The Instigator
nnikolov30
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
THElittleRISK
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

English as the only official language in the world.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
THElittleRISK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,994 times Debate No: 35036
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (6)

 

nnikolov30

Pro

This is a wonderful site, very interesting and keeping you occupied, so after reading a couple of debates, I wanted to start my own and I decided the topic of the debate should refer to my favorite daily topic and hobby - languages.

What I would like to stand up for as an argument is that in a near future, the English language should be the only official language in the world. By that, I mean there should be a law in all countries that should say that everybody should need to have the English language at least as a second mother tongue and with time, the language has become so widespread that the world doesn't need interpreters, so that people don't misunderstand their fellow foreigners and overall so that the globe becomes a more united, cosmopolitan and friendly place.

I must say that my native language isn't English, so I haven't got a special attitude towards it, nor that I feel oppressed of speaking an Eastern European languages with little to 6 million people. I am starting this debate purely of linguistic reasons.

History has knows a lot of cases when people not only want, but need to speak the same language, even when a lingua franca has been already established (i.e. Russonorsk language - an unique mixture of Russian and Norwegian, which has become a neutral language of its own, being used by Russian and Norwegian merchants of fish that could not cope of having to learn at old age a completely new language, but rather mix their two languages in an effort of understanding each other the most efficient way possible).

I would be glad if a similar language passioné like me do that debate with me, I am looking forward to it :)
THElittleRISK

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for giving me the chance to debate him on this highly interesting topic.

My argument will be in two parts: Why the official language of the world should not be English, and why if any, it should be Esperanto.

Why the official language of the world should not be English-
English ranks third in number of native speakers, after Spanish and Mandarin Chinese (1). It also ranks second in overall number of speakers, after Standard Chinese (2). This means English would not be the easiest language to teach to the world. Language is an important part of culture, without individual languages each country would lose some of its traditions. A global primary language may make the world a more cosmopolitan place, but it would also make it a more monotonous one.

Why if any, it should be Esperanto-
I propose that instead of having English as the primary language of each country, we should have Esperanto as the secondary tongue of each country. This way, each country gets to retain their cultural heritage while having a means to communicate with the rest of the world. Esperanto was designed by linguists to be easy to learn by all populations, as it incorporates various characteristics from a wide variety of languages. Esperanto has been proven to be one of the easiest languages to learn (3). Esperanto fulfills all the upsides of having a global language without any of the downsides of having an ethnic global language. It is for this reason that I believe that if any language should be instituted on a global scale, it should be Esperanto.

I look forward to my opponent's response!

Sources:
1: https://www.cia.gov...
2: http://www.ethnologue.com...
3: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
nnikolov30

Pro

Thank you so much, THElittleRISK, for the fast engagement, I am starting to really like this website!!
My next argument will also be in two parts, rebutting Con's two arguments from my own point of view.

First, I completely agree that English ranks third in number of native speakers, but what I do find necessary to rebut is Con's argument that English would not be the easiest language to teach to the world. Mandarin Chinese, as number one language by its native speakers, can never be as easy to learn as English, despite the fact that the English language also has a fairly difficult orthography for beginners, but don't forget that English is written with an alphabet and isn't tonal. Also, 98-99% of Mandarin Chinese speakers are found in mainland People's Republic of China (as we all know, Taiwan's and Singapore's population add up to some 30 million people (1), whereas the PRC's population is 1,353,000,000 people (2)), which is a single-party socialist state and overall, people have little interest in learning Mandarin Chinese, because it's the Chinese who have interest in exporting to overseas (Made in China stuff), it's not the other way around. As for the Spanish language, it's practically the same. Spanish is indeed spoken by more than 500 million people as a native language, but the countries that speak it are not so developed as those, who speak English as a mother tongue (USA, Canada, Australia, the UK). And you have probably misunderstood my first argument, I didn't say the English language should replace the mother tongues of the different countries, but instead, to become an official "world language", i.e. a status never given to a language before. That means that it would be mandatory for all citizens of the world to learn it as it's mandatory to learn their own languages. Following that statement, the world will not become a more monotonous place, but instead, a more interesting one, and a more easier one to live in, because everybody knowing English will be ten times more at ease to communicate with his fellow human beings all over the Earth.

