English: The Primary Language
English should be the primary language of the world. That does not mean it has to replace all other languages, but it could be a common second language. English has such a large installed base, most, if not all of the international business deals and technical specifications are conducted in English. Wherever you go, English is the always the second language, if not the first. That is why English is a good choice as a wold language. In addition, a common language would benefit the world by easing the spread of knowledge, reducing cultural barriers, and saving millions in translation costs. Having to reproduce works in other languages is expensive for companies, and impossible for the new generation of self-published web 2.0 content (like this site). Thus English as a common language for the world would benefit everyone by reducing the cost of spreading knowledge.
The internet is bringing the world together like never before. For hundreds of years, it took weeks to send a letter on a ship. Until about 500 years ago, humans didn't even have a complete picture of our globe. About 100 years ago, we got a primitive message/voice transmission system. Even with a telephone, gathering information was hard. But now we are able to access a world of information almost instantly via the internet.
A large push is currently going on to give 3rd world children free laptops, so they too can access the information. This is a great way to expand their horizons and teach them whatever they feel like learning. But they must be able to read this content.
Obviously the less speakers of a language, the less content which is available to be produced. This makes it hard to access information if you only know a language with few speakers. Thus most people already know a second language.
The problem only grows larger as new media forms start to emerge. For the past hundred years, consumers could only get content from a limited number of sources determined by their geographic location. For example, television stations could only show a few hundred channels, at most. Bookstores only could sell a few thousand books. There were only a few newspapers at a time in a certain city. This content was, in most cases, locally produced by large companies. They only published in the local language because the international audience was not large enough. In addition, the content which was produced was a function of sales, which were a function of readership. Specialty topics, such as computer training and hobby magazines, could only be covered in languages which there was a large enough readership to make it worthwhile. This meant that it was only written in English and other common languages. Content which there was not enough audience for was not covered. One would have to be able to read one of these languages in order to learn this information.
These same problems are now starting as average people are now publishing works. Mediums such as YouTube are primarily for entertainment, but these new forms of media are not just for entertainment. Sure some forms of comedy come through in every language, but it is hard to communicate knowledge without words.
Podcasts are one form of user generated content. Tecker 911 is one which I produce. We produce (what feel is) helpful material, but it is only in in English. We don't know know any other language; if you don't understand English you are missing out on information which could help you.
The popular podcast TWiT first drew my attention to this. Its host, Leo Laporte reports thats its listeners come from all over the world. They are unified by their internet connections, love of technology, and the language they understand. There would not be such similar demand, or talent, in languages other then common languages.
[[Image:Traffic Map.JPG|thumb|200px|ThePlaz.com Traffic for 2/17/2007 to 2/23/2007] This website is another example. I get readers from all over the world. While the majority come from the United States, readers also come from Beirut to Bangalore. Because they understand English, they can understand the thousands of pages of content on ThePlaz.com.
In addition, if you ever wanted to conduct a business transaction, you would need to know English. (stat)
- need to communicate
Cost of Translating
Translating is an expensive and wasteful task. ___$ are spend every ____. to translate material. This money could easily be put to better use then copying what someone has already done.
And for the new generation of content this cost is prohibitive.
wasteful However this same problem of duplication comes up. Why duplicate information, either by starting from scratch in a different language, or directly translating? This just seems like expensive (or impossible) work which is just wasteful. In the long run a common language would be beneficial.
- increasing understanding
- no differences
- localization (?rebut)
- wikipedia 3x bigger
- i fortinate to know it
In addition, all of the popular computer languages have their bases in English. Around the world, every computer runs on English. Basic words like "if" and "then" govern the behaviors of almost every program. It does not look like this on the surface, because the UI is customized with the local language. For example, this website is running on MediaWiki. It is primarily developed in English and all of its developers use English to communicate. However it runs in multiple languages by changing a language "skin". Budding software developers wanting to develop for the internet must learn English first, not only to write code but to communicate with other developers.
- dosn't have to be main lang, but easier
- transition over 100s of years