What Language Might We Be Speaking in 50-100 Years?

Over the years, I’ve met many English Teachers. Not long ago, I was sitting at the patio at the local Starbucks talking to a fifth grade teacher who explained some of the challenges she went through to get the kids really doing well with their reading. We discussed tricks of the trade, lighting, control of the classroom, and the differences between male and female students at that young ago. Then we got into the ESL (English as a Second Language) issues.

I’ve also over the years talked to English Teachers from many other countries such as China, India, UAE, and Japan too. In fact, my cousin taught Japanese students English and they paid her very well to live in Japan for a number of years. Just recently, I was talking to an English teacher in yet a totally different time zone and noted that in many regards; “English is one of the most “screwed up languages” in the world due to its influences of Latin, French, etc, etc, and I stated “I don’t envy you, but it is necessary because it is the business and computer language of the world,” well at least for now.

Indeed, I suppose in 50-years that might change to Chinese, Arabic, or Spanish due to the demographic changes afoot, those higher birth rates do seem to tell a future tale of the ethnic make-up of humans on this planet. Not sure if it will be a net-positive in the future, but, this is what the data does suggest, so we will see. Still, my new acquaintance suggests that Chinese or Spanish will not take over in at least the next 50-years, but that an “International English” or a mixture might eventually become the Global Human Language some day.

Okay so, this is an interesting point and that may be so in fact. After all we have what something like 400 million English Speaking Chinese now, yes most is somewhat broken, but it certainly supports such a forecast. With regards to “Spanish” there are a lot of emerging nations in South America of course, with decent birth rates. The Middle Eastern “procreation” in Europe is interesting to watch and significant, along with the self-segregating and maintaining their own language and culture too.

There are some decent current trends towards global assimilation of English, or perhaps as my acquaintance suggests an “International English” mixture. Well, sure, after all, that’s how languages survive historically, ad with the Internet, text messaging, etc. – we may find that to be. I’ve already noticed changes, and various dropped rules in the writing of English online. This was an interesting piece in the New York Times, which somewhat gives an interesting perspective on at least one of my thoughts, which supports this hypothesis of an International English for our future.


1. Article, New York Times Magazine, “Everyone Speaks Text Message” by Tina Rosenberg, published on 12-11-2011.

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