The Instigator
RoyalFlush100
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
masterer1
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The world would better if there was one language everyone could speak

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
RoyalFlush100
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,141 times Debate No: 72765
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

RoyalFlush100

Pro

Pro (me) has to prove that the world would be better if there was one language everyone could speak and Con has to prove that the world would be worse if there was one language everyone could speak.

First round is acceptance only.
masterer1

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
RoyalFlush100

Pro

I forgot to post this in the 1st round, but hopefully my opponent won't mind. Con cannot introduce any new arguments in the final round as Pro has no chance to rebut it (only respond to anything Pro said).

C1-Fairness
The top 10 ranked universities in the world are located in either the UK or the US, yet they have applicants from across the world. (1) These countries both have heavy English language majorities and almost every class is taught in English. This is really unfair to those who cannot speak English, who would have otherwise been accepted to one of these schools. English is also considered to be the dominant language of business, science, of aviation, computers, diplomacy, tourism, media, and the Internet. (2) This encourages people around the world to learn English as it is required in many jobs on the international level or to enjoy certain forms of media in their purest form (movies, books, and websites). (2) This automatically puts native English speakers at an unfair advantage compared to the others and those who struggle learning English. Not being able to speak the language spoken by the majority in an area also can hurt one's chance at employment. The Brookings Institution found that in the US, you were less likely to be successful if you did not speak English. (3) In fact, in the US there are many circumstances in which English only policies can be adapted in the workplace. (4) This hurts immigrants to these countries who will probably need to learn English to be successful, while native speakers know it from birth. However, all the examples I mentioned could be made much more fair if the language barrier didn't exist. Therefore, if everyone could speak one language, the world would be more fair.

C2-Efficiency
Canada, which has English and French as its official languages, was found by the Fraser Institute to spend $2.4-billion a year on bilingualism. (5) This is an extremely inefficient way to spend money, but if everyone could speak the same language, this money could be spent better elsewhere (e.g. healthcare). As mentioned above, many people have to learn certain languages to be successful or enjoy certain forms of entertainment. However, many people would have much more time if they didn't have to spend potentially years mastering a language. Also, several people need to hire translators due to the language barrier. This makes conversations longer and leads to greater risk of a communication error. However, without the language barrier, conversations could be shorter, flow better, with much less risk to an error in communication.

C3-Discrimination
Many Asian people (Chinese specifically) are discriminated against for Chinese languages in Western countries. (6) If everyone could speak the same language though, that would be one less form of discrimination in the world. Also, as mentioned above many employers in the US favour people who speak English. However, this form of discrimination would end if everyone could speak the same language. Also, the British Empire discriminated against the Scots language, considering it to not be "a suitable medium of education or culture". (7) However, if everyone spoke the same language that would not be of concern. A similar thing happened in the Balkans when Slobodan Milosevic demanded that Albanians speak Serbian, but their refusal led to war. (8) This war very well could have been avoided if everyone could speak the same language as Milosevic wouldn't have made that demand.

C4-Communication
With the Internet and other advanced communication, people from across the world can share communicate and share ideas. In fact, the University of Berkeley says "the progress of science depends on interactions within the scientific community". (9) The technology mentioned above makes the potential for a greater amount of interactions in the scientific community possible. However, the language barrier could potentially prohibit this, as a communication breakdown might occur. Also, many people use forums on the Internet for their hobbies and interests, so they can communicate and share ideas with people with similar interests. However, these forums are typically run in only one language. If everyone spoke the same language, however, forums would have much larger website activity. Also, the Internet allows people to market their products across the globe, but if not everyone speaks the same language the potential that is provided from the Internet for marketing is wasted.

1-http://www.topuniversities.com...
2-http://www.experienceenglish.com...
3-http://www.southcoasttoday.com...
4-http://www.forbes.com...
5-http://news.nationalpost.com...
6-http://en.wikipedia.org...
7-http://en.wikipedia.org...
8-http://harvardmagazine.com...
9-http://undsci.berkeley.edu...
masterer1

Con

This is my first debate, so if you guys could offer me lots of good constructive feedback, that would be great. Also, by having a single language everyone could speak, I'm assuming that the other spoken languages become obsolete and not used at all/completely destroyed, otherwise the debate wouldn't be fair or fun.

