<<wanting to kill oneself, so to speak.>>
I'd feel like doing just that if I had to learn all those characters in the Chinese language...maybe not, that would be wimping out.....I'd give it a whack if they adopted the Roman alphabet...... is that wimping out, too? Hey, how would even even begin to learn Chinese? Where would you start? Right now I want a black coffee....how would I say that in Chinese? My PC won't type in Chinese....hey good excuse to go to China and buy one.
Hey, I just discovered they're called kanji! Thanks, Someone! :-)
It's nice to read your messages but I can't agree with you guys when it comes to your future predictions. We are so cute trying to learn English and German and other foreign languages just for fun of it or due to our desire to make a career, but most people of the world like to be ignorant, it's their way of thinking and living, and I can't blame them. Who am I to teach them how to live? Do you really believe that every single person in the world will be willing to take part in the globalization process? There will always be regions where people just don't want to know anything about English and Chinese and Spanish or any other foreign language. Moreover, considering the present situation, I wouldn't be surprised if someday people are ready to kill any person who speak a language which is foreign in the particular region.
You said : "I think you can expect to see one language worldwide at about the same time you'll see one government and one religion. "
I don't think there will be 1 government and 1 religion, because many people are not interested about religion. I am in that case and i don't see why someone could impose to me any religion. This is not a really democratic way of politic. Only 1 language is impossible too, for some other reasons, the 1st is : it's not because you learn a language at school, you speak the same with your family. To speak only one common language, there must be a strong authority, if it is USA for the moment, they won't be there for ever (i am not alking about politic just about humanity evolution).
Advances in communication make it entirely possible that a single world language will come to exist. The only reason different languages exist in the first place is that people are isolated from each other for long periods and to great degrees; but if you remove the isolation with advanced communications technology, there is a great tendency for individual languages to disappear as everyone shifts back to a single common language. Of course, the process can take centuries.
There's no guarantee that this world language will be English (or any descendant thereof), as the dominant language tends to depend on social, economic, and cultural factors, which change over time. But it's quite plausible and possible that _some_ language will become the world language at some point in the (distant) future. Right now, English looks like a likely candidate.
I'm pretty sure that, whatever language it might be, it won't be Esperanto or one of those artificial languages. The "winning" language will be one that has a strong culture to support it. That's why Latin was once the "world" language, followed by French, and now English. English has a much better chance than its predecessors because of technological advances.
I haven't stretched my imagination so far as centuries, but in the nearer future I don't think there will be a single dominant language in the world, even if English IS the most widespread first and second language nowadays. I can much more imagine a marketplace (so to speak) of languages, where English is just a little more likely candidate to be learnt than, say, German, Russian or Chinese, regardless of the absolute number of speakers who use a language. And advances in communication do not necessarily lead to uniformisation - there are many languages that have gained more attention by the fact that homepages are being written in them (like Basque, Irish Gaelic or Lithuanian, to mention a few European ones).
So what I expect is not one single language, but parallel communities of speakers with various native languages who may use one common language in one (real or virtual) community and a different one in another - therefore you may encounter one of your European friends in an English Yahoo group on a particular American movie and later in a German group of Schumacher fans...
The picture may be different depending on whether we are looking at it from America or Europe, but I think that in multicultural areas people will keep on being motivated to learn some other languages in that area besides striving to learn a common language which they can use practically everywhere. And in Europe at least, there are countries where people are way too little proficient in English, so you do have to learn their language if you want to get on. Of course we will have to live long enough to see what will actually happen - I may meet you in the distant future speaking in the same English accent as you do, due to the loss of all our teeth, to report that your predictions were right, pal: English has just been declared the first official language in Hungary. :-) I would maybe do that with an uneasy feeling deep within, yet succumbing to the compelling power of the inevitable... I hope you appreciate a little irony, though. :-)