Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why We Should All Speak English

I recently learned that a proposition made by the director of a renowned French Business School (ESSEC) to teach in English was met by the usual French narrow-mindedness and unwillingness to accept change. It seems that my fellow French citizens fail to realize the scope of the global changes that we are witnessing.

Jet flights as well as advances in communication (read: Internet)  have dramatically changed our perception of distances and the world has, indeed, become a smaller place. We realized, fifty years go, that almost any place on earth could be reached in less than 48 hours. Nowadays, almost everyone is connected to everyone else thanks to the mobile Internet. I tweet, you tweet, everybody tweets and in doing so we all are inter-connected. The main issue now is not to make global communication technically feasible but to be able to understand each other. If we want the world to become an even smaller place, we need to share a common language.

People afraid of change (the French are probably the best at that... Well at least they can still claim to be the best at something) will argue that using a common language will deny people of their cultures and peculiarities. I can only disagree with that. There are many countries where dialects are still spoken although there is an official language that everyone speaks in addition to the aforementioned tongues. Using a common language simplifies communication among all citizens and yet they can all still claim their local identities and traditions through their dialects. In this day and age, we have to realize that national languages are today's dialects and that a common language is needed. Beyond simplifying communication amongst us, it will allow everyone to feel closer to one another and by doing so may reduce the need to go to war: just because our history is full of examples of countries going to war against one another simply because they're different or don't understand their differences.

If we assume that I'm right (how could I not be? I'm French!), then we need to decide what language should be used as a common tongue for all earthlings. My fellow citizens will probably argue that French is the best choice but once again, I will have to disagree and go for the obvious choice: English. As a matter of fact, who could argue that English isn't already on its way to become tomorrow's global language? Indians speaks English, Chinese people learn it, Brazilians go to language schools everyday to become proficient at it and Russians need to master it for global commerce.

So please join me in thinking that sharing a common language wouldn't be a bad thing and do your share by learning it if you don't already speak it. One of my first posts detailing the concept of Culture Shifting shows that even a French like me can learn it by only watching TV and using the Internet. So it can't be that hard, can it?

Of course, in my own tradition to maintain a certain level of absurdity in this blog, this post will only be read and understood by people who already speak English and it will, therefore, defeat the purpose of making non-English speakers realize what they are missing. Well, at least I can find comfort in the fact that they won't be hurt by my words.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Point taken but after living a few months in the US, people are more reluctant to learn any foreign languages ie. french than anywhere else.

I speak english because I wanted to. It's useful but if anyone can live without speaking english so be it ...