https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

One language on the planet?

I am interested to know your opinion on the pros and cons of having just one language on the planet. If you feel like it's the topic worth discussing, please upvote this post.


  • My opinion

I think it will certainly remove the fun out of language learning, but having just one language could be quite useful. Also, when you learn foreign language and speak it with natives, there is a special bonding that happens between you and them. So, it is pretty debatable what is better.

September 3, 2019

122 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carbsrule

I would like for there to be one second language on the planet; i.e. that everybody learns in addition to their mother tongue, national language, etc. That is the idea behind constructed IALs including Esperanto.


Manĝu terpomojn kaj feliĉiĝu!

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannibal-Barkas

now that's an idea I could subscribe to

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bicolingo

It makes so much sense, for so many reasons.

Nowadays, anyone who thinks it's a good idea can just act on it. We don't have to wait for governments to agree. We don't have to rely on schools and universities to make it part of their official curriculum. With global internet access, people can take matters into their own hands and just do it. It would solve the problems of international communication within a generation.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

And which language does "everyone" choose? English? Mandarin? Spanish? Hungarian?? What language is used in official documents and laws? What language(s) may be used in courts?

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bicolingo

Carbsrule was talking about Esperanto as a universal second language, and that's what I was responding to.

If everyone, of their own volition, learned some Esperanto for international communication, it would be a no-brainer to use it for mutual understanding across language barriers, first at the interpersonal level, and then maybe later at an official level.

Governments would never agree to impose this, and I would not want them to. I was talking about it happening organically as a bottom-up process.

No one's native language would be dominant, and no one's native language would be relegated to a second class citizen.

(I didn't down-vote you, BTW :-))

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bicolingo

@Judit294350 (Judith or Judi T?) - I'm all for normalising multi-lingualism and valuing cultural diversity. I'd hate to see all the richness and diversity of our cultural heritage lost in a bland, homogenous global melting pot.

But in terms of solving the problems of international communication, that approach has its limitations too.

With an incredible investment of time and energy, I might be able to speak French, Russian and Italian very fluently... but what do I do when the Chinese or Brazilian person walks into the room?

No amount of multilingualism will ever ensure that we have a common tongue. But having a common (second) language -- especially if it's one that only takes a couple of years to become proficient in -- doesn't stop us from being multilingual and valuing the depth and richness of distinct languages, along with their culture and literature.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bicolingo

No one has to learn it if they don't want to. I do want to, because I think it's a good idea.

I've only been learning it for 8 months but already I'm having conversations with people from Russia, China, Iran, the US, France, Poland, Finland, Mexico, Brazil and God knows where.

You're right that it's heavily Romance-centric. Most of the roots are Latin, but the grammar is simple, consistent and flexible. Once those roots are learned, you can do a lot with them.

I'm not going to try to sell it to you, but let me ask you this: IF you were to try to solve the problems of international communication in an increasingly globalised world, what would be a better solution?

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carbsrule

No amount of multilingualism will ever ensure that we have a common tongue (bicolingo)

Right. I can't very well use my Japanese or fledgling German in Iran.

But who actually wants to learn Esperanto? (Judit294350)

I do, as well as some 800,000 other people on this site.

I did it briefly at school and hated it. (Judit294350)

It seems rather irrational to hate a language, but sure, let's hear why.

And it is very Romance language-centric so not an "obvious" choice for the majority of the planet. (Judit294350)

7 of the 10 most spoken languages are Indo-European; 3 of them Romance and 1 of them Germanic with a massive quantity of Romance-derived vocabulary. In fact 8 of the top 10 have large doses of Romance-derived vocabulary (the exceptions are Chinese and possibly Arabic; I can't comment as I don't know enough about it). So actually from that perspective it's fairly reasonable, and the fact that it is easier to learn than any natural language means that it's even more reasonable.

