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< Back to question Will Mandarin Chinese replace English as the next world language? Show more Show less

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.

No, English will remain the world's international language Show more Show less

English is here to stay because of its widespread use in international politics, business, scientific knowledge, the Internet, and pop culture.
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English is the language of business, science, and tech

Most of the world's information on the Internet and scientific knowledge are in written English. Growth, innovation, and international affairs will continue to rely on science and technology—much of which are recorded and discussed in English.
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The Argument

English is the language of technology and scientific knowledge. Computer scientists especially have no choice but to learn English since much of the leading scientific papers in current topics such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing are in English.[1] The top 10 programming languages in the world are English-based.[2] In addition, 59.7% of the world's online content is in English. Mandarin Chinese only takes up 1.5% of online content.[3] Scientists agree that to facilitate better communication in the scientific world, English should be used (even if this fact is unfair to other languages).[4] English is the language of international business. While local business sectors may not use English, international sectors certainly do.[5] Some in the business sector encourage English-only use for better productivity.[6] Since an estimated 1 in every 4 people around the world can use English at a productive level, it is better for companies to bolster its employees' English language abilities than invest in Mandarin language training.[7]

Counter arguments

China is increasing its scientific research.[8] In 2018, China's total number of scientific publications surpassed the US's, according to statistics from the US National Science Foundation (NSF).[9] Important AI-related publications are translated into Mandarin Chinese more quickly than Chinese AI developments are translated into English.[1] As China's economic and scientific advances grow, so will the need to learn Mandarin.


Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Friday, 4 Sep 2020 at 17:20 UTC

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