C1: The world we live in is a beautiful place. There are several factors that contribute to the beauty of Planet Earth, but a key feature is the diversity that is in the world. Earth is a diverse place with plenty of different ethnicities, countries, and cultures. However, the most various aspect is language. There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world as of right now, and they all have some sort of history behind each and every one of them (1). Every individual language has an origin, some sort of root, and a story associated to what the language consists of today. For example, English actually originated in Germany in the Anglo-Frisian districts and made its way to Britain over the course of several invasions (2). If the world was to have a single language, the memories and stories connected to all the other 6,499 languages such as the rich history of English would vanish and be lost forever. Imagine not knowing your own roots or origins, or even your identity. The cultures associated to the languages would lose what is arguably the most important features in their societies, thus lessening the distinctiveness and losing very remarkable aspects in the cultures.

C2: There are several jobs that involve the studies and uses of languages. These jobs include teaching, studying, interpreting, and translating. In fact, there were 63,600 interpreters and translators in the U.S as of 2012 (9). To rid of foreign languages and settle for one single language would destroy all of these jobs that provide money and employment for all of these people. These people would be left unemployed and wouldn't be able to use their talents.

R1: Pro states that non-English speakers are given a disadvantage while applying for jobs or schools compared to native English speakers. I disagree, because foreign language speakers are given opportunities that others are not. Knowing a foreign language while living in the U.S is very beneficial. There are several foreign language scholarships which you can receive that can get people into several colleges, such as the Critical Language Program (3) and the Boren Awards (4). Along with college, knowing a foreign language can also be beneficial in job applications and can support better careers. College graduates with foreign language skills often earn a 2% to 3% higher wage than their English-only peers, according to a study conducted by CNN (5). Ridding other languages and settling for one common language would clear all of these possibilities, which would also strip foreign language speakers of their opportunities to excel above other native English speakers.

R2: According to the 2006 Canadian Census, for employment rates for the population aged 15 and over separated by bilingualism, people that could speak both English and French had higher employment rates by about 5% than people that could only speak one language (6). The bilingual advantage carries to income as well, as people who could speak both English and French had a median income of $24,974, which was nearly 10% higher than the median income of $22,987 of those who could speak English only, and 40% higher than the median income of $17,659 for those who could speak French only (6). Along with that, it was shown in a study done with 63 Canadian companies that 84% of the employers would give preference to bilinguals fluent in both English and French (6). This shows how the bilingualism is a massive advantage in applying for jobs and having successful careers, which is definitely worth the money spent on educating/servicing the two languages of English and French in Canada.

R3: Pro states that discrimination due to language is a problem, especially discrimination among the Chinese by Western Countries. In contrary to that, in 2006 at the higher education level, there were 51,582 students learning Chinese, which was a 52% increase over 2002 (7), The students that are learning Chinese are not doing this to mock or discriminate the language, because that wouldn't make any sense. They are doing this because they respect and like the language, which differs from Pro's claim that the Chinese language is being discriminated. Pro also states that the Balkan Wars happened because of discrimination of language. However, this was done by the leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was later charged by the U.N in the terms of genocide; complicity in genocide; deportation; murder; persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds; inhumane acts/forcible transfer; extermination; imprisonment; torture; willful killing; unlawful confinement; wilfully causing great suffering; unlawful deportation or transfer; extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly; cruel treatment; plunder of public or private property; attacks on civilians; destruction or wilful damage done to historic monuments and institutions dedicated to education or religion; and unlawful attacks on civilian objects (8). This ruler cannot be deemed a standard for discrimination due to his criminal acts, which flaws Pro's example.

R4: Pro is stating that there is potential for the language barrier to restrict communication between people. However, Pro does not state any instances where this actually has been a problem in the world, implying that throughout the history of mankind, the language barrier has not been a problem. And also in order to prevent this from ever being a problem, there are interpreters and translators all over the world. In fact, there were 63,600 interpreters and translators in the U.S as of 2012 (9). These people do their jobs to make sure that communication through different languages is easier than ever, and are doing well in this.

1- http://www.infoplease.com...
2- http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3- http://exchanges.state.gov...
4- https://www.borenawards.org...
5- http://money.cnn.com...
6- http://www.ccl-cca.ca...
7- http://asiasociety.org...
8- http://www.icty.org...
9- http://www.bls.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
RoyalFlush100

Pro

We'll say for the debate that there would be one language in everyday use, but some may still study others (like people do today with Latin).