Esperanto is great in theory, but it does not have much culture or literature (MissSpells)

I present to you exhibit A; hardcover, 740 pages: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5803344-concise-encyclopedia-of-the-original-literature-of-esperanto

and let's face it, Esperanto doesn't sound very pretty (MissSpells)

Entirely subjective opinion, YMMV.

You can take or leave Esperanto, that's up to you. But please, if you want to present arguments against it, make them rational.


Manĝu terpomojn kaj feliĉiĝu!

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sphinx1824

I like Esperanto. I think it's a fun language with an interesting and dedicated community, and I've invested quite a bit of time in studying it just because I want to. However, I don't think the vision of Esperanto as the world's second language is a realistic one. The speech community is flung far and wide. Most people haven't even heard of the language, and many of the people who have think it's an odd concept and dismiss it as a waste of time (you can see some of them in this comments section and other posts on the forum). As someone with a lot of free time, a steady internet connection, and a knack/desire to learn languages just for the sake of doing it, learning Esperanto is an interesting, worthwhile pursuit. However, there are lots of people who don't have any/all of those things, and those people would be pretty unlikely to want to learn Esperanto. And because the number of people who are monolingual in Esperanto is miniscule, if at all, there are no (or extremely, extremely few) people you could ONLY talk to in Esperanto. As far as I know, it isn't even a main language for people who haven't taught it to their children or immersed themselves (as much as is possible) in the community. So, for all of those reasons, I don't see the Esperanto "dream" of being the world's second language as becoming a reality.

All of that being said, though, I really do think it is a nice language with a nice community, and learning Esperanto can be really worthwhile for a number of other reasons!

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissSpells

I vote Hebrew, as a revived language it has already proven itself in that many people of many backgrounds can learn it and use it as a common language. Also, unlike Esperanto it has a long history. Ancient Greek, Latin or Sanscrit also have my vote. As 'dead' languages they have the same advantage that no one is a native speaker, but unlike Esperanto they have a deep wealth of culture and literature. Esperanto is great in theory, but it does not have much culture or literature, so learning it feels less rewarding (and let's face it, Esperanto doesn't sound very pretty). Also, I wasn't totally kidding with emogis. Emogis are international in that anyone can easily 'read' them and understand them, and pronounce them in their own language but still communicate, kind of like how chinese kanji managed to unify an empire.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

@bicolingo "IF you were to try to solve the problems of international communication in an increasingly globalised world, what would be a better solution?"

I would encourage people to become multilingual; make learning (several) foreign languages standard at school (like many places in Europe) - and to a real level - not just baby beginner "I'd like a coffee"; normalize multilingualism; make foreign language classes available cheaply in the community; encourage international travel - give people credits for working overseas after finishing school. Basically embrace the diversity of the world rather than restricting it further.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

But who actually wants to learn Esperanto? I did it briefly at school and hated it. And it is very Romance language-centric so not an "obvious" choice for the majority of the planet.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Little_Tatws

I agree wholeheartedly. One language alone on the planet is quite honestly boring, but if there were to be a global one everyone knows in addition to their native or second language (maybe third or even fourth), then maybe we'd be taking steps to achieving that goal.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidStyIes

Anecdotally, I play chess as part of an international team that uses Esperanto as our lingua franca :) Note that since our activities include vote chess (working together in a three-day-per-move timeframe to discuss ideas), the ideas at hand are rather more complex than exchanging pleasantries, and certainly we couldn't easily all do it in each other's languages.

So instead of it taking me an hour to write an explanation in Russian, or a Pole giving up and just stating their move recommendation with a diagram at best, or us getting muddled in whether we're using English or German or Spanish or some other language's letter-indicator for pieces, everything is in Esperanto and is super easy for all of us.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sphinx1824

But if there's a universal second language on the planet, what would stop it from gradually becoming the planet's first language?

