Summary of What the World Will Speak in 2115

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Dramatic population shifts and the dominance of the English language mean that the world’s linguistic landscape will change dramatically through the 21st century. A significant number of languages will fall by the wayside, and those that remain will become “streamlined,” making them easier to learn. Columbia University linguist John H. McWhorter argues that while the loss of languages is surely regrettable and multilingualism is far from over, the streamlining of the remaining languages will enhance mutual comprehension. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in what the global linguistic landscape will look like for future generations.

About the Author

John H. McWhorter, PhD, teaches linguistics, philosophy, American studies and music at Columbia University. His most recent book is The Language Hoax.



English is currently the world’s linguistic medium. Nearly two billion people speak it in 2015, and it is well on its way to being spoken by every third person on the planet. The dominance of English has raised some premature fears that it could become the world’s only language. While vastly fewer languages will be spoken 100 years from now – down from the current 6,000 to around 600 – a multiplicity of languages will continue to flourish.

In the future, a distinct shift will mark languages: They will...

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