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Chinese to be the most spoken language in the years to come?


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Who thinks that Chinese will be the most spoken language in the years to come? LOTS of foreigners have already started to learn it while chinese people don't even bother learning english.

Luckily, I know quite a bit of chinese so I think I would be fine but what are your thoughts on this theory?

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Very unlikely, merely because English has the status quo, and therefore it will be hard to change. Even if/when china has more influence that the anglosphere, the fact that so many people use it as a second language mean that the combined populace of the English speaking world will outweigh that of the native Chinese.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Chinese gave in before the Americans did. They started integrating English into their education system while in the United States, Chinese is only taught as a foreign language option.

Chinese would be the most spoken language in the world if nations kept to themselves, but the fact is that English is the most spoken language in the world currently. As Hedonologist pointed out, the combined populace of the English speaking world is already overwhelming.

The countries with the most English speakers are China and India, not the United States. They contribute to the hegemony of English.

Another problem with Chinese is that the phrases are limited and it is difficult to learn. English is difficult to learn because of the grammar rules and exceptions, but Chinese is based upon memorization. The world is gradually moving away from memorization as intelligence and more toward understanding as intelligence. People don't feel the need to spend time on so much memorizing when they can achieve the same aptitude with different methods that save more time.

English is the primary language used in communication because it is versatile and has unique words and jargon for each profession. Doctors and scientists around the world use English because it is a very effective communication system while Chinese uses phrases that can easily be confused with others if the listener did not hear them in their entirety.

The versatility of English makes it so ideal. It can have a word or phrase for everything because of the combinations one can make with the letters in the English language. The language itself is so backed up with context that most of a conversation is repetition that strengthens the meaning of a concept. Even if some things are left out, the message can easily be understood which is why we can understand other English as a Second Language learners even if they are not so good with using their words.

Of course, even though English holds such a high place in society, foreign language learning should still be encouraged because it gives you a huge advantage in communication. The image of an American who speaks native English is extremely strengthened by knowledge of foreign languages.

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Firstly I disagree with what you've said about the Chinese not bothering to learn English. English is taught in all Chinese schools and I do think that a lot of Chinese do try to learn English because at this moment in time English is the most globalised language.

I do think that there will be significant growth of use of the Chinese language in the years to come but I don't quite see it becoming the most spoken language in the world so soon. Although technically Chinese is the most spoken language in the world already due to the large Chinese population, English is still the most widespread second language by far. English is the preferred language option not because of any limitations of Chinese but only because of the previous power that the English and Americans had over the world which caused them to be the powerhouses of the world and thus their languages to be more widespread.

Since now China is definitely an up and coming country, I do think many more people will go out of their way to learn Chinese since economically it is becoming so strong and there is going to be a lot of opportunities presented in China. However everything global like the internet tends to prefer English and I don't think that is going to change anytime soon due to the face that the common language between two people from anywhere in the world is most likely to be English.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bob, I would love to hear what you have to say about your statement: "Chinese phrases are limited".

I am not sure what you mean by saying this. I have been studying Chinese for a long time and I am not sure I would agree with this. Please elaborate on this  :grin:

regards

lingua

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Actually, Chinese is already the most spoken language in the world, with close to a billion speakers. However, English can be said to be the most widespread, with many parts of the world adopting it as the business language.

I agree that China is emerging as an economic powerhouse, and as such more people are learning the language. Who knows, in future I might even be typing this in Chinese.

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I would say Chinese is an important language to learn, especially Mandarin. There are a lot of Chinese people migrate to the United States, which most of them either speak Mandarin or Cantonese. China has the largest population worldwide, plus most people are taught Mandarin when they were little. Chinese is one of the oldest and historical languages exists in the universe.

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Actually, Chinese is already the most spoken language in the world, with close to a billion speakers. However, English can be said to be the most widespread, with many parts of the world adopting it as the business language.