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David525444

different cultures would cling to their original language similar to how immigrate family's in america teach English and their original lingo it all will balance out. it is also worth noting you can use other lingo as code if you need discretion.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sphinx1824

That is a lot easier said than done. Many, possibly most, immigrant families lose their "original" language after just a couple of generations. Listening to family stories, I can track the loss of Polish in my family over several generations. "Use it or lose it" is a concept that can even apply to your own native language if you live in a place where you never use it for long enough. And even if the first generation of parents teach their children the language, it isn't easy for the second or third generations to use it at a strong level in many situations (i.e. if they never use the language in non-home/family situations, aren't able to read it, don't have access to any media in that language, etc.) And then, unfortunately, even if a future generation wants that linguistic heritage back, it will have to come back as a second language once the chain is broken.

In a world with a global second language, there would be many reasons why a person or family would adopt that language for significant aspects of their lives (I wrote a few of them in another comment further down). And if it was possible to only get around in the global second language, (which in many cases it would be) there would probably be people raised to be more-or-less monolingual in that language. It would probably become a dominant language for any media that wanted to be popular worldwide, and more and more publications would be available in that language. While it would certainly be a gradual process, and while other languages probably wouldn't die out entirely, a universal second language would probably only be a second language for a few generations.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SavoyardReaction

The German languages, languages of France, Italy, etc, didn't survive the modern liberal state. Very few of the latest generation speak them. I don't speak German even though my grandparents did. Most of the 3rd+ generation Hispanics I know don't speak Spanish.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

I agree! :)

Btw, how are you putting that line in your comment.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

--- creates a horizontal line.


September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

Thanks! :)

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yom124

nice

nice

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yom124

rip lol

nice


nice

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

I heard about a plan for people to promise to learn Esperanto if other people promise. The details are at https://ea-mondo.org/promise/. I read about it in this article: https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5208462

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

Mi tute konsentas kun la parolo de Esperanto, sed kial manĝi terpomojn?

I completely agree with speaking Esperanto, but why eat potatoes?

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carbsrule

Because they're tasty, nutritious, and important for global food security. Also, see username.


Manĝu terpomojn kaj feliĉiĝu!

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

They aren't necessarily important for global food security, and whether they're delicious is an opinion.

September 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carbsrule

Argue your case with the UN if you choose:
https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/60/191

http://www.fao.org/potato-2008/en/aboutiyp/index.html


Manĝu terpomojn kaj feliĉiĝu!

September 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kuniklulo

Mi sxatas (ne ŝercas) mangxi terpomojn, ĉar ili estas bongustaj! :)

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David942660

Esperanto is European language based, not a lot of people will be happy going down that route. Isn't there already a second language on the planet: it's called English?

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidStyIes

You realise English is also European, and not nearly so simple nor as intuitive nor as consistent as Esperanto, right? Even if Esperanto has little in common with a learner's native language, it'll still be a lot easier than English (unless the learner is from a language really closely related to English).

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

Except many people worldwide are exposed to English - there are films, news, social media, entertainment. This pre-exposure does help a little.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidStyIes

The exposure is largely quite optional though, as translations abound. Indeed, in many countries it's more difficult to get original English versions of movies and such than it is to get local dubs of same.

Songs are probably the least-translated medium, but in many cases that simply limits people's understanding of the songs, without really promoting learning.

I remember at a dance bar in Moscow an English language song playing with the repeated lyrics "put your hands up", and some people dancing would while most did not. I remarked to my friend that it was as though saying "put your hands up if you understand English"; certainly the same goes in many places.

The other way around, think how many anglophones enjoyed the hit song "Despacito", and how few will have learned any Spanish from it.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doktoro_Kiu

Only about 1.5 billion people "speak English" in the world, with only 300,000 of those being native speakers (and the vast majority of those are in the US). Even if we say that they all speak English well, that is still under 1/5 of the population (and with almost all native speakers living in only one country).

