Over the last 10 years I have slowly but surely convinced myself the pace of cultural change is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. The only certainty now seems to be uncertainty itself. Scenarios we deemed unthinkable just five years ago now seem emerging realities. We’re all in a way prisoners of our age and may easily lose sight of the wider historical context. As civilisations wax and wane, we’d be foolish to assume our current way of life will continue to progress along the same lines.
In more innocent times we associated a language with its national community. For much of history nations and languages had a symbiotic relationship. Language is the ultimate propagator of the cultural traits that hold together communities and enable the development of hierarchical command structures. A multilingual country is effectively an empire, for it has to unite peoples unable to communicate easily except through the medium of a common higher-register language that is not their own.