Languages Magazine

The Role of English in the Field of Science

By Tlb

“English has become the de facto language of science.”

Written by Mike Brotherton, he elaborated the increasing role of English in our day-to-day lives. Every published paper is written in English; all movies will always include English; Most conferences are using the most common idiom known to man as English… life goes on and on with the people’s responsibility to learn English language throughout our lifestyle and socialization.

How would we picture the world speaking the only spoken language known today? Imagine the business of foreign language courses beginning to slope down. Would this be beneficial to all people around the world?

Added by Brotherton, the advantages of a single language are self-evident. “In the past papers published in other languages often went unnoticed and incited, resulting in people reinventing the wheel. Furthermore, at most people must learn a second language, not 3 or 4 or 5 or whatever to read journals in multiple languages.”

Do you think this is good or bad news to you? How would we respond with the other foreign languages we have been using today?

English is the language of Science. Science icon from Nuvola icon

Image via Wikipedia

But in the field of science, sticking to English alone makes such quandary. It’s not like there are laws that science must be done in English, just as what Brotherton said. “This is cultural evolution and while minor regulation is often needed to prevent problems and keep things running smoothly, wholesale imposition of major changes is almost always a terrible idea that destroys the institution it’s meant to improve. We’re going to have to live with English as the language of science, and find ways to let everyone operate within that standard.”

Such state of principle has been supported by a site where a person named Jacob wrote an article online about Science is Human Right. Here is its highlights:

“Over the past 80 years, there has been a steady increase in the proportion of scientific publications written in English and a corresponding decrease in the use of all other languages for global scientific communication. At first sight, this appears to offer significant gains in efficiency and universality, as scientists everywhere are required to learn, at most, one language in addition to their own.

“There are, however, drawbacks to this system that may be significantly affecting both the development of global science and its social effects. Issues of concern include the poor correlation between ability in a second language and scientific ability; the disproportionate burden of language training and technology borne by non-English-speaking countries; and a widening gap between the language of science and the languages of public discourse, government policy, and community life.

What do you think about this? Do you possibly assume that the rising of English language in the field of Science slowly eradicates the role of other foreign languages? Let us know your point of view.

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