April 16, 2007


Just finished a presentation for a new course I will be teaching next fall on scientific writing and presentation. The course will be required for all of our Master's Degree students and it may be picked up by the faculty. A summary:

English is taking over the world, and is the international language of science and business. Our students can't survive without knowing English at a high level, to write grant proposals for the EU, to make business reports and to write scientific papers.

The International Herald Tribune (10 April 2007):

English says it all: Linguists say they see no precedent for dominance.

Scholars say that one fourth of the world’s population can communicate in English. It is the common language in almost every endeavor, from science to air traffic control to the global jihad, where it is used between speakers of Arabic and other languages.

English is the language of the internet, and 80% of the world’s electronically stored information is in English.

The New York Times (11 April 2007):

In the last five years, the world’s top business schools and universities have been pushing to make English the teaching tongue in a strategy to raise revenues by attracting more international students and as a way to respond to globalization.

The École Normale Supérieure in Paris teaches all students Economics in English. (Where are Peter Sellers and Monty Python when you need them: French Professors teaching French students using English!)

Santiago Iñiguez de Ozoño, dean of the Instituto de Empresa Business School in Madrid, argues that the trend is a natural consequence of globalization, with English functioning as Latin did in the 13th century as the lingua franca most used by universities.

I told the students that they are forbidden to use the local pidgin, Danglish.


At April 17, 2007 4:09 AM , Blogger joe said...

Funny, around here, in Scandinavian Minnesota, the schools (public and private) seem to think that Spanish is the language of the future. It wouldn't surprise me if they started teaching the kids the pledge of allegiance in Spanish...Hmmm...

At April 17, 2007 11:00 PM , Blogger Papa Twister said...

Joe, I think the point is that English is the high-brow language used for academia, and Spanish becoming a more common street language.

At April 18, 2007 7:11 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

If English is the microsoft of languages then Linux is Spanish...Mac is French...Unix is German...

At April 18, 2007 5:40 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

VAX is Greek
AS-400 is Latin
OS2-warp is Esparanto

At April 18, 2007 8:35 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

OS-2 Warp! For a time I thought it could do everything. Now I am saving my OS-2 coffee mug. I will sell it on ebay to fund my retirement.

At April 19, 2007 12:25 AM , Blogger Papa Twister said...

I actually meant common for Spanish rather than street. Hey Matt, did you get my email? I sent it to your alternate address.

At April 19, 2007 4:30 AM , Blogger rigtenzin said...

I bet the pledge of allegiance sounds better in another language --- preferably one that I can't understand.

At April 24, 2007 12:23 AM , Blogger Papa Twister said...

I watched an inteview with the pride of Denmark undefeated super middle weight boxer, Mikkel Kessler, and he spoke excellent English, understanding subtleties as if English were his native tongue. If someone who gets paid to punch and be punched is able to speak as well as Mikkel Kessler, I am forced to conclude that the Danes do speak English. Unfortunately, his ability to speak English will not help him beat Joe Calazaghe.


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