Well the most common and effective way of destroying local cultures, is to force the people to speak the common language.

For example in France, the UK, and many other places, there used to be many local regions, with their own languages and strong local cultures and loyalties. The rulers wanted to kill the local cultures, so that the people would have no local identity. This stops disloyalty or independent thinking or independence movements.

They did this by forcing their subjects to speak a common language.

This policy was perfectly effective.

A province speaking its own language can easily maintain its own identity and push for independence. Without its own language this is more difficult, even if it keeps its own customs.

I think I’ve been too vague. So I can elaborate about these policies in the UK or France, if you like. For other territories (Spain, Italy, etc) I believe the same thing happened but I’m not the expert.

I remember growing up I had a neighbor from the mountainous region of Northern Italy. His little tiny village had its own dialect of Italian. He and his daughter would visit frequently during the summer. She had decent fluency in Italian, but could not keep up when the villagers started speaking dialect.

How would you define “culture”?

What is “a culture”?

It has a strong effect on it. A lack of a common language makes it more likely for a culture to fragment, and a widespread common language causes it to grow closer together. I wouldn’t say it’s essential though.

Yes, so we can talk to each other.

Maybe not a single common language, but there needs to be a limited set at least. People have to be able to have person-to-person conversations. Maybe that takes the form of a few languages where people are fluent in enough languages that they can speak at least one of the same languages as another person they meet. Or a perhaps there are local languages, with a single lingua franca. Then there’s the easiest, where there is one dominant language that is spoken by nearly everyone, at least to some extent. Personally I kind of prefer the lingua franca approach, but I wish a constructed language would finally gain wider popularity. Could be Esperanto, could be something that took some lessons from the imperfections in Esperanto.

Or, if you count the speakers worldwide, Chinese would be the choice … :D


No, English has far more speakers than Chinese. They’re just mostly L2 speakers, with Chinese speakers intensely concentrated inside China. Chinese and English are basically mirror images of each other. Almost all Chinese speakers are L1 inside China, whereas English has over a billion L2 speakers. Meanwhile Chinese has under 200 million L2 speakers and English has a little over 300 million L1 speakers.

There is no “Chinese“. Mostly a “Chinese” means mandarin, which is spoken in and around Beyjing, when I remember it correctly. The next “Chinese” would be cantonese, which is as far away from mandarin as english to russian.

The term “Mandarin” is (sadly) still used in English-speaking countries. What you mean are the few Northern dialects, what are not so different, refined with the 官語 (language of the civil servants) and a portion of the Beijing dialect.

Chinese is not easily comparable with European languages. Certainly, Cantonese has a very different pronunciation, grammar and lexis from High Chinese. But if, for example, a Beijinger can read and write traditional characters, he is able to communicate in writing(!) with a Hong Konger without any problems. In my experience, many Mainland Chinese can at least read the traditional characters.

This is true. I was referring to Mandarin.

Kies kulturo?

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