Languages in the future - what will we speak?
There are more than 6 thousand spoken languages in the world today. While main international language is English, Chinese and Asian population is growing rapidly. Which language will rule the world by 2050? What should we prepare next generation for?
In the time of history, societies used to live locally, separated by land, habits, traditions, and ways to interact with each other. Each tribe communicated on own language or dialect. With globalization, distance has shrunk and the need to understand each grew rapidly. As a result, new artificial languages like Volapuk and Esperanto were created. While the first one was way too complicated in grammar and pronunciation, the latter one appeared when English has already become a wide-spread international language. Experiment with artificial languages did not hold. English has positioned itself as a connector of the world communities. Up to date, every third person in the world speaks English.
Nowadays it is an essential skill and basic demand to operate fluently in a couple of tongues. Learning new languages has proven to improve logic and memory. Similarly to reading, new languages help people to get to know new cultures and develop empathy.
Science fiction often presents one single language for multi-planetary life. Even in 21st centuries, some communities and countries are feeling threatened with a possibility that English will substitute their mother tongue. Language is not only a way to communicate but also is a commodity that carries a history and culture of societies. We see the division for two poles: on one side via globalization we seek to achieve unity and absence of differences, and on the other extreme - some seek for saving identity over anything else.
Is English as scary
beast as some
Colonization has led some languages to disappear. There are still some indigenous languages left spoken. However, the education is concentrated on learning more global languages rather than small local ones. Literacy is decreasing linguistic diversity in the world. New generation uses English as a primary language to read and write, especially this transition is noticeable in the developing countries. Does it mean that some languages will disappear? Plausible, yes. As there will be no people practicing some dialects, the only hope is left on Artificial Intelligence saving endangered languages from total disappearance. What language will the world be speaking in the future?
Let's turn to statistics to unveil the light on the usage of languages today and in the future.
Our Babylon world with numerous languages has a savior. Our hero might be new digital technologies. Here are some examples how innovative solutions make symbols transformed into the understandable set of words.
To begin with - pen translator. Waiting for the human translation is costly and time-consuming, as well as retyping the text into a computer. Businesspeople, students, teachers, have to be able to gain insight from written text quickly. Worldpenscan X is a wireless scanner that can scan text from any printed page and send it directly to a smartphone. It is helpful for everyone who reads in old school style - from paper. Technology enables saving reader's notes into digital form. The pen is Bluetooth compatible and user-friendly. The application can automatically translate the text into different languages. There is no need to retype text from paper to Google Translator but simply scan the sentence and get it in other languages.
How else can technology help to create the world without language barrier? Andrew Ochoa came up with invention everyone has been dreaming of. Communication with another person, each on own language, is easier than ever with Waverly Labs Pilot Smart Earpiece. Simply put a well-design airphone and give another one to you foreign friend, turn on the app on your phone, and communicate with no language barrier. The project is now a pilot with a huge potential to find its place in our daily life.
Universal language -
Digital revolution touched every aspect of human life. Emerging technologies require human maintenance, which requires from human to speak the language of computers - coding. The system of education in the UK is subject to change to prepare future generation to work with digital technologies. In September 2014, course Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was substituted with Computing, which is solely concentrated on the teaching of coding."I think learning to code is an important skill for everyone going through school now. It's now embedded in our lives," commented former Minister of State for Schools Lord Jim Knight.
Finnish start-up Integrify "enables integration through technology." CEO and founder of the company Daniel Rahman found the way how to tackle two current issues with one start-up. First, the shortage of IT developers in a new emerging market flourishing with startups. Second, helping refugees and asylum seekers to find their place in the labor market. Integrify is a software developer center with world-class coding classes. The company helps refugees and recent immigrants to find their place in society skipping the challenging long process of studying Finnish. Daniel says: "Coding is the ultimate meritocracy, a skill that can be obtained in a relatively short period and utilized immediately. We are attempting to integrate asylum seekers in a fast way and simultaneously satisfy the high demand for programmers in Finland. The only thing you need is motivation to work hard - we provide the rest!"
Technology language does not vary throughout the continents. It is the language any human and any technology understands. The future stands for programming and coding, as a digital chain is a human connector. Startups like Integrify is a weak signal revealing the future of coding in our lives.
Companies should continue to concentrate on internationalizing their businesses. Extending languages variety is essential in promotion materials as well as in customer services. Countries should reform their education system to prepare new generations to work and communicate with technologies. Language of the future is going to unite us all, humanity and technology, nations and individuals, humans and animals.