Having a lingua franca is vital for communicating with people around the globe and would seem ideal, but what costs does it come with? Due to the United States power right now, it seems English is quickly filling this role. “Many would reasonably claim that, in the fields of business, academics, science, computing, education, transportation, politics and entertainment, English is already established as the de facto lingua franca” (Mastin, 2011). Of course with a lot of positivity, comes a lot of controversy.
A lingua franca literally means French language. It has now become the term used to indicate a universal, or global language. For people who don’t speak the same language, it is necessary to have a form of speech they can rely on the other individual knowing as well. “…over 80% of interactions in English worldwide are now estimated to be between non-native speakers” (Weil, 2011). When a language becomes a lingua franca, it goes through a simplification process so it is easier to learn and comprehend. (Zelander, 2006).
While simplifying a language does make learning a second language easier for adults, it loses many beautiful words and phrases. It is created solely to inform. This can also create a linguistic gap between native and non-native speakers, creating even more minorities (Zelander, 2006). Having the upper hand, native speakers will be able to access and regurgitate information quickly and really expand upon and express their thoughts easily.
People who speak different languages have terms that are important to their culture and daily life. If there is not a similar or equal counterpart for them in English, it is lost. While words are lost, eventually so are whole languages. They become more obsolete and eventually disappear, along with the identity and culture they were apart of. “English is referred to as a “killer language”, which means that it is a dominant language learned subtractive, at the cost of the mother tongues, rather than additively.” (Zelander, 2006). There is so much beauty in language and when a person is unable to speak their mother tongue as much as they would like, their personalities and ability to express themselves in this non-native language can start to feel repressed, especially when using the more simplified version.
A large majority of the world already knows and teaches English as a second language. This really increases those students’ chances of success, including a wide array of job opportunities available for them (Thredgold, 2012). Many careers even require the people they hire to know English because it is so important in international business. On the opposite end of the spectrum, especially in America, there is less need and want to learn another language. It is already not a very common requirement in most schools to learn a foreign language as it is. This could potentially add to the disdain many people feel towards Americans.
Using English as the lingua franca could also bring...