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>> it is easy to forget that English is way, way ahead of all opposition, 
>> and is likely to remain so for a long time.

"Donald J. HARLOW" replied,         Wed, 18 Oct 2006 

> Probably until the middle of this century, though by that time I 
> expect we (or at least those of us who are still around) will be 
> seeing Chinese as the coming language (unless something really 
> catastrophic happens to one linguistic group or the other in the 
> meantime; as 1989-1991 proved in the USSR and its empire, it's 
> difficult to predict sociopolitical discontinuities ahead of time).

Yes, I’d agree with all that. More foreigners are evidently learning Chinese now. A friend of mine - 
an English-speaking Chinese woman who was raised in Britain - is going to an evening class to do 
just that, and has told me that the class is well-attended, including by many from the business 
community. 

Most of us here probably believe that Chinese would only penetrate so far, as a global IAL, and 
that a new constructed language of some form or other will eventually fulfil this role.

>> And also today I happened to see a historical snippet that in 
>> January 1965 the Esperanto Club in a
>> small local town of approx. 30,000 pop. elected a new president. 
>> This is interesting because
>> Esperanto seems to be more or less extinct in this part of the UK (I 
>> doubt whether there is even
>> one Esperantist in that town now). I just looked in the phone 
>> directory but it isn't listed anywhere
>> in the area.

> Two questions:

> (1) Did you check in 1965 to see if "it" (I presume you mean 
> Esperanto) was listed in the phone directory _then_?
> (2) Did you check to see whether there is an Esperanto group (or even 
> a single Esperanto speaker) in that town now? Or are you just assuming?

I’m assuming - I wrote “I doubt whether..”.... an educated guess - maybe I was wrong. However, I 
do know that not a single young person of average education to whom I’ve posed the question has 
heard of Esperanto. On the other hand, I’ve never met an old age pensioner with whom I’ve 
discussed the subject who hasn’t heard of it: until WW II Esperanto was a household word in the 
UK, by all accounts. 

I dare say the Bretton-Woods post-war settlement which established the $ US as the global 
reserve currency also gave the English language a shot in the arm by association, i.e. as the 
sidekick trading language.

With the unravelling of the British Empire the situation was maybe developing cracks which 
Esperanto helped to fill. The UN + Bretton-Woods, World Bank, IMF etc. then came along and 
papered a lot of them over, thereby also creating a level platform for the spread of English. 
Everything I write about a “global pidgin IAL” based on an English substrate derives from this fact. 


I’ve just checked the EAB site and note that there are 59 local groups in Britain, but not in the 
town I referred to. However, maybe my assumption was wrong and there are one or two individual 
Esperantists living there - sorry.

Seeing the name of the Morecambe Bay Group reminds me that there used to be an “Esperanto 
Hotel” near Bare Station between Morecambe and Lancaster. I used to see it when I passed on the 
train - then one day I looked and it had closed. In retrospect this seems like a great idea, and I 
wonder whether anyone ever thought of establishing a worldwide chain of reasonably-priced 
hotels where all the staff spoke Esperanto, as a supplement to your private hospitable exchange. 


>> Moreover, the world's governments, being nearly all socialist by now,

> ?

OK, nominally socialist - obviously there are still unregulated capitalist enclaves: especially where 
drugs, gambling, prostitution, child labour, illegal immigrants, hazardous wastes etc. are involved. 
However, there are probably an equal number of places where socialism has gone too far, with 
enterprising sections of the population stifled by excessive regulation.

My essential argument is that the advance of the Left, and the consequent spread and partial-
victory of socialism, has tended to focus upon the condition of the lumpenproletariat - often at 
the expense of the middle-class. Indeed, if historical precedent is any guide, the pendulum will 
tend to swing further in this direction before the situation readjusts to the mean.

In linguistic terms, this sociopolitical trend will initially tend to favour a Level One sociolect - 
perhaps along the lines of Lang25 - over a Level Two language such as Esperanto.

English-language mass-market culture - typified by the international success of "Mamma Mia!" - 
is so powerful because it caters to proletarian preferences: pop music over classical, musicals over 
opera, movies over theatre, television over live entertainment. The commercial and political worlds 
both love it because it's all about advertising, product placement, subliminal messaging and 
painless propaganda. 

The consequent English substrate, having been formed thereby over most of the world, needs only 
a certain amount of verbal organisation before a new "global pidgin" might fly from it according to 
the CLPC precedent.  


Antony Alexander        http://langx.org