Saturday, February 2, 2013

Brian Barker's Good Response to English Preachers

Brian Barker

English is certainly not the World's lingua franca.
I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.
The promulgation of English as Europe’s “lingua franca” is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!
Impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment, and historically how Latin was used. That solution did not work either :(
Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages.
The link below is probably the best advert for Esperanto, as a lingua franca, I have ever seen :

Neil's addendum:

I live in New York City. Look around: Half of one million hispanics can not speak English.  Most of them can not write English beyond the level of a third-grader.  Half a million Asian immigrants live in New York and perhaps ten percent will complete a doctorate using English....but half of the doctoral students (in Math and Science) will not speak fluently in English. Hundreds of thousands of Asians working in restaurants and grocery stories DO NOT SPEAK second-grade level English.  English lovers and major language speakers preach your delusion around the world: let Africa remain 50% illiterate in the main former colonial languages: English, French and Portuguese.

We have part of the solution to 2 major problems: Illiteracy and Acquiring a Second Language towards Bilingualism.  ESPERANTO IS ONE GREAT ANSWER.

The famed Umberto Eco said, not long ago, in New York City:
Which means, even in this country where it seems that English is the vehicular universal language, but different people at every corner of New York City speak a different tongue, to be tentatively polyglots is the only chance for mutual understanding.
Once a young American met Roman Jakobson who was starting his teaching in this country and said to him: "Professor, I rushed here to learn from you, but your classes are given in Russian, and I do not understand it." Jakobson (who was told to speak Russian in forty languages) answered: "Try!"
I thank you for having generously tried, this evening, to understand my pidgin English as it were your own perfect language.  

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