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November 25, 2004

World Moving From English to 'Hinglish'?

Noted linguist and author of over 50 books on the English language, David Crystal has predicted that the most common form of English spoken globally will be Indian English. In a recent article in The Times of India he talked about the future growth of 'Hinglish,' already spoken as a second language by some 350 million people in the subcontinent - more than the combined population of the US and UK. "Already, a third of Indians are speaking the language, a percentage expected to rise in coming years. With the internet spreading English like no tool ever, and Indians at the forefront of the IT revolution, Indian English will reach around the globe and take over from British and American forms." Crystal predicted, "I believe the mother tongue countries have had their day. It is now the turn of the countries where English is spoken as a second language to take the lead." On another subject of concern, Crystal spoke of the alarming rate at which minority languages are dying out worldwide. "Linguistic diversity preserves the mental health of the planet, and every time a language dies, we lose a vision of the world. To be left with one or two languages would spell intellectual disaster. A language is dying every two weeks somewhere in the world today. Half the world’s languages will no longer be spoken in another century. This is an extremely serious concern, and English has to share the blame."
ELT News interview with David Crystal

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