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Will Mandarin Chinese replace English as the next world language?

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

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

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.

China spreads cultural influence through Mandarin

As China’s economic influence grows, so will its cultural influence. China is spreading Chinese culture and values through the spread of Mandarin language learning.

No, English will remain the world's international language

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

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.

English is politically neutral

The English language is not associated with a single country, while Mandarin is associated with China. Many also say the English language itself is more egalitarian and accessible than Mandarin.

U.S. pop culture is globally prevalent

As long as Hollywood and U.S. pop culture remains prevalent throughout the world, English will still be an influential language.

Mandarin is too difficult

Mandarin's writing system, with its 20,000+ characters in a modern dictionary, is too complex to achieve a widely used lingua franca status around the globe. In contrast, English is much easier.

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.

Mandarin Chinese and English will coexist

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

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.

This page was last edited on Monday, 24 Aug 2020 at 07:35 UTC

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