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Re: THEORY: Anglic languages (was: Difthongization...)

Date:Thursday, February 21, 2008, 2:47
> [] On Behalf Of Peter Collier > ...
> With the collapse of the Empire you have a situation > where Roman dialect groups are separated by vast (for > the period) gepgraphic distances with no means of > instantaneous communication between the various > groups.
Yet Latin itself still remained as lingua franca for centuries, only to be replaced by one of its offspring, French.
> ... > It is very possible that English will not remain a > lingua franca long term, although it seems to have > many features that make it ideally suited. If/when > that time comes I suspect a whole raft of English > varieties will disappear from non-L1 areas - India, > Africa, etc.
I strongly doubt that English will ever be replaced as a lingua franca anytime soon. It's in a stronger position than any other language has ever been in history. It has a large speaking population, both L1 and L2, the largest body of written works, and is dispersed geographically. Compare with Latin which still remained for centuries after the Roman empire, and it was mainly confined to the Mediterreanean. Another issue is the reasoning for learning English has now gone beyond people who want to communicate with Americans or British, but now people are learning it as a second language to use with *each other*, just as is being done here where a lot of the list members are L2 speakers.
> Notwithstanding that sort of a retreat there will > still be a core L1 English group that will remain i.e. > British/Irish, North American and Antipodean. I really > cannot imagine that these would become unitelligible > to each other. If the dialects even manage to survive > being subsumed into a standardised behemoth, surely a > more a likely scenario would be per the current > situation with Scots and Scottish English, where you > have a small continuum between a local dialect and the > standard language with a lot of 'contamination' of the > dialect?
I do see some convergence in the British Isles, North America and Australian areas, but at the same time English is expanding into new areas so new dialects are forming in places like India or the Phillipines, and I expect others are going to crop up as English influences, and is influenced by, other cultures.
> Another remoter possibility perhaps, is that the > position of English globally has passed (or will pass > at some point before another language can take its > place) a tipping point that ensures it remains the > main international language. That could lead to a > situation where 'English' is distinguished from the > language shared by GB/IRL/USA/CDN/AUS/NZ? But again, > given the advantageous position such a global language > would bestow on native speakers, would its L1 speakers > allow their language to drift too far from it?
English is too deeply entrenched to be displaced anytime soon. I don't expect any other language could ever do so now, but I expect the other major languages will have a big effect on the evolution of the future English. I can see it becoming a bit more pidginlike over time, something like the dialect of Hawaii.