• London


Regarding Amy Chavez’s Jan. 3 column, “The English language is going to the dogs”: I live in London and if anyone says to me “Everyone speaks English,” my answer is “Listen and look around you.” If people in London do not speak English, then the whole question of a global language is completely open. The promulgation of English as the world’s lingua franca is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. And I say this as a native English speaker!

It’s impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educated or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment. It’s undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is trying to dominate.

The long-term solution must be found and a nonnational language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing, is essential.

brian barker

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