In Germany and elsewhere English has gradually become the dominant language within academia. This trend has advantages and disadvantages. This paper is about the latter. The disadvantages can be put into three categories. First, with respect to the ‘status of language’: New terms describing new scientific and scholarly developments will be communicated mainly in English, reducing thereby urgency and pressure (‘status’) of properly mastering one’s own (non-Anglophone) mother tongue. As a further result, non-English languages are not sufficiently semantically ‘refreshed’, drying out also the world expressed in that language (part 1a).
Another consequence (part 1b) is the gradual loss of tradition, especially within the field of humanities. One of the major functions of the humanities namely is the permanent re-adaptation of past accomplishments which are often only available in the form of special semantics sedimented there. If this permanent process of re-adaptation – i.e. the ability to adequately transfer such historical semantics into a developing modern terminology – is weakened, then the link to a non-Anglophone culture’s own past would be increasingly loosened; its linguistic nuances are slowly being sacrificed on the altar of ‘globalese’. Moreover, non-native speakers perceivably adopt a more pragmatic usage of English which may be intellectually less harmful when describing scientific phenomena; they follow an Aristotelian model of language. But consequences are more serious when dealing with the more language-sensitive subjects of the humanities; here, the Aristotelian language model is applicable only with reservations.
Yet another consequence (part 2) is that non-native speakers often face disadvantages when having to compete with native speakers with respect to publications, presentations, and jobs. The global process of the ‘Americanization’ within the academic world is not always contributing to global fairness.