English as Global Language: Problems, Dangers, Opportunities

Diogenes 50 (2):17-23 (2003)
Now that the age-old dream, which never materialized, of a universal language has evaporated, we note that English is in the process of becoming if not the universal at least an omnipresent language. In many multilingual countries it has become the language of communication. Globally it is imposing itself as the language of business, aviation and scientific research. Is this a pure benefit for humanity, or does it conceal risks or even dangers? Is the spreading of English a secondary effect of Americanization? Is linguistic diversity being sacrificed? Only if the countries affected submit to linguistic and cultural homogenization. The ideal - which remains within reach - would be to accept English as a practical tool of communication without ceasing to strive for the maintenance and strength of other languages in symbiosis with their own cultures
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