Language have existed as a tool of communication since time immemorial, from earliest grunts and snorts of cavemen to the diverse and complicated language system we have today. We have evolved drastically to better make use of this tool. The average human possesses the ability and capacity to acquire and use such complex systems of communications, something our early ancestors would be unable to. Through such tools, we gain the ability to cooperate, impart knowledge and better express ourselves. It has given us countless advantages and benefits, allowing us to outsmart physically stronger animals and to form strategic alliances. If everyone shared the same tongue, language barriers would be eradicated and thereby easing communications. However, choosing a language above others would undoubtedly deem the others inferior. Such a change is bound to come with some conflict. Furthermore, language contains many its culture and through it’s unique traits, distinguishes itself from other languages.
The irony here is that language seeks to bond individuals, yet one language is capable of discriminating one group from another through the use of different languages. A Czech proverb goes by saying learning a new language gains one a new soul. Culture has influenced the growth of a language so much that each language in the modern world shows a tint of their culture in the way it is used, and provides some insight to how it feels like to be part of the society. The Japanese language, molded by their peace-loving character with their gentle cadence(well, aside from the Kansai dialect.) embodies their closeness with nature as well- the peaceful sounds of cherry blossom trees rustling in the wind, and the chirping of cicadas in the summer. The slightly nasalized French hints their pride in oneself as well as their elegance. A language provided an identity to its speakers, and that is something a shared language would be unable to provide.
Language is also different throughout the world to better cope with out communication needs. Asians, generally more conservative, tends to use more delicate and softer terms when communicating, while Westerners tend to more creative and employ wordplay to come across in a less precise way. Also, the Japanese poems would probably sound rather inane when translated to English. Having a shared language would be unable to cater to the different needs of each society, it falls short when it comes to allowing people to communicate in a way they are more comfortable with. One man’s frankness is another man’s vulgarity.With such intangibles lost, the only advantage a shared language brings seems to be the ease of communication.
Without the need for somewhat inaccurate translation and transliteration, many wars and deaths could have been averted. Johann Rall, Colonel of the Hessian troops at the Battle of Trenton received a letter from a spy. The letter warned of the Washington’s forces attack one day before the siege. Unable to read English, he put the letter into his coat pocket, unread. The Hessian troops lost the battle and Colonel Rall himself died. The consequences of language differences also obstructed communication amongst countries and alliances. Interpreters are human, flawed. With a shared language, diplomatic meetings can proceed steadily and any activity, be it charity, rescue work or economic activity can be carried out fluently and efficiently.
Arguably, problems cannot be solved by just talking. The common language merely provides a common platform. It is taken as an assumption that if everyone were able to communicate better, the problems that rose in the past due to miscommunication could be adverted. That is just simply ignorant of the other factors that perpetuate such conflict and disasters. Man is aggressive by nature, and fueled by greed and ambition of sorts, many find themselves in warfare and simply talking would not work. Think social Darwinism.
In short, communication cannot be a major factor in building a better world. Furthermore, the countless intangibles we lose as and sacrifice to make way for better communication cannot be worth it. There are other alternative methods that should be played out to create a better world. If one can dream a better world, one can build it. But I assure you that having a common language is the least recommendable.
“The banality of evil shares much with the banality of heroism. Neither attribute is the direct consequence of unique dispositional tendencies; there are no special inner attributes of either pathology or goodness residing withing the human psyche or the human genome.”
-Phillip Zimbardo from his book “The Lucifer Effect”