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LANGUAGE LEARNING

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

French.

 

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.