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April Fool’s Day Hoax, 2008

At 12:01am GMT on April 1st, 2008, EnglishClub published an article reporting that the United Nations planned to phase out all languages but one by the year 2049. Judging from some of the 300+ comments that this article received, not everyone realised that it was an April Fool’s Day hoax, despite the date of April 1st being clearly stated in the first line. The article, heavily laced with absurdities to add credibility, cited climate change, terrorism and multiple personality disorder as among the reasons to move to a single language. Many readers spotted the hoax and praised it highly; others took great exception to the UN plans and expressed their thoughts passionately; and a few vented their spleen on EnglishClub for having published in such “bad taste”.

Read the original article and comments here

UN To Ban ‘Unnecessary’ Languages

Redundant languages blamed for adding to climate change, terrorism and cultural division

CAMBRIDGE, UK ( Tuesday April 1, 2008 — The United Nations is to hold its first debate on language redundancy amid warnings that the problem is “a major contributor” to climate change, a “massive threat” to international security and the cause of “rifts and divisions” within society.

Andrew Steiner, UNEP head:
“French causing damage”

Next week’s meeting is the result of an improbable coalition of interests, and follows sustained pressure from the US Administration, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program.

“We’re reacting to two very sobering reports about the impact on climate change of the huge number of languages in use worldwide,” Andrew Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program, told Reuters news service. At the same time White House spokesman Gordon Stanzel revealed serious translation challenges for the CIA caused by “an abundance of languages.” Pointing to the fact that terrorists typically use non-English languages amongst themselves, he suggested that only by making English the world’s “unique” language could security be assured. Asked why the world’s “unique” language should be English and not, say, Chinese or Spanish, he replied that English was already so Read on »