What English Will Sound Like In 100 Years
An online article by Michael Erard discusses the possible phonetic changes that English might go through in the coming decades and centuries. The best part of the article are three sound files of the opening lines of Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, read in Old English, in modern Received Pronunciation, and in what English might sound like in a century’s time.
The article provides a good summary of the influences on English pronunciation and what kind of sound changes we might expect. But take any predictions, including the one in the audio file, with a grain of salt. While we know that English pronunciation will change, and we know what phonemes are more likely or less likely to change, we really have no clue what will actually change.
The other thing to consider is it is almost certain that there will be no single pronunciation for English. There will be hundreds of different varieties of English. English may not go the way of Latin and split into multiple, distinct dialects (i.e., French, Spanish, Italian, etc.), but even if it remains a global, mutually intelligible language, there will be considerable variation, just like there is today. There will be no single pronunciation of English in centuries time.
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