Language Matters: A New Universal Language?

We’ve talked before on the blog about English being the only global language, but what if there was a universal language that everyone had to learn?  What if the world’s universal language was nobody’s native language, making everyone equal in learning it?

Believe it or not, some people have developed what they think could be universal languages — languages that could be learned by anyone in the world, with no native speakers given an advantage.

What if everyone in the world had to learn the same foreign language?

One language, Soresol, was created to be based on musical sounds, with each sound given a color and a symbol.  A word could be written phonetically (using the sounds of the syllables), but it could also be written using colors or numbers.

There have been others, like Esperanto, which is actually spoken by 10,000-20,000 people in the world.

The problem with developing a universal language, though, is the same as the advantage: everyone has to learn it because nobody speaks it as a native language.  So if few people know it, other people won’t want to learn it.  And if people don’t want to learn it, it won’t be adopted.

This is one of the reasons that some argue that English should be the universal language, since it is so widely spoken already and so many people are currently learning it.  Others think that a universal language is a bad idea because having many languages in the world retains culture and tradition from generation to generation.

Who knows?  Maybe one day schools will teach Esperanto as a foreign language instead of English, Spanish, or Chinese.

What do you think of the idea of a universal language?  Do you think it should be something that everyone has to learn, or do you think English is a good choice?

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