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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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It is more beneficial to learn English than Mandarin

English communication is a common denominator in international businesses and political entities such as the United Nations (UN). Continuing in a language that is already so widely spoken will ensure that businesses and political entities continue running smoothly.
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There are more speakers of English as a second language in China than in any other country.[1] English is so widely spoken elsewhere as well; is there any point in preserving or learning another language in an increasingly globalized world where collaboration and mutual understanding are so needed for progress?

The Argument

English remains more beneficial for economic opportunities and for practical reasons. There are more Chinese people learning English than there are English speakers learning Mandarin.[2] There is a decline in US students interested in learning Mandarin because of the limited payoff. Some students have reported that the effort to learn Mandarin is not worth it because even if they are seeking employment in China, they find that many Chinese people in their job sector are already fluent in English.[3] Language differences in business or political settings can cause misunderstandings and will hinder progress. It's much easier to communicate in English. For English learners, the difficulties and time needed while learning Mandarin are not worth the payoff.

Counter arguments

As instant machine learning translations become quicker and more accurate, the need for a global lingua franca may diminish. People may be able to communicate freely in their native language with speakers of other languages, aided by instant language translation.


Rejecting the premises



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

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