[lg policy] The American moment is waning. Will English pull us through?

Dennis Baron debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU
Wed Jun 10 23:26:31 UTC 2009


There's a new post on the Web of Language:

The American moment is waning. Will English pull us through?

The American economy is shrinking. The trade deficit is growing. U.S.  
military intervention is ineffective. Immigration is out of control.  
Not to worry, though, English will pull us through.

At least that’s what Ali Wynne, a junior fellow at the Carnegie  
Endowment for International Peace, argues on the website of Foreign  
Policy. Wyne reassures anyone worried that the American moment is  
waning, “the growing influence of English will ensure that the United  
States doesn’t fade into the sunset anytime soon.”

According to Wyne, English has just added its millionth word, giving  
it a vocabulary twice as large as any other language. Also: there are  
more nonnative than native speakers of the language; everything  
important in journalism and in science is published in English; there  
are 650 million speakers of English in China and India alone; it’s the  
foreign language of choice around the world, even in France; and the  
number of languages in the world will decline precipitously from  
today’s count of 7,000, give or take, to a couple of hundred by 2100.

Wyne then points to the once-global languages Latin and French to  
conclude, “great powers and global lingua francas tend to go together.”

Find out why everything Wyne says is wrong. Read the post on the Web  
of Language:    http://www.illinois.edu/goto/weboflanguage

____________________
Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

http://www.illinois.edu/goto/debaron

read the Web of Language:
http://www.illinois.edu/goto/weboflanguage








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