My friend Brian drew an article in today’s Daily Telegraph to my attention. In it Doctor Oastler argues that English will decline in a similar manner to Latin. However the language of Shakespeare will not be replaced by Chinese, rather people will use translation tools on devices such as I-pads to communicate. It will remain the dominant language in English speaking countries, however it will soon lose it’s position as the world’s dominant language.
I am sure that tools such as Google Translate will become ever mor accurate and that electronic modes of communication will continue to grow in importance. However I can not envisage the language of Shakespeare and Dickens fading away into insignificance. The beauty of Shakespeare’s “and tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace to the last sylable of recorded time and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death …” remains as resonant as ever and is not about to be swept into oblivion by machine speak. No doubt business will benefit greatly from enhanced translation tools, however I find it difficult to imagine a world in which machine speak replaces the intimacy of language when forming friendships and interacting with our existing friends.
A famous personage once remarked “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. The same quote could equally well be applied to predictions concerning the demise of the English language.
For the Telegraph’s article please visit http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/9314749/Hay-Festival-2012-English-will-die-out-like-Latin-leading-linguist-claims.html
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