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.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why people will speak fewer languages a century from now,
- How the languages that survive will become “streamlined,” and
- Why having fewer and less complex languages bodes well for enhanced communication.
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.
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