This is just one small example of why we need a international common language.

In 1975, the World Health Organization refused:

  • U$S 148,200 for a better public health service in Bangladesh
  • U$S 83,000 to fight leprosy in Burma
  • U$S 26,000 for basic hygiene in Dominican Republic
  • U$S 0.50 per patient to cure trachoma, which has millions of victims and can cause blindness
  • and many other requests

Meanwhile, it accepted Chinese and Arabic as working languages increasing the expenses in in translations by U$S 5,000,000, every year.

Let’s add a bit of perspective. The cost of all projects for Africa is U$S 4,200,000, almost a whole million dollars less that translating for these two new languages.

It is clear that a common simple international language is needed.

Source: Everyone’s own language by Maire Mullarney, citing an open letter by Claude Piron.

Update 2008-11-22: corrected some errors and expanded the article.

One response to “The need for a common language”

  1. John Selfridge Avatar
    John Selfridge

    English successfully played the role of international language for quite some time. If we set aside our hegemonic guilt and political correctness, we can save the millions of lives that you outlined here. More people already speak English than will ever learn Esperanto. I like LISP better, but English is pretty effective.

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