A New World Language – English, Mandarin or Ikea?

Tuesday 29th May

There have been many predictions of one language eventually surpassing all others and assuming the mantle of World Language.  Before the First World War many people thought German would prevail; thank goodness they were wrong.  A hundred years earlier it might have been Spanish and of course most of South America speaks Spanish (except for those annoying Brazilians chattering away in Portuguese).  With the huge cultural influence of America coupled with the once vast British Empire, English is certainly very dominant.  But watch out for the Chinese who have numbers on their side, though like in the joke about the man who worked as a Chinese typesetter; the job was boring but he certainly met a lot of interesting characters.

Surprisingly with globalization continuing at such a reckless pace, most languages, National ones at least, are surviving, though anthropologists will report the alarming almost daily loss of small community tribal languages all over the globe.  Maybe the drive towards homogeneity will be halted by all of those instant translation apps now available.  But if the world has to fear any language taking over and becoming ubiquitous watch out for Ikea, or Swedish as some people still call it.  You have to admire these canny Swedes who refuse to compromise and come up with different language friendly names of their products, so we all have to learn Ektorp and Vissa Skont (here I have to apologise, as I cannot be bothered to work out how to put all of those double dots and slashed vowels into these terms) and as this famous furniture store continues on its path of World domination it is obvious that very soon we will all be speaking Ikea.

Well. It beats Starbucks with its Grande, and Vente, which thankfully have not caught on.  How can you call the smallest size Tall and the medium Grande and not feel a total dick?