Multilingualism: Good or Bad?

Clark   Sunday, August 10, 2003, 22:09 GMT
Do you think that the European community would benefit from having one language for business, commerce, university, etc? What about the world; would the global community be better off with one official language for business, commerce, university, etc?

Some people claim that multilingualism is a bad thing because it seperates people. For example, people might think that "I speak this language, therfore I cannot associate with you because you speak that language." These people may not think that any language is inferior, but it might be a social aspect.

On the other hand, some people think that multilingualism is a good thing because people are essentially forced to learn about other cultures, languages, etc. And this could benefit the world community because people would better understand that there is more than one way to do something (because there is more than one culture in the world).
Esperanto   Monday, August 11, 2003, 03:28 GMT
They have already tried that with Esperanto (don't know if this is the right way to spell in English). I think the experience didn't turn out right because a language can't survive without a culture linked to it. To have an only language would signify that all the people consider themselves as world citizens, humans rather than Brazilian, American, French, Japanese. The humanity isn't prepared for it
Clark   Monday, August 11, 2003, 04:47 GMT
What did they already try with Esperanto?
javier   Monday, August 11, 2003, 09:04 GMT
"Some people claim that multilingualism is a bad thing because it seperates people"

in Ulster the people are already separated and they speak the same language. I've seen this argument in other sites and it seems to me stupid
Simon   Monday, August 11, 2003, 09:58 GMT
A common language is not always a source of unity.
mike   Monday, August 11, 2003, 11:21 GMT
But it might help create unity.
to javier   Monday, August 11, 2003, 13:07 GMT
'it seems stupid to me':not sure why this sounds better but it does
..   Monday, August 11, 2003, 13:59 GMT
Language unity would lead to a loss in variation, the formation of a stagnant bland culture and only aid governments and corporations in delivering propoganda to the ultimate mass.
Simon   Monday, August 11, 2003, 14:34 GMT
In Tanzania (I think) they picked Swahili as the national language because it was not the language of any of the tribes and would not be seen to favour one group over another.
Jay   Monday, August 11, 2003, 17:02 GMT

In a way, they already do: English.
Should this be declared an "official" language or something similar?
In my opinion, no, for many reasons too numerous to get into here. But I also put a lot of value in linguistic diversity.
I think that working with people who speak many languages is a great way to teach about other cultures and to get people to learn to work together. Give a little, get a little, etc.
Corey Graham   Monday, August 11, 2003, 18:30 GMT
Esperanto was made illegal by many european superpowers in the late 20's and early thirties. In many parts of europe it was considered treason to speak the langauge and death was an option for punishment. Hitler even went as far as to set up a spy squad specifically to kill anyone speaking the langauge.

I don't think its a cultural aspect, I think people are just too stupid.
.   Monday, August 11, 2003, 20:48 GMT
Graham back again after a long vacation!
Clark   Wednesday, August 13, 2003, 19:50 GMT
Multilingualism is a good thing, but I think that if there are too many languages, there will be a problem with communication in a lot of places. So if there were only a certain number of languages that were the "main languages" in the world (like Arabic, English, Russian, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Hindi, Spanish, Bengali and German) then there would stil be multilingualism, but it would be kept in perspective. Trying to promote languages that have only 1,000 speakers and fighting for thise languages is useless because the languages will only get recognition in only two or three countries. So focus on languages that are important in the world-community.
Da Frogg   Thursday, August 14, 2003, 08:52 GMT
I can't totally agree with you. Giving up with languages is also giving up with the culture, the civilization they represent and support.
For example, Cornish has almost disappeared and it really upsets me (I'm sorry for all the languages that disappear every year but some seem more important to me, it's a subjective and cultural point of view, of course).

But I suppose what you meant wasn't getting rid of these "rare" languages but focusing first on the widespread ones in order to ameliorate communication all around the world. And that is perfectly true.
But I think that the people that like learning languages should try to learn a rare one (the one that is linked to their past, their history, their family, for example) in order to preserve the greatest number of cultures and civilizations. Only if they want to, of course ;o)
Bayou Rover   Thursday, August 14, 2003, 09:12 GMT
There are many beautiful languages; I believe all languages are beautiful. However, the strong survives.