Orwell advocates the establishment of a universal international language for a few reasons, but basically because the world is getting smaller and smaller. This affects political policy, travel, economy, and human rights because different cultures are progressively interacting over time. Nowadays you can hop a plane and be on the opposite side of the world tomorrow at this time, yet a few hundred years ago sending a letter to another in your own country could take nearly a month. Cultures are simply interacting more now, and it's prudent to understand the ramifications.
It's not to say that the shrinking of the globe made diplomacy less deliberate, but it simply means that diplomatic engagement with other cultures in the past was inescapably expensive from an energy standpoint. Today there is the internet and blogs and smartphones and worldwide news broadcasts to use, whereas in the past letters were written, and face to face unscripted conversations occurred. I don't doubt how the myriad means of technology which allow us to communicate with other cultures provides a practice grounds for inter-culture engagements, but I'm not sure implementing a universal international language would even be effective from a practical standpoint. For starters, macro-languages derive from micro-cultures and their axioms, traditions, physical resources, and historical memories. Languages aren't simply memorized as letters fused into words fused into sentences, yet the words have associative meaning--either tonal, gestural, historical, or metaphorical--which acts as the vehicle to their conveyance. Some words are simply space-holders, but the process of creating, learning and teaching language is much more than memorizing tones and symbols. I'm not saying language is a subjective free-for-all, yet, to borrow yet another of Kristhoffer's arguments, language is affected by the participant as much as the participant is affected by the language. It's an interdependancy, and although I applaud Orwell's practical vision, instituting an international language as standard means of communication would most likely prove futile, due to the intricacies of each culture and the organic nature of how it expresses itself through its primary selected language.
One could say that this is already happening. That English is becoming the international language because it's the primary language of America, one of the top economically-productive countries. Once America falls though, who's to say the English language will be maintained as the universal international language? The new most-powerful country will most certainly redefine 'universal' as their chosen language. Thus, if we established a universal international language, who would be the timeless authority in maintaining the objective tenets of the language after power changes hands, and how are we to implement objective universality when no world-nation has practiced language-objectivity thus far?
Orwell makes the argument that learning foreign languages is futile at any rate because people so easily forget them. He also observes that languages are becoming more nationalistic due to the war-precipitated dislocation of people, and because more nations value a Western-minded imperialistic orientation, which is completely contradictory to ascertaining a universal international language. (To be clear, he doesn't say that a universal international language will be the exclusive language, just that having one will be more effective than erroneously learning foreign languages.) I don't think the problem with learning foreign languages lay in the mechanics of the language itself, yet with the people who misuse it. Orwell even admits it's a human-habit problem and not a linguistic problem when he says, "In my life I have learned seven foreign languages, including two dead ones, and out of those seven I retain only one, and not that brilliantly. This would be quite a normal case." (p.533) I find this passage self-incriminates his argument against foreign language because he knows that people haven't yet mastered them, though he dismisses the process of learning foreign languages out of a faulty framework within them. It'd be one thing if international relations still weren't harmonious after people implemented a mastery of multiple languages over a long period of time, but learning and maintaining multiple foreign language is dismissed from the outset because they're perceived as useless on the domestic front.
We're left with an observation that technology allows us to communicate with other nations and cultures cheaper and easier, yet, we're becoming more isolationist. This is because the world can't become more nationalistic in language without becoming more isolationist in purview, because our language is simply an extension of our nuclear values and orientation, and how we conduct ourselves in both human and non-human affairs. Just because we can easily and affordably jet-set doesn't mean we integrate and interact with other cultures as efficiently or effectively. Technology is a fantastic tool, yet as always, the problems it causes aren't due to inherent limitations in the technology, but from the humans who exploit and misuse it. I am skeptical to think that a universal international language would remain universal over time, when the real primary language would be used by default to domestically communicate everything ranging from mundane to significant. How would this proposed universal language remain polished and clear if it's only used in international times? Logistically then, it's not far off to ask for a universal domestic language after a universal international language is agreed upon, because that's the best way to keep the tool effective and clear and not mutated or infected by the primary language's metaphors or historical memories. Which, to be clear, is my (Kristhoffer-influenced) apprehension with establishing a universal international language; without everyday practice, how are we going to keep this tool clear and nuanced enough to communicate clearly with distinctly different cultures?
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