No matter what we do in life, language will always be a necessary means of conveying information. From A to Z, from the Accountant to the Zootechnician, language will always be there as a crucial tool used to carry out any kind of business. Nature itself plots it in order to survive. When hydrogen atoms are crushed in the core of a star and energy is released as a result of this nuclear fusion, communication takes place, in the sense that the gravitational force is read. When a carbon atom starts balancing its polarity by linking itself to other atoms and, by doing so, creates the DNA chain, lots of decoding happens. For an animal to survive it constantly sends data through sparks throughout its nervous system from one end of it to the other.
Nowadays, when man wants his ideas to be understood, he speaks and/or writes. Language has been and will always be everywhere! Be it Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Sociology, Business, Arts, Philosophy ... language is vital for the existence, usage and understanding of each one of those subjects.
Not only that, marriages have been announced, the Independence of countries has been signed, wars have been declared, the ups and downs of the stock market have been shouted, all sorts of news have been reported, daily endless phone calls placed, deals and deals talked over, zillions of e-mails typed and read, lovers sweet-talked, and on and on and on ... language everywhere!
We now, more than ever, live in a globalized world in which Earth has become a global village. I will not tap onto economic and social implications here; otherwise this article would get off track from its main purpose which is the importance of language. In this day and age, it is not a matter of being understood locally, it is a matter of being heard as much and as far as possible. How can that be done on a planet on which 2,796 languages are spoken along with their 8,000 dialects? The need of a universal language had already been felt long ago when a brilliant Polish man artificially created the Esperanto tongue. But from what we can see, it has not really taken off. Instead, an already existing language has taken this role, namely, English. Why? Well, I suppose for 3 basic reasons:
1st - Thanks to the gone worldwide British conquest - and here, once again its social, political and economic implications are not to be discussed - English is spoken in all 5 continents, and I dare say, 6 if we add Antarctica;
2nd - Because some of those British colonies have become the most economically powerful nations in the world, their official language (English) plays a great role in the international businesses;
3rd - The structure of the English language is very simple and practical, thus making its learning less difficult and more appealing.
This also proves that big numbers are not all that counts. Chinese Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world and yet, because its speakers inhabit pretty much one single region, their language has not become universal. Second to Chinese comes English, followed by Spanish and Russian, followed by Hindi and our beloved Portuguese! (These data may slightly vary every 2 years). Although English is the universal language, there is still the need to customize some people’s specific needs when interacting to all different languages in all 5 continents! The way I see it, On The Road’s method has been inspired by Nature itself for it teaches a second language by using that very same second language – no one starts “building a house from the roof”.
For those who are keen on languages I strongly recommend that they read “Native Tongues” by Charles Berlitz Maximilian, Dr. Berlitz’s grandson!