Friday, February 11, 2011

Future of English Language

As more and more of the world gets on the English language bandwagon, the average English speaker's mastery of the language continues to fall. More and more, English is being used for international business needs among non-native speakers who have learned English in school, from private teachers, and during brief trips abroad.

The language that is evolving among users of international business English is not quite "real English." Its lexicon includes phrases like "implementation," "conduct negotiations," and "according to" but lacks common English phrases such as "stuff," "get mad," or "for fun." In addition, grammar structure is increasingly simplified, with articles and complex tenses disappearing. The pronunciation is also changing. Complex sounds like the A in "last" or "bath" are being replaced with an O sound as in "lost" or "bother," or sometimes with a short E as in "lest" or "best."

The resulting language, consisting of a simplified English vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation and almost completely devoid of idioms or even phrasal verbs ("enter" instead of "get in," "surrender" instead of "give up," etc.), is rapidly becoming the dominant world language and lingua franca. Since it's derived from English and spoken among non-native English speakers, I'll call it "International Pidgin English." (For reference: a Pidgin language is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. — Wikipedia)

Most Englishmen, Americans, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders are still under the impression that their English is the world's dominant language, but this is increasingly not the case. Any Kiwi, Brit, or Yankee can travel to countries like Ukraine and meet with English speaking businesspeople and test his hypothesis. In most cases you will find that misunderstandings result when you speak your native tongue, but as soon as you switch to International Pidgin English, the difficulties disappear.

The problem is, few native English speakers concern themselves with learning International Pidgin English, failing to recognize the opportunities that it brings. Viewing their own variety of indigenous English as the "standard," they see little point in learning a "dialect" filled with a variety of systematic "errors."

What is in fact happening is that a new language is emerging that will have much in common with traditional standard English, but will be more accessible, easy to learn, and have fewer idiosyncracies. As the number of international speakers of this language comes to dwarf the number of native speakers of indigenous English, the balance of power will switch to the international community, which may at some point choose to officially incorporate into the new language the changes that are already de facto in force. Spelling may once again become phonetic. The rules governing the use of articles will be decreased to just a handful, or articles will be abolished altogether. The number of tenses will be reduced.

The English language is entering an exciting period of development. Eventually, the new language will have diverged so much from indigenous English that Americans and Brits will have to study Pidgin English in order to communicate with the rest of the world.

Let me translate that last paragraph into International Pidgin English just so you get an idea of the changes:

English language now enters phase of rapid development and slowly becomes new language. In future, this new language will differ much from original English of American and British people, and they will must study it in order to communicate effectively with people from other countries.

You see, there is hardly any thought or sentiment from indigenous English that cannot be expressed just as well in International Pidgin English!

This whole problem of inventing a new version of English out of an existing one, then codifying the changes could have been avoided if people had just had the foresight to learn Esperanto. Indeed, International Pidgin English is evolving to become more and more like Esperanto — an easy-to-learn artificial language with a simple grammatical structure and vocabulary taken from the most common roots of the dominant Indoeuropean languages.

Esperanto takes a far smaller energy investment to learn than any indigenous language. That means less GDP lost from citizens spending years of their lives trying to learn a language they will never master anyway, because they don't live where it is spoken. Switching to Esperanto would also mean depriving the global Anglo-American economic hegemony of one of its key advantages — an effortless mastery of their own language, a position of linguistic dominance in international interactions, and a worldwide obsession with all things Anglo-American, which serves to artificially increase the market value of schooling and cultural artifacts from these countries.

In addition, abandoning English in favor of Esperanto would alleviate much suffering in the world. Failing to master the baffling complexities and assimilate the staggering vocabulary of indigenous English despite years of concerted effort causes incalculable grief and loss of self-esteem to hundreds of millions of otherwise happy and successful individuals around the globe. Switch to Esperanto, and the elusive goal of fluency becomes attainable for almost everyone.

Despite having failed to adopt Esperanto in time, the global community will still "get back" eventually by overwhelming indigenous English speakers with their sheer numbers, allowing them to push their own, more robust variety of English on the few countries where English is currently spoken as a native language.

Native English teachers, beware! Your days of employability are numbered!

UPDATE 2016:

I have finally decided to teach others my method for learning and mastering foreign languages at Take a look and download or order my book and/or instruction manual. 


  1. M<y native language is English, but I also use Esperanto on my travels.

    Esperanto hasn't yet gained the recognition it deserves. However, all things considered, it has actually done amazingly well. In just over 120 years, it has managed to grow from a drawing-board project with just one speaker in one country to a complete and living natural language with around 2,000,000 speakers in over 120 countries and a rich literature and cosmopolitan culture, with little or no official backing and even bouts of persecution. It hasn't taken the world by storm - yet - but it's slowly but surely moving in that direction, with the Internet giving it a significant boost in recent years.

  2. With regard to the comment by Bill Chapman

    Many people do not realise how popular, as a living language, Esperanto is.

    The study course is now receiving 120,000 hits per month.

    That can't be bad :)