Towards a Linguistic Singularity

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“Speak English! You want to make money, have an education, right?”

Too often today, children and adults alike are discouraged from speaking their native languages in favor of English, because speaking English will supposedly bring economic productivity. But has the world become so materialistic that prosperity is the only thing that matters? It seems that culture has taken a back seat. In the interest of prosperity, languages around the world are beginning to slowly disappear and lose salience in cultures that once revered them.

This shift in attitude is a result of cultural assimilation, something history is all too familiar with. Powerful countries commandeer, through various indirect channels, the use of their own language to influence weaker states. The prevalence of English in world affairs today has, in a sense, forced non-English speaking countries to learn it in order to function in the world economy. This change in linguistic preferences has led cultures to debase the value of their own languages to the extent that they increasingly resemble those of English speaking economic powers, most notably the United Kingdom and United States. It becomes more difficult to conceive of any positive implications of increased English usage, other than assimilation into a more globalized world.

 

Do we want a linguistic singularity?

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