Which languages could have been much more prominent than they are in real life?

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
13,497
Europix
#21
Small nitpick to begin with:
since much more people speak English than speak French.
You're putting the ox behind the cart a bit: 30 years ago the proportion was extremely different, and much more people speak English nowadays because of internet.

...Frankly, I suspect that, in such a scenario, there would have been a huge push to create an English equivalent of the Minitel

But there was a huge push (in RL, I mean)!

Al Gore's speech on information highways had one of departure points the reports on Minitel of David Lytel, while worked in France, knew Minitel more then well.

American administration at the time became aware of the potentialities involved. And as usually in the history of technological advancement, being the second one can be a huge advance, if one have the intelligence to see the initial flaws and avoid them, to see the good parts and enhance that part.

Americans did had that intelligence, had also the economic power, plus a huge home market, so ... I have to speak with all You guys in English, instead of all You guys speaking French with me :p

_____
PS: if someone is interested, a bit of biblio:
Vecam - Discours de Al gore Vice président des États-Unis, sur les autoroutes de l'information (inspite of the title, the text is in English)

Internet, Minitel and the Advent of the Hot Air Balloon
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#22
Small nitpick to begin with:


You're putting the ox behind the cart a bit: 30 years ago the proportion was extremely different, and much more people speak English nowadays because of internet.




But there was a huge push (in RL, I mean)!

Al Gore's speech on information highways had one of departure points the reports on Minitel of David Lytel, while worked in France, knew Minitel more then well.

American administration at the time became aware of the potentialities involved. And as usually in the history of technological advancement, being the second one can be a huge advance, if one have the intelligence to see the initial flaws and avoid them, to see the good parts and enhance that part.

Americans did had that intelligence, had also the economic power, plus a huge home market, so ... I have to speak with all You guys in English, instead of all You guys speaking French with me :p

_____
PS: if someone is interested, a bit of biblio:
Vecam - Discours de Al gore Vice président des États-Unis, sur les autoroutes de l'information (insoite of teh title, the text is in English)
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...FjANegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw3JQTu-6s--rA0VRrmNg0Ep
I thought that you were German?
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,408
Athens, Greece
#24
I agree with the above posts regarding French and English. French was, not so far back, a very prestigious language, the language of high society, high culture, arts and even further back the language of diplomacy as well. The American dominance in practical and material matters after WWII made English the lingua franca of our age, further cemented by the Internet and the prevalence of English in it.

Two more nominations to contribute to this thread are Greek and Latin. Greek was the lingua franca of large parts of the world in times past, and had the Hellenistic and later the Byzantine world not gradually shrunk, it would still have been a much more prominent language, spoken by many more people than the inhabitants of Greek, Cyprus and their diaspora. Latin also, had the Western Roman Empire not fallen, it would have still been a live language, evolved, with many, many speakers, instead of a dead ancestor of many modern European ones. Both languages, Greek and Latin, retain their prestige in academics and they remain the languages for classical studies. Greek is also the language of the New Testament and of the original Christian masses, while Latin is the language of the Catholic church. Also, both languages are present in almost all other languages of the planet to various extent, having lent terms or even an extensive vocabulary. However, Latin is a dead language, while Greek is spoken by relatively few people.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#25
I agree with the above posts regarding French and English. French was, not so far back, a very prestigious language, the language of high society, high culture, arts and even further back the language of diplomacy as well. The American dominance in practical and material matters after WWII made English the lingua franca of our age, further cemented by the Internet and the prevalence of English in it.

Two more nominations to contribute to this thread are Greek and Latin. Greek was the lingua franca of large parts of the world in times past, and had the Hellenistic and later the Byzantine world not gradually shrunk, it would still have been a much more prominent language, spoken by many more people than the inhabitants of Greek, Cyprus and their diaspora. Latin also, had the Western Roman Empire not fallen, it would have still been a live language, evolved, with many, many speakers, instead of a dead ancestor of many modern European ones. Both languages, Greek and Latin, retain their prestige in academics and they remain the languages for classical studies. Greek is also the language of the New Testament and of the original Christian masses, while Latin is the language of the Catholic church. Also, both languages are present in almost all other languages of the planet to various extent, having lent terms or even an extensive vocabulary. However, Latin is a dead language, while Greek is spoken by relatively few people.
Preventing the Western Roman Empire from falling is a tough challenge, no?

I do agree that the Byzantine Empire's survival can be more easily achieved, though.
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,408
Athens, Greece
#26
Preventing the Western Roman Empire from falling is a tough challenge, no?

I do agree that the Byzantine Empire's survival can be more easily achieved, though.
Actually, I think that the WRE faced easier to counter external foes, it was its own decline from within that led to its downfall. It might have survived much longer, if this decline was somehow stopped and reversed.

The Byzantine empire (or Eastern Roman Empire) faced much tougher enemies, and yet it miraculously survived time and again against all odds, performing some spectacular come-backs and reversals of its demise. It lasted for 1000 years, a duration that puts to shame almost all empires that I can think of. It too could have survived longer, if some things were done differently, but still, nothing lasts forever. How much longer could it push back its inevitable decline? I mean, 1000 years, stopped the Arabs in their prime, when they were swallowing all in their path, fought the might of the Persians to a standstill, countered Goths, Bulgars, Avars, Rus, Slavs, Venetians, etc, etc. I mean, the history of the Byzantine empire is one of almost constant war. It even managed to recapture its lost capital, even though it was a shadow of its former self at the time. If there was a "survivalist" award for states, I think the Byzantine empire should rightly deserve it.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#27
Actually, I think that the WRE faced easier to counter external foes, it was its own decline from within that led to its downfall. It might have survived much longer, if this decline was somehow stopped and reversed.

The Byzantine empire (or Eastern Roman Empire) faced much tougher enemies, and yet it miraculously survived time and again against all odds, performing some spectacular come-backs and reversals of its demise. It lasted for 1000 years, a duration that puts to shame almost all empires that I can think of. It too could have survived longer, if some things were done differently, but still, nothing lasts forever. How much longer could it push back its inevitable decline? I mean, 1000 years, stopped the Arabs in their prime, when they were swallowing all in their path, fought the might of the Persians to a standstill, countered Goths, Bulgars, Avars, Rus, Slavs, Venetians, etc, etc. I mean, the history of the Byzantine empire is one of almost constant war. It even managed to recapture its lost capital, even though it was a shadow of its former self at the time. If there was a "survivalist" award for states, I think the Byzantine empire should rightly deserve it.
Great analysis!

Anyway, I think that things really began to go south for the Byzantines after the 1071 Battle of Manzikert--a battle that the Byzantines ironically started and that the Seljuk Turks didn't actually want. This led to the permanent Byzantine expulsion from the interior of Anatolia and thus removed the necessary strategic depth for their regime.
 

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