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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.

Mandarin Chinese and English will coexist Show more Show less

One language does not have to dominate. Mandarin and English will coexist as international languages, increasing the need for English-Mandarin bilingualism.
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Mandarin-English bilingualism is more needed than ever

English is no longer the main global language. While English may not be going anywhere anytime soon, Mandarin (and China's influence) will spread even more, necessitating more Mandarin-English bilingualism internationally.
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Context

Though Mandarin Chinese replacing English may seem unlikely, many English speakers see the benefits of bilingualism, specifically English-Mandarin bilingualism, in an increasingly connected world.

The Argument

English-speaking countries see the value and need for English-Mandarin bilingualism. The U.S. government considers Mandarin a "critical language," a language that U.S. Americans should learn to help U.S. national security.[1] The UK[2] and Ireland[3] hope to increase the number of students learning Mandarin Chinese. As more English-speaking countries see the need for English-Mandarin bilingualism, both languages can potentially become more widely used. More English speakers are investing in learning Mandarin because they see the language as economically profitable. More parents in the US, the UK, and Malaysia are sending their children to English-Mandarin bilingual schools. Many parents want their children to learn Mandarin because they see it as a language that will give socioeconomic opportunities for their children.[4][5][6] Several high-profile English-speakers, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Ivanka Trump, and Jeff Bezos are paying for their children to start learning Mandarin early.[7] If more young English-speakers embrace language-learning, Mandarin specifically, then Mandarin and English may coexist as two important global languages in the future.

Counter arguments

The boom in Mandarin learning may not be permanent. In the 1980s, many predicted that Japanese would be the next language of business and technology, which caused more people to learn Japanese.[7] The fad was short-lived, and today, English is still the language of globalization.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.nsep.gov/content/critical-languages
  2. https://news.cgtn.com/news/34517a4d32597a6333566d54/index.html
  3. https://news.cgtn.com/news/7a4d7a4e30637a6333566d54/index.html
  4. https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2017-10/13/content_33190150.htm
  5. https://www.epsomcollege.edu.my/2019/06/20/the-significance-of-mandarin-as-the-next-global-language/
  6. https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/glochi/4/1/article-p1.xml
  7. https://www.businessinsider.com/wealthy-families-teaching-kids-to-speak-mandarin-2017-11#jeff-and-mackenzie-bezos-1
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 25 Aug 2020 at 22:53 UTC