Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs
A: Which should be the official world language - English or Esperanto?
B: In my opinion, there's only one choice - English!
A: But that's not a neutral choice. Think of all the advantages English-speaking
countries have. Not only do you save money by not having to learn a second language,
but you can make a lot of money by teaching your native tongue. Besides, the choice
of a European language is unfair to people from other continents.
B: Actually, Esperanto is closer to European languages than any others.
A: But at least it's culture free. With Esperanto as the world language, no
country would be accused of exporting both its language and its culture.
B: Well, I'm not sure whether you can really separate language from culture.
The two have developed alongside one another. One would be very impoverished
without the other.
A: That may be true, but then you're inviting political conflict. Who is going to
decide whether North American culture is superior to Chinese culture?
B: Nobody really has to decide. All you really have to do is to see which
language is already being used for international business, trade and political
negotiations. That language is English.
A: It doesn't mean that the situation will be the same in the future. China could
well emerge as the world's strongest economy.
B: That may be so, but the economic strength of Japan hasn't led to much
teaching of Japanese. You also have to consider the vast size of the knowledge base
available to English speakers - academic research, scientific reports and an infinite
number of books and periodicals.
A: Much of that knowledge base has already been translated.
B: I doubt that many other languages can match the size of the English dictionary,
especially any single Chinese dialect. Look how many languages have had to borrow
from English, for example, computer terms such as ESCAPE and RETURN.
A: But English has borrowed from the Romans, the Vikings, the Saxons and the
B: Yes, but over a long period of history. Besides, these borrowings illustrate the
both the breadth and flexibility of the English language. You just can't begin to
compare Esperanto with English as a tool for communication.