Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

This is a room for the discussion of travel plans or experiences and the culture of places you have visited or plan to visit.
User avatar
aokoye
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1584
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:14 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Languages: English (N), German (~C1), Swedish (beginner), Dutch (A2), French (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=10151
x 2612
Contact:

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby aokoye » Thu May 24, 2018 6:26 pm

Cavesa wrote:Spanish has the advantage, that should any of the hispanic countries start doing this, it will work. Two or three countries together could produce more than majority of europe together. France is just one country, the others are smaller, or plurilingual, or poor. And Spanish is becoming more important in the US. Once the growing number of natives there fulfill their american dreams, we might even see a part of the Hollywood switching to Spanish.

I am not really prepared to say that Spanish has the advantage in part because a number Spanish speaking countries are extremely unstable at the moment and have been through most of the past 100 years (it's that instability that makes their history interesting to me but that's a different topic). You could, of course, say the same way a number of countries in which French is spoken. I suspect that Spain or France would have to take the lead on making either language economically powerful.

I also disagree with the "we might even see a part of Hollywood switching to Spanish" because of the sheer amount of racism, xenophobia, educational, and economic inequality in the US when it comes to latinos (among other people). I mean ok, we might see that that happen, but I doubt it would be within my lifetime. That of course I would like it if there was a realistic representation of Latinos in Hollywood, but that is simply not what is going on.

/end me dancing precariously close to the line of politics. I can PM you more about the last bit if you want.
2 x
Prefered gender pronouns: Masculine

Speakeasy
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1752
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:19 pm
Location: Canada (Montréal region)
Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
x 4512

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby Speakeasy » Thu May 24, 2018 7:24 pm

aokoye wrote: ... I would like it if there was a realistic representation of Latinos in Hollywood, but that is simply not what is going on ...
Sincerely wishing not to derail this very interesting discussion thread, I would say that Hollywood, Bollywood, Britwood, Pariswood, and all the woods put together very rarely offer a realistic representation of any identifiable group. The vast majority of us lead mundane lives, while we might find our private dramas engrossing, our stories rarely make for very good cinema. Which visual media is more popular and which generates greater revenus, dramatized fictional accounts of the flavour-of-the-month or realistic documentaries? A recent study of "fake news" on social media and specialized media outlets versus "genuine verifiable facts" in all media outlets suggests that former is more popular simply because it is much more engaging and entertaining than the truth. Why should the film industry be any different?

EDITED:
Tinkering.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Thu May 24, 2018 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
5 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3196
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 9026

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby Cavesa » Thu May 24, 2018 7:37 pm

I think focusing too much on the future and political situation is exactly a part of the problem in the "languages' marketing".

We've all heard those "Japanese will be the most important language in a decade", "this or that country will become superrich" and other predictions. They have always been unreliable and why should people invest so much time, efforts, and money in a language they might have a use for in a few decades, if someone's crystal ball is correct?

I'd say focusing on what is available now and working on stuff fixable almost immediately would be a much better strategy. A rather rich country like France can improve the budget of the ministry of culture from the next year on, if the parliament agrees with this investment. The EU parliament could have removed the geoblocking already and still hasn't. Not opening any new university programs in English also doesn't require decades of political stability. Making sure the state owned language school networks (Alliance Française and Cervantes) don't make their courses twice as expensive as the local language schools in any city with the AF or Cervantes presence, that would be another tiny bit of encouragement.

Really, it seems obvious to look at the huge things. The overall economical situation, the overall number of natives, the number of countries, and so on. But I think striving to catch lots of individual hearts and brains goes much further. I think the rising popularity of Spanish, and the reasons behind it, illustrate this.
Last edited by Cavesa on Thu May 24, 2018 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

User avatar
aokoye
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1584
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:14 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Languages: English (N), German (~C1), Swedish (beginner), Dutch (A2), French (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=10151
x 2612
Contact:

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby aokoye » Thu May 24, 2018 8:15 pm

Speakeasy wrote:
aokoye wrote: ... I would like it if there was a realistic representation of Latinos in Hollywood, but that is simply not what is going on ...
Sincerely wishing not to derail this very interesting discussion thread, I would say that Hollywood, Bollywood, Britwood, Pariswood, and all the woods put together very rarely offer a realistic representation of any identifiable group.

I suspect that you didn't understand what I was saying when I wrote "representation". If i were at a my computer I'd give you names of documentaries and articles that make what I was saying more clear. In the absence of that I suggest looking up coverage on say, the NY Times or the BBC (which doesnt have a paywall) about recent (as in within the past three or four years) race related controversies in the Oscar awards and the organization that is in charge of them. I also suggest that we stop this line of discussion given this forum's guidelines and what is and isn't considered political discourse here.
0 x
Prefered gender pronouns: Masculine

nooj
Blue Belt
Posts: 630
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:59 pm
Languages: english (n)
x 1369

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby nooj » Fri May 25, 2018 7:42 am

I am skeptical of Spanish's future in the USA, given that 1) linguistic assimilation works too well and the children of immigrants are often heritage learners 2) the USA has tens of millions of Spanish speakers already but it hasn't tipped the linguistic balance yet. You see a linguistic sub-culture in Spanish (Univision, songs in Spanish etc) but that hasn't become mainstream enough for all Americans, regardless of their ethnic origin, to claim Spanish as a primary or even secondary language. People who do learn Spanish usually do so because it is important for their jobs, but these jobs are in customer service, food services etc. When Spanish becomes necessary and obligatory to become a high paying chef, an executive of a bank, a successful musician or author...or even the President, then we can expect to see that change. When Spanish becomes necessary for socio-economic success, then I imagine Americans will start learning Spanish en masse, as opposed to what happens now where Spanish speakers living in the USA learn English.
6 x
زندگی را با عشق
نوش جان باید کرد

User avatar
Djedida
White Belt
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:26 pm
Languages: EN (N), ES (B1), IT, JP
x 31

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby Djedida » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:21 pm

The Hispanosphere and Francosphere should have an alliance and speak Italian as its neutral, middleground language :P

Its hard to predict which language will overtake whom. One could could argue that French, as a historically prestige language, will always be in more demand than Spanish, even taking speakers into account. Also Spanish is a highly regional language, mostly contained within the Americas whereas French has more continental diversity. Yet, if America were to become de facto English/Spanish bilingual due to the rise of Spanish speakers, the Spanish side could create cultural influence in countries all over the world; a good example of this is the movie Coco.
0 x

DaveAgain
Green Belt
Posts: 305
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:26 am
Languages: English (native), French (intermediate), German (beginner).
x 434

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby DaveAgain » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:44 pm

Djedida wrote:Its hard to predict which language will overtake whom. One could could argue that French, as a historically prestige language, will always be in more demand than Spanish, even taking speakers into account. Also Spanish is a highly regional language, mostly contained within the Americas whereas French has more continental diversity.
There was a newspaper story a while back saying that Prince William and his wife had a Spanish-speaking nanny/au pair for their children. Historically you'd expect that to have been a french-speaker.
KATE MIDDLETON, the Duchess of Cambridge, has spoken about her daughter Princess Charlotte grasp of Spanish thanks to her nanny. It is said Charlotte communicates with Prince William in the second language.

Spanish is increasing its footprint relative to french in UK schools too. French is still ahead though.
3 x

User avatar
javier_getafe
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:28 am
Location: Spain
Languages: Spanish (N), English (B2)
Dabbling in french (A0)-Duolingo
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=10163
x 96

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby javier_getafe » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:17 pm

It seems to me that there is not a real battle. Really Spain is playing in the 'Serie A' as France don't.
Sometimes learn a lenguage is a fact a usefullness, other times is more a fact o feelings o tastes, indeed.

Whatever it was, it was nothing to do with the real numbers I have attached below:

First, we are going to have a look o this picture (2018).
Most spoken languages as mother tongue
Please, don't look for french, I'm afraid it is below 10 position.
Image

Hoewer, it wouldn't be fair (or serious) if we didn't have a look on the next picture below:
Most spoken languages
Image

You can now find the french in 9th position, with less than half of Spanish.

The battle actually doesn't exist and I'm afraid it is never gonna happen.
2 x
Super Challenge '19
: 15 / 100 100 books : 24 / 100 100 films
Output Challenge '19
: 6140 / 50000 50,000 words : 14 / 50 50 hours of recorded speech

Cavesa
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3196
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 9026

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby Cavesa » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:18 pm

javier_getafe wrote:It seems to me that there is not a real battle. Really Spain is playing in the 'Serie A' as France don't.
Sometimes learn a lenguage is a fact a usefullness, other times is more a fact o feelings o tastes, indeed.


Well, it makes more sense to focus on the importance in each region, rather than globally. On some continents, it is the opposite.
And you are wrong, no offence meant. As far as reasons to learn a langauge go, both of these languages are not too distant both as far as the "fun reasons" go, but also when it comes to the "money earning reasons".

Whatever it was, it was nothing to do with the real numbers I have attached below:

First, we are going to have a look o this picture (2018).
Most spoken languages as mother tongue
Please, don't look for french, I'm afraid it is below 10 position.

Hoewer, it wouldn't be fair (or serious) if we didn't have a look on the next picture below:
Most spoken languages

You can now find the french in 9th position, with less than half of Spanish.

The battle actually doesn't exist and I'm afraid it is never gonna happen.


No offence meant, but this is simply wrong and useless to language learners for several reasons. I find choosing a language just on such tables to be highly misguided, even if we were assuming the learner wants "objective" criteria only and doesn't take into account their life, their regional situation, or their field of work at all. I believe very firmly that any learner choosing just based on the number of native speakers is doing themselves a huge disservice.

From what I've heard from people who have visited China and read on the internet, Mandarin is in some regions read and written but it is not the primary spoken language. And your quoted website at least takes into account that there are various "dialects" of Chinese, some pretty distant, so at least they are not putting "Chinese-1 billion" on the top. Yes, Mandarin is huge and will be on the top even if the reality is half the official number. But I think it is necessary to keep on mind that the official data cannot be trusted here, as they are an important part of the country's PR.

Arabic is more complicated as people don't really speak MSA and the dialects are often just as distant as if they were different languages (first hand observation). So, thinking one language will give you access to 292 millions of speakers is rather naive in this case. It's like saying that one romance language gives you the same access to the natives of them all. Yes, each of the dialects gives you access to an important amount of speakers, especially the big ones like Egyptian Arabic. But if we face the reality and judge the Arabic dialects more like individual languages, most will suddenly be more equal to Italian or Polish.

Sure, Hindi is well spread, but a large part of the population is fully bilingual. That simply means it is not the fourth most useful choice for a generic language learner. Most Russians may be monolingual, so the language truly opens you new connections. Most Hindi natives may be bilingual, so learning the language gives you less of "added value".

If we are looking at the objective critera, we are looking for languages that will make people earn more money. It is as simple as that. And for vast majority of learners not in the respective region, Indonesia, Bengali, Punjabi, or Hindi are simply not gonna improve the salary. It doesn't matter how high on the table they are. If we take away the emotional and educational reasons, as you suggest, people mostly care about how many rich people does the language gives you access to, about the business opportunities. Wherever we make the line between who is still considered a poor and who is already a rich inhabitant of this planet, languages like Bengali will suddenly be at the bottom of the "how many rich enough people speak the language" table.

And in such a case, French may suddenly be above Spanish or very close to it. In such a case, it would still be true though, that the number of african countries speaking French as one of the important languages would still not matter much. Neither would some of the latin american countries.
3 x

User avatar
javier_getafe
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:28 am
Location: Spain
Languages: Spanish (N), English (B2)
Dabbling in french (A0)-Duolingo
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=10163
x 96

Re: Spanish against French: the fight to be the second global language

Postby javier_getafe » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:50 pm

Cavesa wrote:Well, it makes more sense to focus on the importance in each region, rather than globally. On some continents, it is the opposite.
And you are wrong, no offence meant. As far as reasons to learn a langauge go, both of these languages are not too distant both as far as the "fun reasons" go, but also when it comes to the "money earning reasons".


No problem, of course, offence doesn't taken. We are only having and interesting conversation. :)

I am with you in this point. Money earning reasons, fun reasons... this is what really matter.
However, the title of this post is "The Fight to be the Second Global Language" so numbers are important and I confirm my point of view. French is far away from Spanish.

Cavesa wrote: No offence meant, but this is simply wrong and useless to language learners for several reasons.


I can only agree with you in terms of lenguage learners. However, again, It is all about "The Fight to be the Second Global Language"
The fight is already won by far!!
0 x
Super Challenge '19
: 15 / 100 100 books : 24 / 100 100 films
Output Challenge '19
: 6140 / 50000 50,000 words : 14 / 50 50 hours of recorded speech


Return to “Travel and Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests