Will Mankind Ever Speak One Language?

 by Isabella Frobisher

Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel, 1563
With over 6500 spoken languages across the world today, with Chinese Mandarin being the most popular, will we ever come to a point when we all speak the same language in this constantly developing world? 

In the next 100 years, it is predicted that 90% of all of today’s current languages will die out (will not be spoken anymore), leaving only around 600 languages left. This colossal difference between the two numbers shows that there is rapidly becoming less and less need for such a great variety in languages and therefore, the idea of a more commonly spoken language is becoming more appealing to more and more people. Also the fact that Latin, the language spoken by the powerful Roman Empire has subsequently become a dead language shows that it is highly dependent on the living people on whether the language survives or not. With a language going extinct every two weeks and this idea that the living people maintain the language highlights that there is a strong chance that we could all end up speaking the same mother tongue language, especially if we desire to do so.

If we did speak one language, it would greatly unite us as people, which is especially important at this time in the world. One language would enable us to communicate with anyone no matter what their background. We would be more connected to one another, understanding and respectful. Certain discrimination would disappear, language barriers gone and more inclusion would occur. Thus, mankind would feel more connected than ever before; communication could never be easier.

Furthermore, globalisation (the process of interaction and integration among people, companies and governments worldwide) is becoming to have greater significance in the modern world. It has led to English being known as the ‘world language’ which is used across the world for business, travel and education and is the foundation for the ‘world brain’. Thus, it has become an allure to be able to communicate using this ‘world language’, conveying how humans greatly desire to be connected with one another. Also the fact that jobs involving globalisation have a ‘world language’ highlights that it is much more efficient and more the modern way for there to be only one language. Additionally, this ‘world language’ portrays that country borders and language barriers are becoming less relevant to, emphasising how one language is becoming a greater necessity for mankind. Thus, with the more advanced areas of our world understanding that having one spoken language is the more modern and efficient way forward shows that mankind is soon going to have to face the dilemma of whether or not we should all speak the same language.

 On the other hand in 1887, L.L.Zamenhof created a language called Esperanto for the sole purpose for mankind to only speak one language. However, only 2 million people ended up actually being able to speak the language, nowhere near enough the sheer size it needed to be. Thus, even when someone did design a whole new language with its sole intention to be the only spoken language, not nearly enough support was produced. Therefore, for there to be only one spoken language, support from mankind is the key; people must be willing to speak it. Without mankind to back up there being only one language, it is virtually impossible for there to be one. The fact that this has already been done and miserably failed emphasises that we are still a long way for there to be one spoken language.

In addition to this, language vastly represents culture. Without a unique language for a culture, people would feel as if they have lost a part of their identity, especially as language contributes greatly to shaping one’s identity. If there was only one language it would have catastrophic effects on billions of people; people would feel as if they have lost a connection to their ancestors. Furthermore, people would believe that diversity and freedom to express yourself was looked down upon by society as they feel that their culture has been taken by society. All of which goes greatly against present day morals and if we did take it upon ourselves to speak only one language people would feel as if it’s a violation of their human rights. Thus, in today’s society when diversity and culture is celebrated one language would seem the greatest violation.

Additionally, in the last few decades technology has come so far that in one tap of a button we can have a translation from another language, making communication easier than ever before. With technology continuing to develop, who knows what will happen in the future? Therefore, the language barrier is not and will never be as great as it has been previously. So why do we need to all speak the same language if communicating is so simple? We are just being and wanting to become lazier and lazier as a human race. Why would you want everything so boringly simple? Hence, there is no need to speak only one language due to a communication basis.

Therefore, despite unity being brought with speaking one language it would fundamentally undermine us as a race. People would feel that their freedom for their identity would be looked down upon in society and diversity would be not wanted. Thus, even though speaking one language would bring us so many advantages such as communicating to one another more easily and the more modern and efficient way to communicate with one another because of globalisation. It’s disadvantages vastly outweigh the benefits due to language playing a huge part in culture and technology causing language barriers to be nearly insignificant already. Also the fact that L.L.Zamenhof recently tried and miserably failed emphasises society is not ready for only one language. Hence, without the support of the vast majority of the human population, we will nowhere in the near future be speaking only one mother tongue.