I agree that China is emerging as an economic powerhouse, and as such more people are learning the language. Who knows, in future I might even be typing this in Chinese.

hmm, I doubt that JohnSword but I like the idea as I am studying Chinese at university  :tongue:

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I don't view that Chinese will ever be the most spoken language in years to come. However, I know that they do take an interest in learning English :cool:. With the trade between China and other countries on the increase and Chineses setting up business in alot of English speaking countries it will become more globalized but it won't excede the English language.

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China alone has over one billion citizens and they all speak Chinese and that's excluding the other Chinese people around the world so it's safe to say that Chinese is the most spoken language. Furthermore, not only Chinese speak Chinese but some other races speak them too so the numbers are really huge. English isn't the most spoken, it's the most recognised language.

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  • 1 month later...

China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong make students learn English. They're better at learning English than westerners are at learning Chinese. Maybe the world will become like Blade Runner and there'll be in influx of non-english speaking Chinese immigrants so people will be forced to learn Chinese just to communicate with people around town. That would be interesting.

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If the chinese hadn't Learned English as readily as they have done, then Chinese may well have had a  more dominant position, but really, they had to learn English to get to where they are today. In the past they needed us more than we needed them, but by the time they are a solid superpower, they will already be bilingual rendering Chinese study moot.

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  • 4 months later...

I do agree somehow, because even the Philippines, it's been a growing issue that the time learning general education subjects (including the native language, Filipino) will be lessened to make room for Mandarin, which is one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world.

Given this, I think Mandarin will somehow dominate in the future - but not in the near future. At most, I see Mandarin to be "paired" with English when it comes to global communications, seeing as China is growing as an economic powerhouse and English still being widespread and is technically almost the secondary language of a lot of countries (if not most) around the world. Of course, this depends on how the Chinese language will further influence the language scene in the times to come.

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Well, in terms of number, I can see that happening. But I still think English would still be more useful. There might be a lot of Chinese people talking in Chinese, but I think knowing how to speak English will still help you communicate in more places.

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Chinese will likely never become the international language because the Chinese do not spread around the language. In East Asia, there is also much more of a tendency to consider your language only for your people. Having lived in China, I can confirm this. Some people don't like foreigners using Chinese. This seems to be changing a lot with the younger generation, though.

The British spread their language around and that is a key part of making a language international. China either is or will soon be the largest English speaking country. Let that sink in. Not only is Chinese not on track to become an international language, it is heavily contributing to keeping English on top. English learning is big business in China.

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  • 10 months later...

I don't think Chinese will replace English as the most spoken language all over the world. There are some reasons:

1.The popularisation of English is certainly one of the most important part of the globalisation. Its status will be solid in at least 20 years;

2.English is in general easier to learn, compared with Chinese. I mean IN GENERAL!(cause some have opposite ideas to it)In a way, it means that it's more efficient to become in proficiency in English;

3.English shares a similar alphabet with a lot of languages, while Chinese uses an unique writing system.

Although Englis has been through the Vowel Shift, people can work with reading and pronunciating together while Chinese learners have to deal with characters and their pronunciations separately.

They are also other reasons supporting it. Nevertheless, it's indisputable that Chinese becomes a trend for those who are ready to learn a foreign language.

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From what I know, Chinese is the most spoken language. With the large population of China and add to that the Chinese-speaking Chinese outside of China, there's a lot than English speakers. Most countries I know have Chinatown like the Philippines, US, even in London there is Soho. So I really think that Chinese speakers are the majority in the world.

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  • 4 months later...
On 29/07/2015, 8:17:56, CorieHens said:

From what I know, Chinese is the most spoken language. With the large population of China and add to that the Chinese-speaking Chinese outside of China, there's a lot than English speakers. Most countries I know have Chinatown like the Philippines, US, even in London there is Soho. So I really think that Chinese speakers are the majority in the world.

