Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/344

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The present supremacy of English in commerce is undoubted. Yet it does not amount to a monopoly. English has to face the rivalry of German in central and eastern Europe, of French in the Mediterranean countries, of Spanish in South America, of the native languages everywhere. When the commercial hegemony of England was absolute and apparently indestructible, England could impose the use of her language to all her customers. German competition has taught her that it paid to use the customers' own speech. The unique position of English is thus becoming a thing of the past. England and the United States may retain their lead and even increase it, but the days of monopoly are gone.

All things related to traveling—hotels, traveling agencies, navigation companies, were long the stronghold of Anglo-Saxon influence. But there is no sign that the relative importance of that influence is on the increase. A generation ago, only Englishmen and Americans had both the means and the desire to travel. The French were "casaniers" (stay-at-home); the Germans were poor, and all the rest, especially the South American "rastaqouères," were totally without prestige. The number of Anglo-Saxon tourists has greatly multiplied. Instead of limiting themselves to a few well-known resorts, they haunt every little corner in Europe. But they are no longer alone. German and French cruising yachts call at every port. Parisian hotels can not be content with the "English spoken" of yesterday. He who pays the pipers calls the tune, and we are beginning to hear other tunes besides "Rule Britannia" and "My Country, Tis of Thee."

We do not believe that any nation is going to wrest from England and America the scepter of the commercial world; we do not believe that Anglo-Saxon influence in that domain is on the wane. But we do believe that it is not likely to become greater than it was some ten years ago. And, since it was not sufficient then to secure the adoption of English as international medium, it probably never will.

Business is not the whole of life. If we turn to science, we find that, whilst English has conquered international recognition in practically all branches of learning, in hardly any does it rank first. England and America have as splendid a roll of scientists to show as Germany or France; but many of these were isolated men of genius. Germany has a larger host of conscientious, subordinate scientific workers and a larger competent public. The lead of Germany is probably not so considerable as some Americans are apt to think. This country has long been a province of the Fatherland as far as higher education was concerned, and it retains to the present day a pro-German bias which makes it unjust to the achievements of England, France, Italy, and even to its own. But, great or small, that lead, from the linguistic point of view at least, is undeniable. For the purpose of disinterested study, every