A World Language

The Boston Herald

English is becoming increasingly a language for the world's business. It is more and more becoming the language of science, as Latin once was. In various countries, such as the Scandinavian nations, Holland, and Japan, men of science now write their works in English instead of in their own language, in order to bring them to the world's attention. The fact that English is now tending to supplant French as the language of diplomacy is a matter of prime significance. There is no good reason why it should not. The adoption of French for such purposes was due to the rank of France as a world power at the time, as well as to the standing of the country as a centre of civilization. But the English-speaking peoples are now the most powerful and their language takes a corresponding rank.

English has superior qualifications as a world language. It is more readily acquired than French, and it is far more easy to gain a mastery of its grammar, its idioms, and its pronunciation. The only serious drawback is its barbarous orthography. But for this, its adoption would be far more rapid. It has been suggested, and the suggestion appears to have met with favor, that a special form of English be adopted for world-language purposes by making its spelling strictly phonetic, according to the simplest possible method. In this form it would become, it is claimed. the universal speech of business and of diplomacy, while the language in its existing orthography would be retained as at present by the peoples using it. The chief obstacle to learning the language would thus be removed. It would be acquired, for speaking, reading. and writing, with extraordinary facility and celerity. It would thus become the common medium for the peoples of the world in communicating with each other, just as "Pigeon English" is the medium between occidental nationalities and the Chinese.

Wireless Messages across the Oceans
September 19, 1901

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