1/5 is certainly a major accomplishment, but English is not a universal language. I'd bet that a good portion of those can only use it in business or for superficial "how's the weather" type talk. Also, with the US closing itself off more and more who knows how long we will maintain our lingua franca status? (recall that this role was once held by French)

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Benjamin_Prince

You are VERY wrong. Like gduvall said, there's 350,000,000 in the united states that speak english, and MOST of them are native english speakers. And multiple countries have english as the main language. US, India, UK, New Zealand, Autralia, Canada, Ireland, etc, etc. Also, what point of "native" do you NOT understand? If you are native, you can say more than "how's the weather". So, your WAY off there

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

Your numbers are way wrong. There's more than 300,000 in the US that speak native English. There's 350,000,000 in the US and the vast majority of them are native English speakers. And more than one country has English as the official and/or predominant language. US, UK, India, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, most of Canada, much of the Caribbean and several African and Middle Eastern countries.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

You should try learning Esperanto before saying something like that. Sure, the words are European-based, but the grammar is certainly not.

Vi devus provi lerni Esperanton antaŭ ol vi diras ion, kiel tio. Sendube, la vortoj estas eŭropaj, sed la gramatiko certe ne estas.

Kiom vi scias pri Esperanto? Ĉu ion ajn?

September 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JagicJosip

you are welcome on lingots

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n35w101

I take a (generally) dim view of monopolies -- business, language, genetics or otherwise.

While the hegemony of a monopoly can, in the short term, help unite and focus, it tends to calcify & stifle in the long term.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davey944676

The scariest prospect would be a universal language owned by a corporation. There are probably teams of IP lawyers brainstorming the possibility right now as I type.

It would be free of course, at first.....mwahahaa!!

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n35w101

Ugh, what a horrid thought!

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SavoyardReaction

Even more horrifying is how a small group of people continuously create aspects of our culture against the whims of almost everyone and write and promote a false history to fake legitimacy.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimKillock

Elon Musk needs your branez.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

One cannot own a language. Loglan was an attempt at that. Let's just say that it turned into Lojban, which is basically the same grammar as Loglan, but with different words.

September 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ImagineDragons..

Honestly, I think the earth's too big for that to happen; because the "One language" would become subject to cultural/regional changes. Just look at all the different forms of French, because when it became the language to learn for a while, it got distorted by other cultures and such. The same is true of English, and Spanish! This is a great post though, very interesting thing to think about! :)

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/A.Lias

French, Spanish, and English may have been distorted as the international language in the past. But, most of the world is so connected now, that keeping it undistorted wouldn't be as difficult as when we could only really correspond through letters.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SavoyardReaction

What we know today as Spanish, French, Italian, German, etc, existed as "standardized" languages for interstate communication of the political class long before their use in a unified, liberal French, German, Italian, etc, states, before the multitude of local languages were destroyed.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

Thanks ImagineDragons! :)

I agree, but maybe, if having one language becomes important to us, we will find a way to keep it as much undistorted as possible.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ImagineDragons..

Maybe, but I think not. Using different languages is one of the things that keeps individual cultures... individual. Still, a good idea, I know that I'd like if everyone spoke the same language! :)

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

Yes, you are right. But, as it is already seen, we are really bad at predicting our future. :P

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joshorst

You can study the history of Latin for that. One language was important for the Catholic church. (Catholic = all embracing).

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PSLHelstrom

Language has a tendency to evolve. Even if all people spoke one single language, it would mutate into different dialects. Different generations of people also tend to use the same language differently. Younger people have slang and concepts that older generations don't use, and likewise, older people use the language in ways that younger people don't. Given enough time and separation, there will always be the possibility for new languages to be made. Much like how modern Romance languages split off from their mother language, Latin. Language will always change, even if people are trying to speak one united language forever. The world is too big, and people are too creative, to let language stay static forever.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissSpells

People are way more interconnnected now though, there is a lot less isolation due to geographical distances than there was in Roman times for dialects to develop in isolation.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

That was true when migration and communication took a lot of time. With near instantaneous communication around the globe and near orbit, the mutation would still happen but it would less likely to fragment and become a unique language despite evolution.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

Very interesting! And MissSpells gave great counter argument as well.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

Latin split because it was spoken in many different areas and its speakers weren't very connected. Esperanto, for example, has not split because since the beginning in 1887, its speakers have always been communicating with each other somehow.

Latino disiĝis, ĉar oni parolis ĝin en multaj regionoj, kaj la parolantoj ne parolis kun si reciproke. Esperanto, ekzemple, ne disiĝis, ĉar ekde sia komenco en 1887, siaj parolantoj ĉiam iel reciproke parolis.

September 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda7Italian

With only one language, all light and shade, all depth and colour, all rhythm and ryme, all text and texture would be totally lost! Ah but wait, someone somewhere would think "Let us invent another way to communicate, let us explore, let us make light and shade, let us invent Duolingo!!" :-)

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

Wow! :D

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tizerman

When a few without souls would turn the world grey in order to possess it, all we have is a belief in the humanity and spirit of the many.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman_Huczok

If history has taught us anything it's surely that those who wish to communicate are not prevented from doing so by lack of a shared language, while having a shared language doesn't prevent us from failing to communicate.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

I adore this comment.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman_Huczok

Thanks))

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goodtimes_Gordon

Look at Yugoslavia or the Arab world, real brotherly love over there.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fiyalka2

English is pretty much doing that already, being the common world language. I would still like Esperanto better as universal language - look at the grammatical regularity and the wonderful relationship between writing and pronunciation!
And of course, everyone who wants can still learn as many languages as they like. Each new language is a new window into the world, a new way of seeing things. And each language is connected to interesting cultures and their knowledge. I would actually love to learn every single one, and Duolingo is a wonderful help with that. :o)

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PetziPotato

It's estimated that 20% of people on Earth know English. It's great, but far from being everyone! Though I suppose that percentage will go up drastically if you count only large cities.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

If everyone spoke the same language, that would be boring.

If everyone learned the same language at the same time, that would be fair.

If everyone has a different or diverse language experience, that’s being human.

All of them are rather hard for different reasons.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

Interesting comment.

Interesa komento.


It seems that you're doing just about every Duolingo course except for Esperanto. Do you want to try it? I certainly think that you would like it.

Ŝajnas, ke vi faras proksimume ĉiun Duolingan kurson krom Esperanton. Ĉu vi volus provi ĝin? Mi certe pensas, ke ĝi plaĉus al vi.

September 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissSpells

I confess that while I like to learn languages as a hobby, it really suits me to have almost everyone in the world speak English.. so as an English speaker I am not sure I am in a position to say. I think I would like a universal language, and for languages to become more like hobbies like music and art. People who are into them, scholars, linguists, hobbiest, can preserve them and continue to compose in them.. and the rest of us can all communicate in one language... maybe emogilingua.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/logane616

As nice as it would be, we wouldn't know the joy of Duolingo. One second language, as has been said, would be amazing though. Esperanto was designed for this, and Spanish would also work.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moira582602

Judith, as usual you speak sense.

Re measurement. Yes the metric system is easier to use - I have taught both and Imperial is a nightmare for young children to work with. When we changed over from Imperial to Metric in Britain, those of us who were teachers in primary schools heaved a sigh of relief. But all the textbooks had to be changed. I'd hate to go back to 12 pennies in a shilling and 8 shillings in a pound. 12 inches in a foot and 8 feet in a yard and 1760 yards in a mile!! Give me base 10 Metric any day.

Time: how could you possibly do that. The sun rises and sets at different times in different parts of the world. we do have broad time zones. But Midnight in one part of the word could be 3 o'clock in the afternoon in another. I know it's complex but you couldn't have unified time - unless someone stops the Earth revolving!

PSL & Judith I'm giving you each one of my lingots because you talk sense.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/exp271828

... um, three feet in a yard (I think you had a bit of a typo there, but that's OK - I do it all the time).

