Over at Plastic, they’re having an interesting discussion of the decline of English as a first language. Scientists note the eroding population of English speakers and the financial ascendency of such places as India and China.
People here in Oregon have been focusing on Spanish, because we have so many Hispanic immigrants, but these language researchers say we should be learning Mandarin.
I don’t know. I’ve studied French, Russian, Greek and Spanish, and I wouldn’t mind pursuing any of them to fluency if I ever had the time, but I think I’m too old for a non-alphabetic language. I like the Cyrillic script a lot — it’s so phonetic — but Arabic, Ethiopian, Georgian and the like look impossibly difficult, as well as any language where you have to guess the vowels.
Mandarin, huh. Maybe it’ll be after my time.
Anyway, read the discussion over at Plastic. It’s as interesting as the article.