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Spanish



     Don Emmerson foresees:
     The tendency for a very widely spoken language to "break up" over time into regional variants that may themselves become distinctive. In the 22nd century there may be multiple "Englishes." (Arguably, to a limited extent, there already are.) I realize that globalization may inhibit the viability of linguistic distinctiveness through global travel and communication. But it is not difficult to imagine disruptive--antiglobalizing--scenarios in which the "Davos culture" will someday be regarded as having been less a harbinger than a conceit. One need not expect a Huntingtonian clash of civilizations to believe that issues of identity and its expression through a "mother" tongue will not soon disappear. One might press this speculation further by wondering how artificial (computer) and natural languages will interface.


     My comment: The idea that English will break up has its proponents, but I do not believe it. In the nineteenth century many believed that, just as Latin has broken up into the Romance languages, Spanish would break up, so that there would be "Mexican," "Peruvian", etc. Argentinians promoted the idea of "el idioma nacional de los argentinos," and brought in lunfardo, the slang of the Buenos Aires docks, to make it a reality.
     It has not happened. Fortunately, Spanish remains a united language, and, with modern communications, English will too.

Ronald Hilton - 2/16/00


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