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In a meeting with colleagues from around the world, including an Englishman, a Korean and a Brazilian, he noticed that he and the other non-native English speakers were communicating in a form of English that was completely comprehensible to them, but which left the Englishman nonplussed.
He, Jean-Paul Nerriere, could talk to the Korean and the Brazilian in this neo-language, and they could understand each other perfectly.
But the Englishman was left out because his language was too subtle, too full of meaning that could not be grasped by the others.
BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | New lingua franca upsets French
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How soon could anyone suggest English will be the lone language of the World?
Obviously, the course of technology and resources would play the most crucial role. For instance, if the World runs out of oil sooner rather than later then the English language wouldn't progress as rapidly.