The international situation brings intrigue in the discussion of this fruitful theme since the recent forecasts were based on fundamentally different assumptions. For example, some experts ensure that by 2015 English in the American version will become international on a planetary scale, finally replacing rival languages. However, the influence of culture has always been based on economic and military power, and the next empire has obvious problems with this for years. Just one fact: according to official statistics of the United Nations, the first economy of the world in terms of purchasing power parity since the end of 2014 is China.
Of course, the potentially possible development of events is by no means guaranteed, but the obvious probability of such a result of the influence of the emerging trends compels to take it into account. Here are some of the things of this kind:
- The narrowing of the sphere of influence of English of all varieties;
- The final fixation of exactly American English in the status the international tongue;
- An increase in the number of states where English will become the official language;
- The deepening of differences between the regional dialects of English;
- Simplification of the tongue in regional dialects will be accepted as a general;
- Acquiring the status of the only language of international communication;
- Loss of leading positions in some industries.
And now let us talk in more detail about each point. At the moment, American is the most famous of the dialects of English, but there are others – for example, Canadian, Indian. The emergence of regional blocs in different parts of the world is accompanied by an expansion of the scope of application of rival tongues – first of all, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. As a consequence, the general sphere of English is narrowing and the presence of dialects does not contribute to the unification of English-speaking people. On the contrary, local differences are gradually fixed at the level of officially adopted norms. A vivid example is the peculiarities of the Indian version of the English language.
But according to the UN charter, 6 languages have the status of the tongue of international communication and English formally is only one among equals. And it is without specifying a variety. The current circumstances contributed to the actual formation of the leadership of the American version, mainly in the sphere of diplomacy. The consequences of the beginning of the decline have not taken long, but matters have not come to degradation yet. Nevertheless, the opportunities for the development of all other dialects have long been limited – here it is, the victim of success.
Local Realities and Features
The development of many African countries, formerly colonies, made mass education of foreign languages relevant as a means of international communication together with the expansion of economic ties. This is English, starting with the list of subjects at the school. It is already used as a universal one, and it can become one of the official state tongues in the future. There is a similar picture in Latin America, but Spanish is historically much more widespread there, as in the southern part of the US itself, so there is a reverse process, strongly influenced by demography.
Concerning the accumulation of dialect differences with the living language of the metropolis, and even more so with literary English, one might not delve into the enumeration of the characteristic trifles, but pay attention to the weighty political factor: the influence of Great Britain is incomparable to the American one, and it is problematic to support and spread culture in remote regions without appropriate opportunities.
In fact, it is not necessary for almost anyone: the native speakers’ arm is not long enough and they have a lot of other problems, the official patron has the financial system bulging at the seams, and rivals are close behind, and the local people try to preserve their own culture.
Transformation and Degeneration
The English language was a victim of US success by the end of the last century, just the outlines of the future picture have clearly manifested itself for the past few years. Tongues do not disappear instantly, but many are adopted and transformed by completely foreign people, as historical experience shows. For example, Latin dominated in Europe a thousand years ago, and now who knows it except for doctors?
Now there are more than 7 billion people on the planet, about 3 billion of them speak English. And although it is very likely that this number will decrease in the near future, it is practically convenient to study only one additional tongue for contacts with foreigners.
English clearly aspire to this role, but there is a catch in the areas of its relevance. For example, this is an ideal option for a guide – you can explain anything to any tourist, if all the children of the world study at school their native language and the universal one – English.
But for doing business abroad it is much more important to take into account local specifics, and it is always regional, i.e. it is desirable to know local dialects. Even for a large company, the number of English speakers will prevail only in the central office, and it will remain relevant only for employees in certain positions in local offices of other countries.
The level of salaries in different countries, the payment of travel allowances, the services of translators and notaries – all this affects competitiveness, forcing us to focus not on universality, but on specialization. And the tongue becomes one of the first victims of this approach. It just so happened that in our world, when it became truly global, English became the leader.
Learning a tongue at a school or university is not really using it in everyday life yet. Following the specialization of national economies by industry, education reforms inevitably go after, which leads to a narrowing of the role of the international language sooner or later. Especially since it is not formally the single one.