Three countries in the world still use English Standard ... and it's a shame we in the USA haven't converted yet. Oh the horror stories (spacecraft crashing on the surface of other planets instead of landing gently, etc. etc.), and the loss of money and time! Not to mention little minor things like, exactly how long is a foot? Two different standards for a foot used in the US today (doesn't matter much for everyday stuff, but can make a small difference for very long baselines). And, what kind of an ounce are you talking about, exactly? Having two sets of wrenches on hand instead of just one set, etc. and etc. Re the continuing use of English Standard in the US, all I can say is "sigh".

Re time, I believe the metric system has a standard for time duration or for elapsed time, not for absolute time. The best standards I've used for absolute time might be either Julian Date (JD) or Modified Julian Date (MJD) ... something similar to what GPS uses, where time is described in terms of elapsed time since some specific epoch (by the way, those systems need to keep track of leap seconds to maintain their utility).

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

I have meetings with people all over the world. Time zones are problematic. Finding a time to talk to both Viet Nam, Ireland and myself is a sliver of a window not to mention the complications of figuring out the time in their time zone.

I'm advocating Zulu time, GMT, Universal Time, whatever you want to call it. The US Navy uses it for ships and subs once out of port. At an instant in time when it is one minute after midnight in London, it is simultaneously supper time in NY and two hours before noon in Hawaii. I'm not advocating everyone eat at 12:01PM. I'm advocating we all set our clocks the same. You would wake when the sun comes up. In London that would be 0600 (6AM) but 1100 (their 6AM) in NY and 1700 (their 6AM) in Hawaii. You keep your activities closely based to sun position but time zones go away.

Now, if I know Ireland is available 800 to 1700, Viet Nam is 100 to 1000 and I'm in the office 1400 to 2300 we see that the overlap time is not possible without someone getting up early or someone staying after normal work hours.

If you tell someone you they will call at 0800 that is the same the world over. In Ireland they have just arrived at work. In Viet Nam it is a few before the end of work day and in my part of the world it is a few hours after midnight but we all know that. My waking hours here would be 1200 (old 6AM) to 0400 (old 10PM) the next day.

I'm not sure I've explained it adequately but imagine being in space on the space station. They go around the globe every 90 minutes. Time zones are meaningless.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

And all without calculators! 12x 14x and 16x tables. Long division - by hand.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosalie_L

A one world language in addition to native languages is fine. Like in a lot of fantasy universes there's some one world language called Common, then the different races/cultures also have their own languages.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimThibaul

This has been mentioned before and I believe there is already a global language... English. All international pilots and all airport control towers use English International corporations work with foreign offices in English You travel most places you can get along at least in tourist locations in English Media content English When I watch a documentary years ago it was stated more people speak English as a first or second language than any other language.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bicolingo

Yes, English is the current defacto 'lingua franca', just like French before it, and Latin before that. But the dominance of any natural lingua franca is closely tied to the dominant economic, political and military powers of the day.

While English is in the process of becoming a truly global language, those economic, political and military powers are shifting radically under our feet, and the global powers of the next century might be averse to using a language that's so closely tied to 19th Century British and 20th Century US dominance.

But the world still needs a globally understood second language for practical reasons. For me, that's one of the big advantages of a constructed language like Esperanto (as opposed to a dumbed down version of a natural language). As well as being easier to learn, it's not allied to any national interests or associated with any particular political system or land mass.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman_Huczok

Still only a fifth of the population. Most of the places I've travelled you'd be hard pressed to find an English speaker or communicate wholly in English.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimThibaul

1.132 billion by 2019 stats speak English as a first or second language. Not surprising Chinese is number 2 but most speakers speak Chinese as a native langange.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Langophobe

I wonder if that goes down even further from 2 if you don't count all chinese as one language (Mandarin vs Cantonese vs Hokkien vs Shanghainese etc)

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman_Huczok

So, a seventh, less than I said

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brian968059

There will never be just one language nor should we want it. There probably will eventually be 1 dominant language that everyone needs to know(English) & but language is apart of the culture and you can't take that away. Our differences is what makes us unique and what makes the world interesting.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DJrossonwye

I can only picure a world with just one global language as part of some dystopian nightmare future.