Apologies for bumping an old thread :wink: yes agreed, Chinese does have the largest number of native speakers of any human language. However, whether or not Chinese (specifically the Mandarin dialect) can replace English as a lingua franca, studied by millions of non-native speakers and be used for worldwide communication is debatable. For one, speakers of the world's top 10 most commonly-spoken languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Hindi etc....) besides the Chinese dialects of course, all use alphabetic writing systems.Would they be willing to learn to read a language that uses a logographic writing system instead? Anyone can learn the ABC's or the Arabic Alif-Baa-Taa or the Hindi Ka-Kha-Ga in a few days or a couple of weeks at most, but learning to read even the most basic Chinese characters takes months and more advanced reading requires years of study.

It's certainly not impossible but it is a long shot, I think. (I'm a native Chinese speaker myself)

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English is the official language in many countries due to the simple fact of conquering the land..These counties are plenty, such as: Singapore, Malta, Liberia, Zambia, Kenya, Ireland, Grenada, etc. Therefore, English will remain an international language for who knows how long. If Chinese can spread its influence to as many countries as English has so far, maybe then it can 'rule' the world as an international language. So far, the fact that many people are studying Chinese can't and does not mean that it will get to the point when it would be the most spoken language in the years to come...I really doubt.

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I think Chinese will not surpass English as a global language. There's too much already invested in English as the international status quo. Of course there will be a lot of native Chinese speakers in China, but think about the different countries in the world that have English speakers. You've got the US, Canada, Australia, The United Kingdom, etc. If I were to study a language, I would prefer to focus on the one that would get me further in the world than just China or Asia. However, if you happen to live within the region of Chinese influence, then yeah. Chinese would be the language to learn. Maybe we could say that in Asia China will become the speaking language to learn. 

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I think it's possible for Chinese to overtake English (in fact, I'm pretty sure that based on people who speak it, Chinese already is the most spoken language), but I think it's unlikely that everyone will all of a sudden drop English and move onto Chinese. I think that for that to happen, English speaking countries need to be wiped out, or just economically destroyed with China remaining where they are now and I just don't see that happening. Even then it would take years and years and years for people to shift to Chinese. I don't think I'll see it in my lifetime.

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  • 3 months later...
On 11/30/2013 at 9:48 PM, MegaZero said:

Who thinks that Chinese will be the most spoken language in the years to come? LOTS of foreigners have already started to learn it while chinese people don't even bother learning english.

 

Luckily, I know quite a bit of chinese so I think I would be fine but what are your thoughts on this theory?

In about five years from now, Chinese will be the world's most spoken language. Prepare yourselves now and you can be the teachers or tutors of tomorrow. I know this for absolute certain. You have only to look at current events to understand why. I will address this in greater detail later, if asked.

I feel the need to address the second sentence regarding language learning participation rates both inside and outside of China. To have a complete understanding of the assertion that "Chinese people don't even bother learning English", I will need to know what part of China the poster comes from. I find it difficult to believe that on average throughout all of China, people don't bother learning English. It's compulsory throughout school as well as integral in every part of every tertiary course in the country. Now, what I've since discovered is that it is possible to graduate from universities without passing English, but you lose the title, though a growing number of employers don't care & just pay you less because you have the skills needed. Perhaps this is why there are so many under-qualified Chinese people for the jobs on offer? Perhaps this is also why the salary on offer for many jobs is so high for native English speakers? 

I don't see that in my country many more are learning Chinese, but I will need to see if throughout the West, there are more of us actually gaining qualifications in Chinese Languages now, compared to previous years. My class sizes are so very tiny and the majority of students are of Asian descent.  

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  • 2 months later...

I don't think Chinese will be the most widely spoken language any time soon.

Sure as China invests overseas there are numerous people who'll want to learn Chinese so they can be hired by Chinese companies [since being bilingual is always an advantage in the workplace. So in the near future there'll be more people speaking Chinese but they won't be more than those who speak English.

But by 2080 . . . things might be different.

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