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On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 10:42 AM, David McCann <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:52:38 -0500
> George Corley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > <q> for /ts)ʰ/? Is that Mandarin influence I see? Yeah, I can
> > understand the issue. I'd actually recommend against it if you want
> > your romanization to be accessible. Pinyin's use of <q c> is one of
> > it's most confusing aspects (<x> is odd too, but not entirely without
> > precedent in other languages), and I have a feeling it was just a
> > compromise that was reached because of the fact that they somehow had
> > to represent nine distinct sibilants in Roman script. Even then,
> > <ts'> might have been a better choice (I think it's been used in
> > other schemes).
>
> I can't resist playing devil's advocate here! Chinese is the most
> important language after English, and China will soon be the
> world's most important country. For those at school today, 'qin' will
> be no stranger than 'thin'. Come to think of it, it isn't for me.
>

I would not be so certain about the rise of Chinese. China will probably
rise to be a fully competitive rival to the US within the next 50 years
("world's most important country" seems a bit too far for the near future,
I think the US hegemony will last for a good bit yet), but even if China
were to surpass us entirely in power, English is very heavily ingrained as
a lingua franca. I suspect that long after the US falls from grace (perhaps
a century from now, though when you get that far, any prediction is just a
blind guess in politics) English will linger on as Latin did, slowly
restricting itself to smaller and smaller spaces until it finally gives way
to a new language. By that time, the native speaking populations will have
fractured into new Anglic languages. In that environment, I don't think we
could predict what the next lingua franca will be (or whether translation
technologies will make the lingua franca obsolete, as Nicolas Ostler
claims).

I suppose coming down to Earth, in the near future, more non-Chinese will
certainly be learning Mandarin, and they will probably get used to the
odder pinyin conventions (as I have) -- it's really quite a good
romanization, it was just forced to make a few difficult choices due to the
fact that the Roman alphabet is so alien to it. But I don't really think
there will be enough Chinese learners to make a dent in the general
populous (outside Chinese speaking areas, of course -- sometimes in these
discussions people do forget that Mandarin Chinese has around a billion
native speakers, and that number may well rise, The thing is, those native
speakers are largely concentrated in a few countries.)