I offer no logical reason for that, but every fibre of my being "knows" that it would mark the beginning of the end for everything that makes life worth living for humans.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sphinx1824

Given historical patterns of language change and development, with the modern reality of a globalizing world, it seems likely that a trend towards a single language spoken everywhere will happen gradually, over a long, long period of time. We can see some evidence of this already: minority languages lose their native speaker base as the community gradually switches to becoming bilingual, and eventually monolingual in whatever language the larger speech community uses. As it becomes easier to communicate with people around the world, the "larger speech community" is extending not just to whatever the biggest language group in your country is, but to the entire world. It will probably take a long time for one language to swallow up all the others, and regional dialects will almost certainly remain no matter how big one language gets, but as we grow to communicate more frequently with people who are ever more physically distant, we will probably see an overall decrease in the number of languages being used.

The "universal second language" that's been mentioned elsewhere would likely be only temporary, and would likely become the world's first language. As time went on, it would be more and more likely that there would be groups of people who would communicate only in that second language. For example, if a couple with 2 different native tongues, but a common second language, were to raise their children in that common second language, or maybe a family might move to a foreign country and, instead of using the local tongue, stick to the universal second language that they and their new neighbors already know. Just like with the idea of a single world first language, it wouldn't be immediate and would likely happen over many generations.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack536559

I agree that having one language would have benefits, but the words we speak aren't just words. They're a part of who we are.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

First a practical point. How would it be enforced? Take Hungary - a tiny country which had a language make over about 150 years ago - yet there are still minor differences between different regions. That's what people do - they change the language - and different people change it in different ways. Thus divergence.

Pros - everyone will understand each other (assuming that everyone do speak the same language - while working in the US there were a few times when we were at cross purposes as the language is used slightly differently and some words have different meanings).

Cons - loss of diversity. Which languages would you drop? Which words would disappear? Which constructions and moods would go?

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/logane616

In addition to this, the tendency languages have to evolve. Likely, one "super" language would just evolve into different dialects, and eventually new tongues altogether.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

I would like the whole world to be able to converse in a single language. This would remove the need for translation and the inevitable lost in translation errors that can cause hard feelings or possibly lead to conflicts.

For it to happen will take teaching and learning now so that in a generation or two the whole world will be populated with speakers of this language. I expect much push back from the French, the Irish, the Germans, anyone with a long held language.

Whatever language it is needs to be open, free and living. It also needs to be simplified to make learning easiest for non-native speakers. It also needs to already in wide use and be able to be represented in digital format simply. That eliminates Chinese and other 1000 key typewriter languages.

This unicorn language needs to stick to one format, either adjective noun or noun adjective, no flipping back and forth. Either casa blanca or white house but stick to a standard.

While I'm at it, I want universal time to be used around the globe. No daylight savings time ever. In London, you get up at 6:00, in the US you wake at 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 or 14:00 depending on your location. One world, one language, one time. It works in Science Fiction all the time.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LearnTillDeath

'It works in Science Fiction all the time.'

That's the way to conclude a post! :D

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissSpells

and one measurement system, metric!

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

I learned the metric system in school and used it in science classes but they stopped using it and stopped the migration. I've driven all over the world, both sides of the road and in kph and liters (or litres) with no issue.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goodtimes_Gordon

"I would like the whole world to be able to converse in a single language. This would remove the need for translation and the inevitable lost in translation errors that can cause hard feelings or possibly lead to conflicts."

no this would be absolutely awful and we're already seeing the results

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

Prove it! Where language separates people is where most battle lines are drawn.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngraner42

There is the possiblility of God being upset with his work being undone with a univeral language (google Tower of Babel). On the other hand he has not sent any asteroids to distroy the International Space Station yet.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

God gave us free will. If we solve our problems with a common language, wouldn't that be progress?

