Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This is an intriguing idea: the world is learning English so well that the previous advantage of U.S. and British native speakers will eventually be eroded:

Global spread of English threatens US, UK: study
By Chris Johnson Tue Feb 21


The dominance of English as the world's top language -- until recently an advantage to both Britain and the United States -- is now beginning to undermine the competitiveness of both nations, according to a major research report. The report commissioned by the British Council says monolingual English graduates "face a bleak economic future" as multilingual competitors flood into the workforce from all corners of the globe.

A massive increase in the number of people learning English is under way and likely to peak at around 2 billion in the next decade, according to the report entitled "English Next." More than half of all primary school children in China now learn English and the number of English speakers in India and China -- 500 million -- now exceeds the total number of mother-tongue English speakers elsewhere in the world.

These new polyglots, and the companies that employ them, have significant competitive advantages over their monoglot rivals, including a vital understanding of different cultures, in a world faced with rapid globalization.

"The competitive advantage of speaking English is ebbing away," said the author of the report, linguistic consultant David Graddol. "Once everyone speaks English, advantage can only be maintained by having something else -- other skills, such as speaking several languages.
"At a corporate level, the UK and U.S. economies have been enjoying a huge benefit from having so many English speakers elsewhere in the world," he told Reuters on Tuesday.
"They can outsource overseas to India, for example, allowing them to cut costs and boost growth."

But Graddol said there were mounting disadvantages for U.S. and British companies if they stayed monolingual.

Companies from other countries could use exactly the same methods to cut costs. And those foreign competitors could also trade and take orders in other languages.

FOREIGN CALLS

"We know from trade associations that small and medium-sized British firms are losing a lot of business because they can't even answer calls from abroad on the switchboard," he said.
"Calls don't get to the right people because the telephone operators don't have the languages needed."

Around 30 percent of the British population speaks a language other than English, but about half of these people have that other language as a mother tongue, Graddol said. In the United States, 22 percent of the population speaks a language other than English, mainly Spanish, and many of these people have Spanish as their first language, figures from the U.S. Modern Language Association show.

British higher education may already be suffering from being monolingual, Graddol suggests.
The number of foreign, particularly Chinese, students entering UK universities was falling as colleges in other parts of the world offered courses in English at lower cost, he said. English-language teaching now earns Britain up to 1.3 billion pounds ($2.27 billion) directly and other education-related exports bring in a further 10 billion pounds a year, the report said.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Don't give Dick a hard time, now!

After the latest Cheney shooting debacle, libral leftwing licebags have been leaping forth to lambast and lampoon the poor vice president. Everyone wants to make a big deal of this tiny insignificant mistake, ya know. Heck, there have even been those who see some deep lesson in this--as if they should now make hunting illegal just because some old cogger gets sent to intensive care with some buckshot in'im.

I say lay off the man, give him a break. You've got to look at Cheney's overall hunting score--he's hit the birds more often than his friends, after all. And I think that Cheney, just to show the librals up, should go back to hunting just like he did before. And to make a point, he should bring the president with him. And just to really make a point, he should hunt the way he's always hunted. And if the president gets a few pellets through his hide, hell, it's a small price to pay to preserve the lifestyle of the rich and influential; it's a way to protect his God-given right to meet his buddies at expensive game preserves and hunt freshly-released tame birds.