Why does everywhere speak English?

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Joe90
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25 Sep 2022, 10:34 pm

It's as if out of like 7,000 languages I'm blessed to speak what seems to be the 'main' language, because it's always spoken at airports. When I went to Poland the airport only announced flights in Polish and English. Majorly convenient for ME, highly inconvenient for non-English speaking travellers, for example, German people.

Also when we were in Poland a lot of the Polish people there spoke a bit of English, even when we were in non-tourist places. But here in England we're not required to learn Polish even though there's a lot of people from Poland that live here (good job as well because I suck at learning other languages).

I even read that the majority of the world's population don't actually speak English. So why is English spoken everywhere, particularly at airports?


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cyberdad
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25 Sep 2022, 10:43 pm

The British empire disseminated English further afield than other language in the world. It thus made sense it was the language of international commerce.

In the past history empires were the biggest reason for the spread of languages. For example Greek, Roman and Latin were once spoken across hundreds of kingdoms.

Arabic was well understood throughout Africa and versions of Arabic such as Swahili are even native languages in east Africa.

Chinese is likewise spread through trade and settlement and spoken throughout Asia



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25 Sep 2022, 11:08 pm

Like cyberdad said, blame the British Empire.



Agent_Elflord
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26 Sep 2022, 12:22 am

Kind of like an international language of business



Where_am_I
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26 Sep 2022, 12:31 am

Because when the British went around invading countries/being genocidal maniacs, the rest of the world had to learn how to tell them to f**k off.


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IsabellaLinton
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26 Sep 2022, 12:34 am

Where_am_I wrote:
Because when the British went around invading countries/being genocidal maniacs, the rest of the world had to learn how to tell them to f**k off.


This one works for me. ^



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26 Sep 2022, 1:00 am

It reminds me of a certain message I wrote back in good old 1998. Back then, they had MGH Neurology Web Forums, hosted by John Lester. It had sections for different conditions, including autism. I was there because of autism forum. Anyway, one day I wrote a message, titled "Article in Russian" that I sent to ALL forums. In that message I asked, in Russian, how come everyone in that forum speaks English instead of speaking in all languages. I asked whether the participants come from all countries or just from America. If just from America, why? If from all countries, why don't they write in all languages? I then ended that message by saying that if its easier for you, you can respond in English. I only wrote it in Russian to see how many people would understand me. I got some of the responses that gave me a good laugh:

1) Some people said to me "don't you realize by writing it in Russian you lose 99% of the audience". I assume they probably did not bother translating what I wrote. Yet they happened to answer my question -- without knowing they were answering my question

2) There was one woman, at Rombergs forum I believe, who asked her Russian co-worker to translate it for her. So she posted the translation into English (written by her co-worker) and then posted her own response. In her own response she said that when she was asking her co-worker to translate, she was assuming it is something about Rombergs.But now that she sees that it isn't, she is really angry. She added that she isn't including her contact information so that I don't bother her with my foolishness (this goes to show how much things changed between 1998 and now: right now virtually nobody includes contact information but back then it was apparently a norm) But its funny how she thought it was about Rombergs given that I posted on all forums and I myself a member of a forum that has nothing to do with it. Plus its funny that she thought I was trying to write about medical condition while genuinely trying to overcome language barrier but actually there was no language barrier, I didn't care about that medical condition, and language was pretty much the whole point of it.

3) Then there were some respnses that commented on this being posted on all forums. I remember one response that said "I don't know what the game is, but every single forum has it". That phrasing sounded like different forums all agree to post it, as opposed to one person (me) posting it on all of them.

4) Just the way I wrote it on the first place looks funny. Because if something is written in Russian, then it might seem as if I am directing it to my fellow Russians. But actually I am directing it to everyone. I am simply using Russian because its no different than English. I have to pick some language, why not Russian. So its kinda funny how I wrote it in Russian yet weren't addressing it specifically to Russian people.

Anyway there was a lot more responses. Obviuosly I don't remember all of them. But I had a good laugh, even though most of them didn't mean to be funny.



r00tb33r
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26 Sep 2022, 2:06 am

While English isn't the first language (or last) I learned to speak, I certainly favor it to everything else. It's pretty simple compared to many others. Very practical, and reasonably suitable to poetry and lyrics. When developing software I'm reluctant to consider including language localization. English is the most logical choice for computing.


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cyberdad
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26 Sep 2022, 2:08 am

r00tb33r wrote:
It's pretty simple compared to many others. .


It's easier for people who speak Indo-European languages, Speakers of some language groups (particularly in east Asia) find it extremely difficult to learn English.



temp1234
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26 Sep 2022, 2:26 am

^ Some of my immigrant coworkers (Chinese, Japanese etc) said that English is easier than other European languages because its grammar is simple. The lack of gender for nouns and adjectives, and very simple verb conjugation are some of the features that make English easier to learn. I believe that the simple subjunctive also makes English easier. However, the pronunciation of English obviously is very hard for them. I sometimes struggle to understand what they say with their thick accents.



cyberdad
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26 Sep 2022, 3:36 am

temp1234 wrote:
^ Some of my immigrant coworkers (Chinese, Japanese etc) said that English is easier than other European languages because its grammar is simple. The lack of gender for nouns and adjectives, and very simple verb conjugation are some of the features that make English easier to learn. I believe that the simple subjunctive also makes English easier. However, the pronunciation of English obviously is very hard for them. I sometimes struggle to understand what they say with their thick accents.


