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Will Chinese be the most important language in the world after English in 20 yea [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-3-15 18:39:22 |Display all floors
China is slowing becoming the superpower number one in the world. Will Chinese be an lingua franca together with English in 20 years siince the whole world will be pushed to cooperate with China?

#Matt Gaiser-- Nope.

  • David Holland and Seth Wyatt pointed out that English rose to significance as the international language of diplomacy and business after WW2 because the USA became one of the dominant powers and since 1991 the only dominant power. In that time they helped set up international organizations such as the UN and the IMF.
  • English is the most broadly spoken (as in number of countries) because of the British Empire. China is not conquering anywhere or constructing local educational and administrative systems around Chinese. English is dominant not just because it is the international language of business, but it is also an the official language of a pile of countries.


  • The Chinese are not even keen on you learning to speak Mandarin. They are having all their students learn English and have made no serious efforts to teach the world Mandarin. China is the largest English speaking country (yes, many are “learners”, but “learner” means more than in the West).
  • Chinese immigrants to other countries lose the language by the second or third generation. So while they may be moving around the world and growing as a percentage of the population in other countries, the language is not surviving.
  • English speakers are very accepting of mistakes and most native speakers lack a solid understanding of most of the “rules” in the English language. If an ESL speaker forgets to use articles on occasion, I probably will not notice. You mix up tones in Mandarin and it will sound jarring to a native speaker. Want a language to make mistakes in? English.

#Yiannis Papadopoulos-- This is a question I wondered about too.

English is the de facto lingua franca. Which means that people in Chine have an incentive to learn English in order to communicate with Europeans, Americans, Indians, Australians.

On the other hand it is always very useful to speak the language of a trading player the size of China. The problem is that… Chinese is not English! English is very simple in its grammar and syntax and also very forgiving when you make a mistake (you do not lose the concept of a phrase). Chinse is far more difficult to learn to speak and even more difficult to write. This will prove a major obstacle especially for someone who’s first language is simpler.

So even if I see Chinese as more important than French or German it will be difficult to beat Spanish in just 20 years, even if it will only be because Chinese is so darned hard to learn!

#Anonymous-- Actually the other way round is true.

As China is growing in international business, large number of Chinese are learning English. So the incentives of learning Mandarin by non Chinese people are getting lower.
And since Chinese have many projects in African countries, which are mostly French speaking, even those African officials have to learn English to communicate with Chinese people.
Also since liberalization in India in 90’s, India is getting more global and hence more and more Indians are learning English and this trend will grow in next 20 years.
Same trend is visible in European countries also, that English is becoming the common language due to business and increased tourism.

So in next 20 years China and India will help English become the most important language in the world.

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