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/S.Eleni

having just one language on the planet.

Ugh, no :( Just the mere mention of it breaks my heart, so many worlds lost :( So many facets of ourselves never to be discovered :(
I'm all for a lingua francas though.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/juliet569059

See Wade Davis on cultural diversity and the ethnosphere

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman_Huczok

Link?

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corgi.

Most people seeing this comment would dissagree, sheerly because we're all language-learning suckers that wouldn't have it any other way. But practically, it would be very useful. Now of course, this would mean that many cultures would lose what makes them unique, which is why I think that, rather, people there should be one second language that everyone learns. Something that allows you to speak with everyone, but share that bond with people who speak your first language. I think a romance language would be a good candidate as this hypothetical universal second language, because for most people I feel they are easier to learn. Now of course for people who speak languages like Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Mandarin etc romance languages might not come as naturally, but I feel like the majority of people agree that they are the easiest to absorb.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Errortonin

There shouldn't be any language on any planet.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Don_Cristian

Nice thought! English is probably the closest to this goal in the history of humankind.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogKnife

I think the concept of having one language is impossible, as it's really hard to make demarcations between languages in the grand scheme of things.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngraner42

Having a world language makes sense as we can travel and communicate all over the world. English is clearly on route to being that universal language. The one thing that might stop this is good real time machine translation then everyone could keep there native language and communicate all over the world.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris228864

Maybe we should just use the combined English/Mandarin from firefly (only not just the inappropriate language as in the show)

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SavoyardReaction

Cons: The destruction of traditional identities and continued expansion of the neoliberal megacapitalist class. The breakdown in cultural diversity. The breakdown of class consciousness allowing for greater exploitation. The greater diversification and obscurantism of power in an increasing number of interconnected special interests, international bureaucracies, educational institutions, etc. The commodification of culture.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eopithecus

Nailed it pretty soon we are all going to be required to take western toxic masculinity and anti islamaphobia classes.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StuartJurs

Optimistic people should think about Atlantean. It was created by the guy who created Klingon, and legend has it that it was the original proto-language spoken by everyone on the planet before the Tower of Babel ruined things.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2laaYahia

i see that will be boring but we can contact better than now and there will be more equal between humans

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaDeMell

I'm honestly not sure what to think! That is an interesting topic..

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gduvall

Interestingly enough, this popped up in a browser today from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/27/english-language-global-dominance

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goodtimes_Gordon

Great, if you like the idea of the world being one amorphous monoculture where no matter where you go, people watch GoT, eat Mcdonalds, wear the same branded clothing and get their news from the same companies.

Oh wait, aren't we there already?

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Benjamin_Prince

I disagree, if there was only one language, people will invent more ways to communicate, thus, making more languages. How do you think inventions are made? People get tired of the same thing, so they make something new. The same thing applies here.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moira582602

Don't know how much you have travelled and where. Might work in more developed countries but, as already said Big Business would leap on board.

But it certainly wouldn't work in some of the areas of the world where I have been and worked.

For many people their native language is very close to their heart and a means of identifying who they are and where they are from.

It was once tried ...... with Esperanto. But failed. Just a few brave learn it and then it becomes an self identified in-group.

So here's to a polyglot of languages and cultures. Makes the world a more interesting place...... and it would do DuoLingo out of a job!

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carbsrule

Esperanto was designed to be a bridge language, never to replace anyone's native language.


Manĝu terpomojn kaj feliĉiĝu!

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SavoyardReaction

Death of the author

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doktoro_Kiu

This makes no sense...are you having a stroke, or trying to threaten someone?

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Songve

Boring.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adrian867775

English is already chosen by the world. one global English language and one local language for each person.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dawid631129

well, that's english if I'm not wrong :v

September 4, 2019
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