Why, in my opinion, should it not be Esperanto:
English currently acts as a "lingua franca" between peoples since the rise of English diplomacy in 1919 (3) and why is that? Because, like I said, currently one of the most powerful countries are all speaking English as a first language. There are thousands of intercontinental enterprises whose CEOs are English-speaking, English still is the language of diplomacy, the language of almost all unions and organisations and it has been their official language for a long time, that means the people working there whose first language isn't English are now used to it, it has become their second language, because they are obliged to speak it fluently.
Now if Esperanto actually was based on some West Germanic language (something like modern Scots or Dutch, which is a little less close to English), I would agree that it could be made the 'official language' of the world, and not English, because some of the people might consider that a bit chauvinistic and anglophile from the part of the English speakers, and it would be a thousand times easier to learn for the masses, because up to 750 million people speak FLUENT English as a second language (4), and Esperanto is based on Latin language stems, and there are A LOT that are different of those in English (of course, if you speak a Romance language, i.e. French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese, it will certainly be easy, but people who speak a Romance language actually use it to speak in the country that uses that language, as you can never be sure if the interlocutor speaks French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese, whereas one can be sure that at least a quarter of the human population can at least hold a basic-to-intermediate conversation with English, those people are not officially counted). This is why if people decide that English should NOT be announced as the official language of the world, the conlang that should take that place has to be based off English or off a close relative of it.

Sources:
(1) https://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) https://en.wikipedia.org...
(3) https://en.wikipedia.org...
(4) https://en.wikipedia.org...
THElittleRISK

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his challenging rebuttal. I will do my best to counter the points he has made.

I agree that Chinese would be harder to learn than English, but to most Asiatic populations Chinese is easier to learn because it is more similar to their native language than English. Chinese also has a higher growth rate than English, at 1277.4% compared to 281.2% for English (1). I am sorry that I misunderstood your argument, however my point remains basically the same. Making English the global language would give an unfair advantage to all native English speakers since they would be more skilled at English than most other people (there are obvious exceptions, for example your English is excellent), and would not have to learn a new language. If everyone speaks English, there is really no need for other languages, leading to a loss of culture and tradition.

While that last statement may seem contradictory to my argument for Esperanto, English is an ethnic language that has a geographic base of speakers and a culture tied with it. While it may seem like a disadvantage to Esperanto that it does not, it is actually better because since it has no cultural or historic ties to any one country, it is less likely that Esperanto would render other languages useless like English possibly could. Esperanto would also give everyone an equal chance to learn a new language and would not favor any particular country/group. Although my opponent argues that Esperanto would be harder for most of the population to learn than English, research has shown that it is possibly four times easier to learn than any other language (2). In Esperanto, every letter has just one sound; every sound has just one letter representing it. The emphasis is always on the next-to-last syllable. So once you learn the alphabet, you can pronounce anything you read, and you can spell anything you hear. And you can learn the whole system in a few minutes. Compared to most languages, Esperanto's grammar is extremely simplified R13; stripped down to the bare necessities. Verbs have only six endings. Esperanto also gives you prefixes and suffixes that you can use to multiply your vocabulary and cut down on the number of words you have to learn. My opponent argues that the global language should be based off of English in order to appeal to those who already speak it. Esperanto has several related words in English (bona -> bonus, alta -> altitude, feliĉa -> felicitous). About 70% of Esperanto vocabulary is directly or indirectly derived from Latin roots, many of which also appear in English. Another major chunk is from Germanic roots (hundo, hound or dog). So English speakers should be able to understand a good part of the words with little trouble. I agree that since English is so widely used it may seem like a better option, however I believe that Esperanto would be better still since it does not favor any group, has no culture attached to it, and is the easiest foreign language to learn.

I look forward to the conclusion of this great debate!

Sources:
1: http://net-lang.net...
2: https://www.google.com...
Debate Round No. 2
nnikolov30

Pro

nnikolov30 forfeited this round.
THElittleRISK

Con

Dissapointingly, my opponent has forfeited this round. If he wishes to debate me again on another linguistic topic he is more than welcome to challenge me.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by GOP 3 years ago
GOP
nnikolov30THElittleRISKTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 3 years ago
TheHitchslap
nnikolov30THElittleRISKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by JonMilne 3 years ago
JonMilne
nnikolov30THElittleRISKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
nnikolov30THElittleRISKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
nnikolov30THElittleRISKTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro actually put forward a fairly good debate, so it is a shame that we don't get to see a real conclusion. As it stands, several of Con's strongest points remain uncontested and therefore stand: Esperanto's ease of use, simplicity, similarity to Latin, and minimized cultural bias do indeed make it better poised for worldwide adoption than English in many respects. Pro could have countered this by pointing out that its lack of cultural bias also means it has no passionate champions invested in its success. Even most fairly well educated people probably haven't even heard of it, let alone supported its adoption. But those arguments were never made by Pro, so Con's points stand. Conduct is for FF.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 3 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
nnikolov30THElittleRISKTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF.