Would you repeat that, please?

Robert Roe

Why don’t we all speak the same language? I know, I know, the Tower of Babel and so on. But upon reflection, wouldn’t re-adoption of a single, world-wide, unified lexicon not only save money in the long run, but also save lives?

Let’s look at the process of Unbabbling the world. The Almanac says we have 196 countries which make up seven continents. These continents house 7.5 billion citizens who speak 7,000 languages.

The bright side is that around 6% of the languages account for the native tongue of 94% of the population. That should make this job easier.

Let’s not wax poetic about the languages we leave behind. Holding on to multiple tongues shouldn’t be a problem of historic preservation. After all, Latin, considered a dead language, is still taught, and its tenets are still used for research, historic and communication purposes. We as a species could do the same with the languages that are not chosen as “The One,” ensuring our rich history of dialects are not lost.

A Languatorium is the answer. A single repository to house the tongues and dialects of Mankind. Problem solved! Our past is preserved, and humanity can focus on the task at hand, which is creating a single language for all to speak.

Would it be easier to take the most spoken language in the world and ask the rest of the planet to adapt? Perhaps the fairer choice would be to adopt an entirely new language, leaving behind the threat of pettiness or ethnocentricity clinging to regional verbiage.

We could usher in the birth of a new language, by which I mean use the Pig Latin we spoke as children. Ould-Way Hat-Tay E-Bay Kay-Oay? In Spain, such a lexicon would be called “Jeringonza.” In Portuguese, “Lingua do Pe.” Or we could use the German “Loffelsprache.”

Do you think slang on a planetary scale would present a problem? After all, “cookies” in America are “biscuits” in England, and don’t get me started on “aluminium.” If there are such oratory peculiarities between two countries who basically share the same language, how much more difficult will it be with each additional group added to the mix. From French to Arabic to Chinese to Russian and the list goes on and on. It makes one wonder if it would be worth the trouble.

Personally, I think it might. A shared language would hopefully evoke conversations about what our world’s cultures have in common. The shared wonder of the sky at sunrise and sunset. The smile of a child. Researchers found graffiti in the ruins of Pompeii as mundane as “On April 19th, I made bread.” See? They’re just like us!

Take that realization to a global scale and I hope we would see that the similarities in our lives vastly outweigh our differences.

Which language would be the most practical to use? According to “India Today,” the oldest language still in use is Tamil, which goes back to 300bc. Personally, I would lean toward standard Klingon or an Elvish tone of the J.R.R. Tolkien variety.

One. Word. At. A. Time. Perhaps that is all it would take to bring our planet together in peace. Naive? Possibly. But stranger things have happened when one or two people have decided the benefit was worth the risk.


Robert Roe