For a long time, English has been considered the global language. English has been the language of business, and it is the common language that people use when traveling. You can be from India and travel to France and still communicate with people in English.
Yet English may not hang onto its global language title for long. With the rapid growth of China both in terms of its population and its business influence, many are predicting that Mandarin will soon be the new global language.
By the Numbers
English may still be recognized as the global language, but there are more native speakers of Mandarin than there are English. There are 873 million native Mandarin speakers, and more than a billion who speak it worldwide. Meanwhile, there are only 340 million native English speakers and 510 million speakers worldwide.
English is only the fourth most popular language by number of speakers around the world.
Growth of Study
Not only do more people already speak Mandarin, but more people are becoming interested in studying it. High schools, colleges and universities across the country are all adding options to study Mandarin. In addition, there are more opportunities for young children to study Mandarin in immersion programs and summer school camps.
Growth of Economy
The United States has long been the most powerful global economy. However, experts predict that China will soon have the largest and most powerful economy.
The bigger the economy grows, the more people will have to do business in China to be successful. Learning the language can make negotiations and forming business partnerships that much easier, so more businessmen are likely to start learning Mandarin to give them an advantage.
Even if Mandarin does overtake English as the global language, some are predicting that it won’t happen for many generations. We’ll have to wait and see how things evolve.