The New York Times and CMS wire most recently have been reporting on Quillpad as an inventive new technology allowing users to type Asian scripts phonetically and get something like Devanagari script as a result, bypassing the need to learn (or use) tricky keystrokes on a Roman keyboard.
This is presented in both articles to underscore the growing importance of non-English languages on the web: by 2012, Asia will have three times the internet users of North America. Giving the current trajectory, any predictions as to what, if anything, will become the new lingua franca, and when? Or will there be several, or none; will globalization result in more language preservation or less? I’m wondering how stable the current state of affairs is, where, for example, an Asian tourist may speak to a Chilean in English and expect a response (according to a former South American ESL student of mine). Greek passed, Latin passed, French passed, even from their own former empires, though the marks of each are still there. How much longer does English have?
On a certain level, it would be nice if everyone spoke everyone else’s language and no lingua franca were needed, but then we’d be out of a job.