating their students learn English.
- I did that thing where I remembered something I usually don’t think about, namely that Europe is really rather tiny compared to America, and so probably a large part of why they learn so many languages over there is because their neighbors four hours away speak something entirely different from them. In America, unless you’re along the border with Mexico, four hours away people will still speak English. We’d be better off trying to learn each others’ dialects.
- Obviously that doesn’t work as well in a global economy, but think about the languages you had to learn in America. Latin, if you were a boy, but that was over by the twentieth century; French, if you wanted to be cultured or a diplomat. And think too about how so many immigrants quashed their native language in an attempt to assimilate and/or show their pride in their new country. Then English becomes the new language of diplomacy and if everyone speaks it, well, it allows for laziness in foreign-language-learning.
- We’re also “lucky” that of the two countries with the largest concentration of people, one of them was colonized by the Brits and so the population was more or less forced to learn English. That’s handy! /sob
- Part of me really wishes I had seriously studied linguistics in college, or that I had at least been aware enough of it to take a few more classes on it. A greater part of me wishes classes didn’t cost so much money.