Andy Rooney : Not being sad over lost languages.
Experts who have given their grown-up lives learning the words of man have the opinion that there are about 7,000 languages in over the earth, may of which are going away through un-use. The experts in the story I read give regret of the death of the number of languages. Not me.
I don't go with these language experts who seem to believe more is better. I believe that the less languages we have, the better off society will be. It's not going to take place for another thousand years, but in the end only one language will be used by everyone round the earth. If there are unseen languages that give some important amount to the distribution of knowledge, then those languages would be right to exist, but I doubt there are a great number of these. I don't even believe there are any. I have a list of languages you've probably never heard of. For example, there's Ainu, Bikya, Bom, Livonian, Megati Ke, -- and don't but out of mind Sandskrit, which still exists in parts of India. In Russia there's a language named Chulym, which language experts take to be still written and said by only 100 persons. Canada has about 25 languages said by only a handful of men and women.
I am troubled about being given the name xenophobic (having a fear or unpleased of strangers) for saying so, but I believe the earth would be a better place if everyone used English. The English language is far from all that is desired -- as a point of interest, it's a twisted mass rules. A great number of its rules of right usage make no sense, but I believe it's the best language on the earth -- mostly because it's one of the greatest in size. The more words there are in a language, the better that language is at putting into words all the idea we have.
French is generally in high opinion for its smooth-sounding motion but there are only 125,000 French words. Between a half-million and a million words are in the English language. The German language is greater in size than French. After we came out best in WWII, we'd have done the Germans a kind act if we'd made them all use English. Spanish is one of the quickest-growing languages. I frequently give thought that it would be good for me to take some night school to learn Spanish. but if I took night school for learning everything that would be good for me to learn, I wouldn't get much sleep.
One of the interesting things about the English language is that every frequently the persons who say it in one country are hardly able to be clear about the other saying it in another country. There are parts of England where an American would go without food if he had to order a meal in what he has belief is English. I am not certain if this is true of French, Spanish and German.
One of the more notable attempts to produce a common language was made in 1887 when some men of letters invented Esperanto. The word itself has the sense of "one who hopes." and that's what its inventors did. They hoped Esperanto would become the one language used over the earth. They were with thoughts in the air and it never came about.
In 1951, an organization with the name for itself of the International Auxiliary Language Association came up with Interlingua, but they didn't have any more good outcome pushing that as an all-purpose language than supporters of Esperanto did.
There has at all times been some international stopping effect to the general taking of English, but there isnít any other language that's pleasing to everyone. A number of countries and persons in the United Nations have made an attempt to slow the growth of English to the chief place, but they're not doing well. English is simply a fact of living in the United Nations.
Andy Rooney is a nationally-syndicated writer. His column appears Sundays in papers round the country. Put into Basic by the Basic English Institute, 28 October 2007.