I am writing to argue for the view that a global language would destroy our culture. My opinion on this matter is rooted in the basis that, as a species, the human race is unifying more and more thanks to globalisation, the Internet and a healthier attitude towards multiculturalism and that, as a result, our language is one of the few, remaining, significant aspects of our individual cultures. David Crystal, a well-known linguistic expert, expresses this view: “there are clear signs of growing awareness, within English-speaking communities, of the need to break away from the traditional monolingual bias.” (Crystal 18). This view is representative of a world without boundaries and a race of people who are beginning to recognise each other as individuals with their own ideas, views and cultures.
In the first decade of the 21st Century, the world has seen a vast number of differences being made in the way in which we communicate and operate globally. For instance, the Internet has enabled individuals to communicate freely through the use of tools such as Facebook and Skype and this has opened up avenues for businesses as well as private individuals to explore the new global community phenomenon. Our cultures are more inter-mingled than ever with immigration at record highs internationally: in 2010, the American process of ‘naturalization’ (i.e. the process by which internationals become American citizens) was extended to 619,913 individuals from numerous countries including Africa, Europe, South America, Oceania, and Asia. (Homeland Security 2010). All of these places have their own cultures and styles which are now to be integrated into the American way of life. This means that multiculturalism is more prevalent than ever before and so the impetus must be placed on the importance of everyone having their own language as a way of maintaining their cultural status.
That said, I also feel that for this to be a respectable representation of our culture, we must mutually respect each other’s language and, like David Crystal states, we must begin to recognise the need for the acquisition of other languages than our own. For instance, I once went on holiday to Spain with my family and we got lost on our way to a historical site; my Mother is able to speak French but not Spanish and the man we stopped to ask for help, was able to speak French but not English and so the American woman and the Spanish man conversed easily with one another in French. This is an example of how language is an important cultural heritage to us but it is also (and some may argue primarily) a communication tool which allows us to explore other cultures respectfully.
In conclusion, I put it to you that a global language would be a disaster simply because language is one of the few things that still distinguish the various cultures from one another, in a world that is ever-decreasing in size. Globalization, whilst a wonderful thing is also drawing a close to the mysteries of the world outside of our front doors and our language is what represents our culture most fully as we step out to explore other cultures. In a world where our neighbours may have been born thousands of miles away, it is important that we are able to communicate but still retain our natural, linguistic heritage.
Crystal, David. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
“U.S. Naturalizations: 2010.” dhs.gov. James Lee, April 2011. Web. 8 May 2011.