Do you remember the Babel tale? When a man decided to reach God by building a tall tower. That didn’t work out as apparently God is not a big fan of pop-visits. So, he cursed the human race with the variety of languages and made the communication process pretty difficult. In our today’s reality, knowing many foreign languages is the way to stay in touch with your friends and business partners abroad. And it’s a resume winner. We’ve stopped thinking of the numerous languages as a curse and now treat them as a mean to enrich our knowledge and professionalism. But will the situation change in the future? Will there be a future language that everybody will speak and understand?
Well, it better be. According to the report of the Modern Language Association, we have a downward trend of American students learning foreign languages. In 2013 there were 100,000 less of them than in 2009.
The reason for that is the misleading perception of the English language popularity. A lot of native English speakers believe that it will always be the universal international language everyone understands. Why bother learning another language if the whole world is learning yours instead, right? Not exactly. The future of the French, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic and Russian languages looks much more promising. It all depends on how far in the future you want to look into.
1. Year 2050
It’s only thirty-four years left before the middle of this century comes but you still have enough time to learn as many languages as possible. Let’s try to find out which of them will help you communicate with future generations. The predictions are rather diverse and there is no unified opinion on this issue. But you’ll be able to draw some conclusions out of the following information yourself.
Communication Without Limits
Let’s say your goal is to be able to speak to as many people as you can in the future. What language(s) do you need for that? If we rely on the research results of a German linguistic expert Ulrich Ammon, you should learn Chinese, Spanish, and French. With these three languages, you’ll find it easy to communicate with people wherever you go. But there some points you have to keep in mind:
– there are a lot of people speaking Chinese but almost all of them live in China as it’s not widespread in other regions;
– the prediction of the Spanish language popularity is based on the fact that it’s taught worldwide as a second language. There are no guarantees this fact won’t change in the future;
– French has lost its popularity long ago but there is a chance to get it back. If the situation in West Africa gets more stable, the investors might get interested in it and trigger its economic development.
Future Language that Will Make You Rich
Now, let’s say you are not interested in communication at all. Your goal is to find a good job and earn a lot of money. What language(s) can help you become a successful entrepreneur in 2050? Most of the research data suggest that Chinese, Spanish, and English will be powerful languages in global business. You can also take a look at some of the developing economies and make a bet on them. BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China — can be a point of interest. It’s quite possible that Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, and Indonesian will be in control of the economic development in the future.
If we take the projection made by investment bank Natixis into consideration, French can become the most popular language by 2050. It might be spoken by 750 million people leaving Chinese and Spanish behind. All in all, there are numerous suggestions of what the future may bring and you have some the data to process and prepare for it. But what about your children and grandchildren? What future language should they learn to have more attractive opportunities?
2. Year 2115
Whatever language our future generations will speak, it will definitely be easy to learn. It’s unlikely for the humanity to keep torturing itself with numerous grammatical exceptions and unpronounceable words. There is a high probability that most of the 6,000 languages we have now, will disappear. If we look back at our history and make a projection based on it, we will see that a lot of languages spoken by small groups of people had and will have a hard time. And those languages that will manage to survive will change dramatically. The future language will become simpler and have the old unnecessary words replaced by the modern ones. The new versions will have smaller vocabularies.
On one hand, it’s a pity that most of the cultural heritage (which a language is certainly a part of) will be lost. But on the other hand, fewer languages will give a wonderful opportunity for effortless communication to all the people. There will be no more limits to whom you can talk as the language barrier will be pretty much absent.
What the Future Holds?
Probably, all of the languages mentioned above will make it to 2115 in one way or another. The more people speak the language the more chances for it to survive. We don’t pay attention to the way the language we speak changes over time. We simply get used to the new expressions and rules. But if we travel to 2115 now, we presumably won’t fully understand all the information the future has prepared for us.
There will be no single language everyone will speak. But There will be much less of the languages we now know, for sure. Let’s learn as many of them as possible to be open to the world and the future it has prepared for us. In 2016, we can rely on the record of the past centuries and the way the languages have been developing. There were times when French was spoken by the upper class in Russia and now it’s popular only among the citizens of France. Time changes everything. So, let’s wait with anticipation to see what the future language will be like.