R1:
Pro asserts that if there was one language, the history of other languages would be forgotten. However, there is little reason to assume that. Much is known about the history of the Latin language, despite the fact the language has less than 100 fluent speakers. (6, 7) Also, English's history is recorded, so there is little reason for its history will be forgotten. Con doesn't even really prove that the language would be forgotten.

Also, sometimes language can be dangerous to cultures. Marc Shell, professor at Harvard, describes language as the "key battleground for national and cultural conflict." (8) An example of this was shown during the Bengali Language Movement. It started in what was Northern India, which has a Muslim majority (modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh) and the language of Urdu was promoted. However, many people in the area still spoke Bengali. Despite having similar cultures otherwise, this led to a conflict in the area, resulting, among other things, in protesters being shot and the Bangladesh Liberation War. (9) Even though having diverse cultures is great, language can divide people too much, which is because it is more tangible than race or religion. (8) One cannot hide the fact they speak a different language and people of different languages cannot talk to each other directly, which can divide people more than any other difference in culture could. For example, Canada, which has found a way for English and French culture to live side by side in harmony, still sees a lot of conflict arise due to the differing languages. Many English speaking Canadians feel that French is given too much preference in Quebec (the only province in Canada with a French majority), while many French speaking Canadians feel that they are oppressed by the English majority of the country. (10, 11) However, without the language barrier, the conflict between English and French Canadians would be much less severe.

R2:
Con asserts that people would lose jobs and opportunities if there was one world language. Although translators will need to enter new fields, there are other language related jobs that wouldn't have to be suffered. In fact, in many places teachers who teach foreign languages would be able to teach another subject. (12) Also, any benefits kids who can speak different languages doesn't compare to the amount of people around the world who don't speak English, and therefore don't even have a chance at attending some of the world's top universities (even if they're intelligent enough), considering there are about 5.5 billion people around the world who cannot speak English. (13) Finally, Con mentions the benefits that bilingual people in Canada get. However, one can turn that around and say it would be more fair without the language barrier. Especially considering that certain areas of Canada get more exposure to French and therefore can learn the language easier. (14):



C1:
Con doesn't actually rebut anything in this contention. I specified people who couldn't or had trouble speaking English, while Con is using examples of people who know other languages. However, Pro does argue that if there was one language, people wouldn't get benefits they do today for being able to speak multiple languages. My rebuttal to this can be seen under R2.

C2:
Con once again fails to rebut anything in this contention. Instead, he shows that those who are bilingual in Canada are more successful on average. My rebuttal to this can be seen under R2.

C3:
Con's rebuttal to my claim regarding discrimination against Chinese languages doesn't prove anything related to the topic. Just because plenty of people are learning Chinese languages doesn't mean there aren't people who do discriminate against it. Con also doesn't even address the example of discrimination against the Scots language. However, Con asserts that because Milosevic was so evil he cannot be considered the standard for discrimination. Even if the example in Albania was extreme, there are countless other examples of discrimination or abuse due to language. Today in certain places in Africa, school children who speak their mother tongue are subject to abuse or ridicule. (2) This isn't a one off example. When German teachers were trying to make school children in Września speak German instead of their native language (Polish) in school, they would subject the children to corporal punishment if they spoke Polish. (3) One final example of someone's language being discriminated against was in Syria prior to its Civil War. It was illegal for anything to be published in Kurdish. (4)

C4:
Like I mentioned, advancement of science requires interactions within the scientific community. Basic logic would dictate that if there isn't a language barrier there could be more interaction, and therefore science would advance faster. Also, it's often not practical to have translators. Start-up businesses who have little money to create advertisements in different languages will have a limited target demographic without language. Also, translators aren't always reliable. Moreover, this is completely useless on the Internet. If an Internet page is in a different language there is no way to get it translated properly. In fact, universal translators may never be possible. (5)


1-http://en.wikipedia.org...
2-http://thisisafrica.me...
3-http://en.wikipedia.org...
4-http://en.wikipedia.org...
5-http://www.fluentin3months.com...
6-http://en.wikipedia.org...
7-http://www.bbc.com...
8-http://harvardmagazine.com...
9-http://en.wikipedia.org...
10-http://en.wikipedia.org...
11-http://www.britannica.com...
12-http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
13-http://en.wikipedia.org...
14-http://www.statcan.gc.ca...
masterer1

Con

Good argument. I'm stumped and I concede.
Debate Round No. 3
RoyalFlush100

Pro

Arguments extended.
masterer1

Con

The world would indeed be better if there was one universal language.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
RoyalFlush100masterer1Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession