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Phonetical poverty of English
The easier a language is to learn, the more widespread it becomes
There are thousands of languages across the world and perhaps hundreds of thousands of dialects. The languages that are prevalent across North India, Central Asia, Russia and Europe come from the same root. The Indo-European language tree is broad and complex.
Latin and Sanskrit are far more closely related than one would assume.
Almost all European languages operate with the Roman script. Even so, they use a whole range of accents to convey the phonetical richness of the language.
à á â ä æ ã å ā
This is true of languages that do not operate with the Roman script as well. Indian languages have hundreds of alphabets because of their phonetical richness.
The Eastern languages are even more subtle in their phonetics. Ask someone who has to deal with - Shao / Xiao / Zhao.
The African languages are even more complex with ‘!’ being used to represent clicks of the tongue.
The only European language that does not use any accents at all is English. This makes it a nightmare for some non-native English learners. Why is ‘Ch’ not pronounced the same way in Charity, Chimera and Charade.
The phonetical poverty of English implies that certain sounds from other languages are impossible to even convey in writing in English.
At the same time, this makes the language attractive. Anyone can learn it quickly and it is very easy to teach to another person. The results are obvious.
In 1900 China had a population of 467 million. By comparison, England has 41.5 million people and the USA had 76.3 million people (not all of them English). Today English has become the lingua franca across the world. While there are those who would attribute this to the breadth of the British Empire, the Spaniards and the French had spread themselves just as wide.
English has the largest number of non-native speakers across the globe. All because it is devoid of too many subtleties.