Category Archives: linguistics

How do you feel about English?

influencegraph.pngThrough no more than an accident of birth, I happen to be a native* English speaker. This is fortunate for me as English is the “official” language of science communication (the vast majority of journals are written in English), as well as the major international language in many other human endeavours – including on the internet. The low-quality graphic on the left illustrates what a mongrel the English language is and takes you to an informative Wikipedia page.

My travels on the web and in the world have brought me into contact with people from many countries. We converse in English and I never give that a second thought. So I wonder – if English is not your first language, how do you feel about its dominance in communication? Is it just accepted as fact and taught to you during your science education? Does it ever make you feel a little resentful? Do you wish there were more social networks in your native language? Is there interesting science happening in predominantly non-English speaking regions that we don’t get to hear about?

* I say “native”, but people from my part of the world are blessed with a strong regional dialect (which I’ve long since lost, sadly), derived largely from Frisian and old Norse.