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英文: Experts debate future of English language
English is fast becoming the language of science around the world, but what is its future among everyday speakers? One expert points out that the percentage of native English speakers is declining globally while the languages of other rapidly growing regions are being spoken by increasing numbers of people. But English will continue to remain widespread and important.

Just 10 years ago, native English speakers were second only to Chinese in number. But British language scholar David Graddol says English will probably drop in dominance by the middle of this century to rank, after Chinese, about equally with Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu, a south-Asian tongue closely related to Hindi.

He points out that the decline will not be in total numbers of English speakers, but in relative terms. "The number of people speaking English as a first language continues to rise, but it isn't rising nearly as fast as the numbers of many other languages around the world simply because the main population group has been largely in the lesser1 developed countries where languages other than English have been spoken," he says.

In a recent article in the journal Science, Mr. Graddol noted2 that three languages not now near the top of the list of the most widely spoken might be there soon. These are Bengali, Tamil, and Malay, spoken in south and southeast Asia.

But another expert on the English language says Mr. Graddol underestimates the future of its dominance. David Crystal of the University of Wales, the author of the Cambridge Encyclopedia3 of the English Language, says about 1.5 billion of the world's six billion people speak it as a second tongue compared to the 400 million native speakers.

"Nobody quite knows what's going to happen because no language has been in this position before. But all the evidence suggests that the English language snowball is rolling down a hill and is getting faster and faster and faster and accreting4 new foreign language users unlike any language has ever done before," he said. "I don't myself see that process stopping in the immediate5 future. David Graddol thinks even that momentum6 will die in the near future, but personally I think there is no sign of this.

He also disagrees with the notion that English's growth as a second tongue means it will become the world language to the exclusion7 of all others. "We have grown up with the idea of dominance meaning that a language actually pushes out other languages and takes over the world. That's not actually what seems to be happening. Precisely8 because people are learning English as a second language, they are not actually giving up their first languages. They are becoming bilingual or multilingual. So the spread of English around the world is actually creating a greatly increased bilingualism and multilingualism," he says.


   中文:英语的未来会怎样? 专家众说纷纭








1 lesser UpxzJL     
  • Kept some of the lesser players out.不让那些次要的球员参加联赛。
  • She has also been affected,but to a lesser degree.她也受到波及,但程度较轻。
2 noted 5n4zXc     
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.当地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著称。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班迟到出了名。
3 encyclopedia ZpgxD     
  • The encyclopedia fell to the floor with a thud.那本百科全书砰的一声掉到地上。
  • Geoff is a walking encyclopedia.He knows about everything.杰夫是个活百科全书,他什么都懂。
4 accreting f86865665bd26596fdf1bff752bfc00a     
v.共生( accrete的现在分词 );合生;使依附;使连接
  • Accreting to statistic, 75 percent of students'school time is spent in the class. " 据统计,学生在学校的活动总量有75%的时间是在课堂上度过的。 来自互联网
5 immediate aapxh     
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
6 momentum DjZy8     
  • We exploit the energy and momentum conservation laws in this way.我们就是这样利用能量和动量守恒定律的。
  • The law of momentum conservation could supplant Newton's third law.动量守恒定律可以取代牛顿第三定律。
7 exclusion 1hCzz     
  • Don't revise a few topics to the exclusion of all others.不要修改少数论题以致排除所有其他的。
  • He plays golf to the exclusion of all other sports.他专打高尔夫球,其他运动一概不参加。
8 precisely zlWzUb     
  • It's precisely that sort of slick sales-talk that I mistrust.我不相信的正是那种油腔滑调的推销宣传。
  • The man adjusted very precisely.那个人调得很准。