and Another rant on languages As AP reporte…

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Another rant on languages

As AP reporter Ted Anthony so eloquently put it, “the dominant language of commerce, the internet, science and the skies, nearly a quarter of the human population uses what is fast becoming the world’s first global language = English. Turn on the news almost anywhere on Earth and many stories are reported in English.”

I’m not contesting the emergence of the English language on the global scene – but do find it interesting that Americans tend to overestimate the number of people who speak English.

In 1998, Humphrey Taylor conducted a Harris Poll that concluded that, “On average, adult Americans believe that just over half (52%) of the whole world’s population speak English. The real number, according to The National Foreign Language Center in Washington DC, is probably closer to 20% at the most.”

And whereas people have lost interest in real live languages, it’s interesting to see an urban myth, like that of the Klingon Interpreter, grow to such proportions.

A quick surf through the internet reveals the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship (E.L.F.) – “an international organization devoted to the scholarly study of the invented languages of J.R.R. Tolkein.

Tolkein was a linguist. I wonder how he would have reacted to today’s headlines.


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