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Will Mandarin Chinese replace English as the next world language? Show more Show less
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English became the world’s international language through British colonization in the 17th-18th centuries, the growth of science and technology through Britain’s Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, and the rise of the United States as a leader in economic, political, cultural, and scientific power in the 20th-21st centuries. Today, English (and its many varieties) has the greatest number of speakers in the world (1,268 million), followed closely by Mandarin Chinese (1,120 million). Yet, with the rise of the People’s Republic of China as a global economic superpower, many speculate that Mandarin Chinese (China’s official language) will soon replace English as the language of international affairs.

Yes, Mandarin will become the next world language Show more Show less

It will not be long before Mandarin replaces English as the global lingua franca due to China’s economic and cultural growth.
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Mandarin is an economic necessity

More people are learning Mandarin because they see the language as economically profitable or because they need the language to communicate with Chinese businesses.

Context

China is among the world's fastest-growing economies,[1],makes up 15.5% of the global economy,[2] and is currently the world's 2nd largest economy. China's continued economic development (through initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative to develop routes connecting China to 152 countries) will maintain its position as a global economic superpower for years to come.[3]

The Argument

As China grows its businesses and economic influence, more people are learning Mandarin to better communicate with Chinese business owners. Several countries see Mandarin as an important language to learn, for business and international affairs. For example, the U.S. government considers Mandarin a "critical language," meaning it is a language that U.S. Americans should learn to help U.S. national security. Many nations in East Africa, including Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Kenya have added Mandarin as an optional subject in elementary schools,[4] and Uganda has Mandarin as a mandatory subject.[5] If the Mandarin-speaking economy surpasses the status quo of an English-speaking economy, Mandarin could replace English as the language of business.

Counter arguments

Mandarin may be an economic necessity, but English will still be more beneficial in fields of business, science, and technology.[6]

Proponents


Premises

[P1] China is a growing economic force. [P2] Language competence is necessary for business and collaboration. [P3] As Chinese businesses grow around the world, the use of Mandarin Chinese will increase too.

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RL33534.html
  2. https://www.investopedia.com/insights/worlds-top-economies/
  3. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/china-economic-growth-history/
  4. https://globalvoices.org/2019/07/23/is-mandarin-chinese-the-language-of-east-africas-future/
  5. https://qz.com/africa/1505985/uganda-schools-to-teach-chinese-lessons/amp/
  6. https://www.parlia.com/a/english-is-language-of-science-tech

This page was last edited on Monday, 31 Aug 2020 at 16:18 UTC

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