Hindi, Chinese may dethrone English

March 3rd, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by admin  

By Prabhat Sharan
Mumbai, March 3 (IANS) Hindi and Chinese, languages spoken in the emerging markets of the world, may dethrone Queen’s English from the coveted status of “preferred lingua franca”, believes an American expert. US economist David Rosen said the official languages of the two emerging markets, India and China, will soon be the most preferred language in the workplace in coming times.

Rosen, who is a China expert, is adjunct professor in the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. He was in Mumbai to deliver a lecture to a group of industry captains on “China’s Macro Re-directions and Implications for India”.

“Current economic trends predict that the markets of English speaking nations are on the downslide and they are witnessing a hiatus in the growth sector,” Rosen told IANS in an interview.

“In all likelihood, functional knowledge of the Hindi and Chinese language may dominate the world market scene, as the English language speaking market, it seems, is fast becoming obsolete,” he said.

Hindi and Chinese are said to be 400 and 4,000 years old respectively.

In the same breath, Rosen, however, projected an optimistic future for English language, stating that it would be erroneous to jump the gun and “prognosticate the demise of the First World”.

“They (First World) will not disappear. It will not be easy to bring down the existing economic giants. After all, when you look at the present economic trends, if China is the ‘factory of the world’ and ‘India the office of the world’, then USA is the knowledge book of the world,” he said.

Refusing to get drawn into the controversial issue of economic recession in the US economy, Rosen said: “I am not an investment banker so I cannot talk about an actual scene but going by the trends, it seems that NPA (non-performing assets) of banks is going to worsen and deteriorate further in coming days as investments will go down further.”

Rosen said Indian economic planners should focus on the modernisation of agrarian sector. “They should bring about changes in approach policies whereby they can wrench themselves free from the economic structure of the past,” he said.

He said Indian planners should get 60 percent of population involved in agriculture, out of this arena and into other sectors.

“What I feel is that it is time the education planners should start focusing on basic education rather than going overboard on the Indian Institutes of Technology and IT. Otherwise a paradigm shift from agrarian arena to other sectors will result in people lining up the streets with begging bowls.”

(Prabhat Sharan can be contacted at p.sharan@ians.in)

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