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A while ago I published an article called It’d Be Great to Have English as the Only Language in the World in which I looked at a purely fictional scenario of a world where English would be the only language spoken.
Now, in that particular article I looked at the positive aspects of such a scenario such as lower levels of discrimination and higher levels of integration.
Today let’s look at why such a scenario would be a total disaster, so basically we’re going to look at the cons of having English as the only language in the world.
And please bear in mind, in my scenario English hasn’t conquered other languages, we’re basically assuming that English has ALWAYS been spoken all over the world and nobody would even think of the possibility of speaking a different language because no-one would even know what it’s like.
In other words, we’re assuming that since the dawn of time there’s been a uniform language development all around the world and this language happens to be English.
So, without further ado, let’s start looking at the negative aspects of having English as the world’s language when compared to the actual situation when we’re having literally thousands of languages spoken on this planet!
More Competition in the Jobs Market
As Nadir from How I Learn English rightly pointed out in the comment section below my first article, having English as the only language in the world would mean that there would be a hell lot more people going for jobs simply because there would be no language requirements in place!
Just think about all the multilingual customer support roles, for example.
As it currently stands, I can’t go for a Danish and Norwegian customer support role for the simple reason that I don’t speak those languages and it quite naturally limits the number of people who would compete for the available roles.
If, however, there would be no such limitations in place, anyone could go for those customer support positions thus drastically reducing chances of a single individual of getting the job.
Basically having different languages opens opportunities for serious people (still quoting Nadir here!) whereas having English only would mean such opportunities wouldn’t exist which would mean those people would have to develop a different set of specific skills that would set them apart in the jobs market.
And if you think about it, such a situation would simply mean that a number of different industries wouldn’t even exist thus limiting the overall number of jobs available!
Certain Industries Wouldn’t Exist
Multilingual customer support barely scratches the surface when it comes to industries that exist as a direct or indirect result of our world being a multilingual place.
Just think about all the following industries:
- Language teaching;
- Language learning textbook and dictionary publishing;
- Language specific literature publishing for professionals;
- Translation services;
- Interpreter services;
- Various software helping people to translate from and to different languages;
- And a whole lot more!
To put things in perspective, just take a look at your smartphone, for example, and check out the different language settings available there. Can you imagine how many professionals have contributed to that? And it’s just a tiny example of all the jobs worldwide that rely on the existence of different languages!
If there was no need for that, millions of people worldwide would have to find a different industry to work in, and it could be argued that our economy wouldn’t be as developed as it is now because of that.
The heck – my website wouldn’t exist if English was the only language in the world (it’s another point made by Nadir on my previous article) so I’m not sure if a monolingual world is where I’d like to live in.
It’d Be Harder to Keep Secrets
I was born in the USSR so Russian is my second language which comes in handy when me and my wife have to talk about something private and we don’t want our kids to understand what we’re talking about.
You see – the thing is that they’ve been growing up here in Ireland since they were 4 years of age, so it only stands to reason that Russian is an uncharted territory for them and me and my wife can use Russian as our secret language.
This is just a small of example of how knowing other languages helps to maintain privacy, but I hope you get the drift, don’t you?
Basically what I’m trying to say is that if every single person on the planet spoke English only, you’d understand everything. While it’s a clear advantage when travelling and doing business, in terms of privacy it’s a disadvantage so I believe it deserves a spot on this list!
Smaller Nations Would Find It Harder to Maintain Their National Integrity
If English was spoken worldwide by all nations, it’d be much more difficult for them to maintain their national integrity.
Now, before you exclaim in disbelief that other nations wouldn’t even exist if there weren’t other languages in the world – hold your horses, my friends!
There are plenty of examples all around the world that the language isn’t the only factor defining a nation. The Irish, for example, speak English but have a really high sense of national identity despite the fact that their native Irish has all but disappeared in everyday use.
The same goes with other nations that have been colonized by bigger countries at some stage, so basically just because you lose your language doesn’t necessarily mean your national identity and integrity is going to be gone.
Now, at the same time I have to admit that not having had a national language at ANY stage in the nation’s history would definitely make it harder for a nation to maintain their sense of identity.
Even if all you’ve got left is a memory of a language once spoken, it’s still something to hold dear as a national heritage, and it’s something that sets you apart from other nations.
If it weren’t the case, smaller nations would be at risk of losing their identities which brings us to the next point which is…
It’d Be Easier for Larger Countries to Subdue Smaller Nations
Looking back in history, large countries have always tried to subdue smaller nations, it’s just the way kings, emperors, dictators and totalitarian regimes work.
Mostly they’ve succeeded at it, but on some occasions small nations have managed to maintain their identity and culture largely due to the fact that they’ve had their own language.
My own Latvian ancestors were just simple peasants with virtually no rights under the German, Swedish and Russian rule which lasted for 700 years – but guess what? None of those super-powers tried to eradicate the language they spoke, so I’d say it definitely played a certain role in maintaining the national spirit over the centuries.
Sure, even purposeful and systematic language eradication hasn’t helped to quash the national spirit in countries such as Ireland, for example, but the point I’m trying to get across is that maintaining a national language HELPS to maintain the national identity.
And surely in a world where there’d be only English spoken, smaller nations would run the risk of dissipating among the conquerors and forgetting of their roots which would make it easier for them to be subdued.
Life Would Be Less Interesting
Now, here’s the last item on the list – and while it probably wouldn’t hold true in a world with only one language for the simple reason that you wouldn’t even realize you’re missing something, at least I have the perspective of someone who lives in a multilingual world which gives me the ability to compare.
Basically it all boils down to the following: the more diversity, the more opportunities there are and the more interesting life is.
Just think about a world where everyone is the same – same skin color, same language, same hair color, same clothes, same everything.
Wouldn’t you go crazy living in such a uniform society?
I would, so I guess we can be thankful that English isn’t the only language in the world, and that we can learn and appreciate other languages which adds so much excitement to our lives.
What’s your take on it?
Do you agree with what I just said in this article?
Or maybe you have something to add?
Then post your comment below and get the discussion going ❗
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!