Yappn’s Five (Not-So-Psychic) 2017 Languages Predictions

We broke out the crystal balls, the tarot cards, everything but the sheep's entrails to bring you these sort-of-vaguely-psychic predictions. And PETA, we were just kidding, we weren't really going to do that!
Photo by velvettangerine on Flickr

Spanish bilingualism will grow and become more accepted in the United States as economics trump nationalism.

1950s movie poster of Mars Needs Women

…The way California needs bilingual teachers. Photo (cropped) by Insomnia Cured Here on Flickr

Internet Usenet pioneer John Gilmore famously said in a 1993 Time Magazine article, “The Net perceives censorship as damage and routes around it,” which was an ironic take on how the network was originally designed to function even if physically damaged. Today, one might argue similarly for the United States’s schizophrenic relationship to languages and particularly bilingualism. As the world grows more global and the US in particular grows more multicultural and increasingly bilingual, with one-sixth of its population speaking Spanish, this bilingual population is quickly becoming a major political voting force and the English-only crowd faces a challenge it’s ultimately going to lose. Mounting evidence shows that CEOs and globalizing companies fare much better and make more money when they’re multilingual and localized. The US is a bilingual country whether it recognizes it or not and will only continue to be more so.

We predict, therefore, that America will continue to grow as an economic powerhouse and route around falling dinosaurs.

Related: Help Wanted – Bilingual Teachers For California Schools

India figures out that most people speak a language other than English there. 

We also think Bollywood will become the new Hollywood when the President bans the old one in a Twitter tantrum, but that's a subject for another day... Photo by Prayitno on Flickr

We also think Bollywood will become the new Hollywood when the President bans the old one in a Twitter tantrum, but that’s a subject for another day… Photo by Prayitno on Flickr

India may be the second most populous country in the world and one of the fastest-growing eCommerce locales but they’ve been famously blind to the fact that more than two-thirds of their population does not speak English. Their websites and online marketplaces are usually found in English but not in any of their native languages. India is one of the most diverse multilingual countries in the world but with 1.2 billion people and only 30% of the population (predominantly affluent and middle classes) speaking English, that leaves 840 million or 70% of them unable to read or shop online on domestic websites. India’s finally beginning to figure out how many rupees they’re leaving on the table.

We predict in 2017 that Indian eCommerce providers will discover Hindu, Bengali, Tegulu, Marathi and other languages commonly spoken within the country and belatedly translate their website for them thar local yokels.

 

Arabic grows in popularity as a second language.

sneering camel

“That’s the worst Arabic I ever heard, and I used to carry that idiot Lawrence of Arabia.” Photo (cropped) by Cat on Flickr

Forget Spanish; the cool kids are all learning Arabic, for which there is a rapidly expanding need with the U.S. government which needs to better communicate with and understand the complexities of Middle Eastern political, economic and military issues as well as the private sector which is watching the influx of new Arabic-speaking consumers on the Internet. The FBI could certainly use more speakers – only 1% of them speak any Arabic at all, and that includes those who know just a few words and phrases. In conjunction with learning the language, people are gaining a greater insight into Islam, the fastest-growing religion in the Middle East, along with the cultural insights that come with it. We don’t fear what we understand and the professional Arabic speaker will be able to function as an ambassador on both sides of the cultural divide. Right now there’s high demand and low supply, so you’re almost guaranteed a job if you can speak Arabic fluently. Learning Arabic doesn’t mean you have to perform your job in high-risk parts of the world – there are export markets in the States for the Middle East where your lingual skills will be critical, but you can still drive home for Christmas.

We predict the Western world will become more Arabic-friendly as once again economics trounces nationalism.

Related: Arabic – More Accessible Than You Think

 

The bilingual debate in Wales rivals the one in Canada.

The Quebecois have been famously fighting for language rights for many years in Canada but now Wales may become the Quebec of Europe–er, the U.K. as it overwhelmingly voted for Brexit. What seems to be a small minority fights to keep the language from dying away. Welsh citizens largely use English to post on Facebook and other social media. A Waterstone’s store in Carmarthen is trying to desperately sell their last boxes of the Welsh-language Scrabble and as of a few years ago Welsh teenagers weren’t much interested in learning it, but letting Welsh die rouses strong passions in many citizens, most of whom still highly value the language and consider it an important part of their heritage even if they don’t speak it themselves. Therefore, many are fighting to preserve it and bilingual sign fracases will sound familiar to Canadians who’ve been enduring similar Quebecois fracases for decades.

Related: Welsh Language Confirmed As A Massive Hoax (Humor)

 

Dying (Native) languages get resuscitated everywhere else.

First Nations Native dancer in Canada

Finally, something really awesome to dance about! Photo by Jeff Nelson on Flickr

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced new legislation to preserve and promote indigenous languages – all sixty of them. Debate ensues as his critics accuse him of doing it to assuage white guilt over the treatment of Natives while others hail it as a much-needed effort to preserve not just Native culture but Canadian culture overall, since the Native languages were the original languages of North America. Meanwhile, in Ecuador, a new school will preserve several different indigenous languages along with Quechua, the official second language of the country (the first being Spanish) and in Scotland, where exactly 2% of the population speaks Gaelic, a five-year plan to make the police force more bilingual has also launched amid the usual criticisms of how important this is when so few speak it regularly, especially considering that the police forces located within the Gaelic communities already speak it. Police Scotland claims it’s going to be a cost-neutral initiative, mitigating the usual concerns about taxpayer cost.

We predict the ongoing debate on preserving indigenous languages will be absolutely hilarious when argued in the dominant language on social media.

One thing is clear though: Expect far more Babeling in 2017!

 

 

 

Yappn Corp is an enhanced machine translation company offering translations in 67 different languages and zero nationalism. For more information please contact sales@yappn.com or call us at +1.905.763.3510 x246.

 

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Written by Nicole Chardenet, Sales Development Rep at Yappn

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