True, English can be defined in 26 characters Vs 74 characters in some east asian languages



Radish
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26 Sep 2022, 6:55 am

Depends where you live. I lived in France for ten years. Most older adults could only speak French. Those under 30 generally could string a few words of English together. I often held conversations with young French people in their 20's where they spoke English and I spoke French, each of us practising our language skills.

There was one cringe worthy moment in a French supermarket where an American woman (presumably a tourist) trying to buy something from the deli counter shouted at the top of her voice "DOESN'T ANYONE HERE SPEAK ENGLISH!" in a derogatory tone ... erm no, they are French, they speak French. I ignored her and carried on with my shopping. Not going to translate for such an obnoxious woman.


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cyberdad
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26 Sep 2022, 7:40 am

Radish wrote:
an American woman (presumably a tourist) trying to buy something from the deli counter shouted at the top of her voice "DOESN'T ANYONE HERE SPEAK ENGLISH!" in a derogatory tone ... erm no, they are French, they speak French. I ignored her and carried on with my shopping. Not going to translate for such an obnoxious woman.


Karens are an international menace :lol:



naturalplastic
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26 Sep 2022, 7:59 am

Joe90 wrote:
It's as if out of like 7,000 languages I'm blessed to speak what seems to be the 'main' language, because it's always spoken at airports. When I went to Poland the airport only announced flights in Polish and English. Majorly convenient for ME, highly inconvenient for non-English speaking travellers, for example, German people.

Also when we were in Poland a lot of the Polish people there spoke a bit of English, even when we were in non-tourist places. But here in England we're not required to learn Polish even though there's a lot of people from Poland that live here (good job as well because I suck at learning other languages).

I even read that the majority of the world's population don't actually speak English. So why is English spoken everywhere, particularly at airports?


1) The British Empire. At one time ruled one third of all of the dry land above Antarctica, on the planet in an empire that had territory in every time zone.

2) As Britain began to decline in power in the 20th Century it was replaced as the top superpower by the USA, which is also an English speaking country. Mandarin Chinese actually has a bigger population of speakers than English, but Mandarin is confined to east Asia. English is spread around the globe (first language of places like Canada, Australia,and south Africa, and a common second language of former colonies like India, and much of Africa).

3) Technology. The US is also a leading country in science and technology. So research papers are often written in English in non english speaking countries.

4) English became a handy "lingua franca" in regions of divided by many native languages. West Europeans adopted English after WWII ( because the area was liberated by armies from Canada, the US, and the UK), and India has more native languages than all of Europe, so the language of the fomer colonial overlords (English) makes a handy way to communicate with folks in the next province who dont speak your indigenous language but have English in common with you.



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26 Sep 2022, 9:02 am

Radish wrote:
There was one cringe worthy moment in a French supermarket where an American woman (presumably a tourist) trying to buy something from the deli counter shouted at the top of her voice "DOESN'T ANYONE HERE SPEAK ENGLISH!" in a derogatory tone ... erm no, they are French, they speak French. I ignored her and carried on with my shopping. Not going to translate for such an obnoxious woman.


Thats exactly how I was acting when I was in India. And when you are saying how you ignored her yet you are able to describe it in perfect English, this makes me wonder whether all those people in India who didn't know English actually did, and ignored me for the same exact reason. If so, that would be yet another example where NT-s put on deceptive social mask. They act like they don't know English while they do.

Well, since I am a naive aspie, this possibility never crossed my mind. I was upset at "how dare they not know English". Only after reading your response, just now, I begin to wonder if they actually doidn't. And if they did, then I was fooled, which is yet another point of anger.

And no, this has nothing to do with an idea that I believe everyone should know English. It has to do with the fact that if I am expecting something, and my expectation is not met, then I get frustrated. Before I came to India, my mom got me to meet American woman who knows a lot about India, so she would tell me what to expect. She told me they speak English, in fact she said "queens English". So thats what I expected. Thats why I got upset when expectations didn't meet.

To give you a totally different example, here in America. As someone who got religious exemption from COVID vaccine, I am supposed to test weekly. I don't want a nose swab test since it can leave a mark on my nose. I want only spit test. Spit test I have to send by mail. The whole last year it was delivered next day. But this year it is no longer the case. So I get upset at the post office and at those test people why I don't get next day results like I am "supposed to".

But am I really "supposed" to get it next day? No. For one thing, the shipment is free. Which is already a big favor. With everything other than this, to get it delivered in 5 days I have to pay, for 2 days I have to pay a lot of extra, for next day a lot more extra. And, secondly, in nothing they wrote they ever promised next day results. I think they said 3 business days or something like that.

But you see, since I was getting it next day the whole last year without fail, that is what I am used to, and thats why I get upset when its not the case. Because you see, if I didn't have an expectation that it will be next day, I would have planned ahead of time. But because I do have that expectation, I didn't. And you can't really fault me for not planning ahead of time because, given that I have to take it weekly, the results become irrelevant if I took it too many days in the past. So if I take it 3 business days before Monday, which would be Tuesday the week before, would it even be relevant for the week I am taking it for?

In any case, the point I am trying to say is that my anger at the post office for them not delivering it next day and my anger in India for them not speeking English is very similar. And since you knew English yet didn't help out the woman in France pretending that you didn't, maybe people in India also just pretended not to know it? And if so, could it be that the people at the post office were pretending too? I was screaming at the post office how I might lose my job, but they were saying they can't do anything about it without even showing any concern for even a second. Were they truly oblivious to my situation, or were they purposely acting the way they did just cause I was rude (kind of like you did in France)?



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26 Sep 2022, 9:28 am

Because English is the international language of business.


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