“Why’d we have to drift apart?”
In a follow-up to yesterday’s translation-complication post, here’s an interesting article courtesy of Wired magazine regarding the evolution of English. According to author Michael Erard, the entire world will be speaking some variation of the English language within 100 years. A variety of interlocking factors has created a vast sub-set of English dialects (Spanglish, Chinglish, Konglish, Singlish, etc) that allows it to spread out in multiple directions. Pretty soon English might not even sound like English.
Thanks to globalization, the Allied victories in World War II, and American leadership in science and technology, English has become so successful across the world that it’s escaping the boundaries of what we think it should be. In part, this is because there are fewer of us: By 2020, native speakers will make up only 15 percent of the estimated 2 billion people who will be using or learning the language. Already, most conversations in English are between nonnative speakers who use it as a lingua franca.