What language should the world speak?

As usual at an international tournament, the discussion over what is the world’s lingua franca came up. With over 16 nations playing and 16 national languages represented at the Euro 2012, nearly all announcements and notices are only in two languages – Polish or Ukrainian, and English.

The fact that English is chosen ahead of the other 13 representative languages irritates some fans, and so the topic has come up in conversations.

The argument against English usually follows one of two lines. Firstly, that French or Spanish should be the third language, usually proposed by Francophones. The second argument is that if any language should be the universal language, it should be Chinese, as it is the most widely spoken in the world.

Of course, there are obvious holes in the logic. Chinese may be the most widely spoken first language in the world, but as a second, third, fourth, etc., language, English is far more widespread.

Plus, Chinese is generally only spoken in China, and hardly at all in Europe where this tournament is being held, where the Irish, Dutch, Swedish, and Danish (as well as, of course, the English) all speak English.

As for the French or Spanish theory, there is a lot more merit to that train of thought… but the fact that they have to make their argument in English is generally self-defeating.

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