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Will English always be the international language? What about Chinese? Thoughts?


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The fact that so many Chinese are learning English means that the Chinese themselves are cement English's position and the Lingua Franca of the world. Chinese may grow in popularity. But I don't foresee it even overtaking Spanish in the global league table of dominance (despite more speakers)

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The victor writes history? So, if China displaces the U.S and takes it's place as the Super-Power then it'll  follow that since the Chinese will feel superior, they won't bother learning any other languages. As a matter of fact, since other nations will need to buy stuff from them, they'll have to learn Chinese.

IMO, if China does become a super-power then the dominance of English will be cease and Chinese will take over. . .but that's like half a century from now.

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Just because the most people speak it won't mean that Chinese would become the international language. You have to start young for languages to be learned well, and I don't see people or schools going to do that for their kids. (plus people like me who had it drilled into my brains since the age of 5 can barely remember how to write half of what I was taught through memorization.) Chinese isn't an alphabetic language like English or Spanish, so it makes it a lot harder to pick up.

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I think English will never be overcome by Chinese. Specially since a lot do not adhere to the Chinese's ideology, practices, culture. Not even in Asia. I will always vote for English as the international language which is widely accepted as such in all Continents.

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I don't think that Chinese will ever replace English as the international language. All the popular media, the movies, the music we all listen to on the radio, the video games that we play are mostly presented in English, it would be really hard and would take a lot of time for this to change.

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I think that English will always be the international language because it has already been widely accepted as the second national language in some countries.It has even been integrated into the school curriculum in a couple of countries.Chinese is only considered to have gone viral in Asia but it is yet to leave an indelible mark on the rest of the world.

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I personally think the world should come together and declare Korean as the universal language. It would be equally as hard for anyone to learn. After liberating the North Koreans from Kim Jong Un we can hire all of them to be our Korean teachers.

I'm only half joking.

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I think it would an uphill task for Chinese to replace English has the international language. English is already deeply rooted in many societies and most businesses. While Chinese is the most spoken language, that is only because China is the most populous country.

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For a language to be international, it needs to be widespread meaning the language must be known by a lot of people and globally recognised. Although, there are a lot of people learning to speak Chinese but there are more people learning English. Remember that English is spoken not only in the US, but EU, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

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Aren't there two languages which are called Chinese? ie Chinese Mandarin and Chinese Cantonese?

And are they sufficiently similar for a speaker of one to understand the other?

English, on the other hand, is essentially recognisable across the globe. Ok, weird and wonderful accents may make comprehension difficult for someone from Alabama on a trip to Glasgow, but it's the same language.

And English is the mother tongue of most people in countries like USA, GB, Australia etc. whereas in China you have Chinese as the official language but not the mother tongue for a lot of people in different regions. Would you count Tibet as a fully integrated part of China where everyone happily spoke Mandarin every day?

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Chinese isn't as widespread globally as English and Spanish are. It's a language centralized, albeit very densely, to a certain global region. English is a language being taught in many places where it isn't native (I think Sweden, Iceland, and India teach English from a young age). Spanish has the potential to be a de facto global language, but it's more commonly spoken in countries that aren't considered first-world. English seems like a prime candidate.

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Chinese is 1. way too hard and 2. way too geographically limited to be a lingua franca. English didn't become the international language just because Britain was really strong. Britain spread it to a quarter of the globe, where it's mostly to this day the official language of commerce and government, and it became the sole native language in most of North America and Australia and New Zealand. China doesn't have anything close to that. Not to mention that there isn't even linguistic unity with China; Mandarin can't even conquer one country, let alone the world

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If it would happen, I think it will take a very long time. I think it takes a lot more than just commerce for a country's language to take over. America has such a stranglehold of the international culture not only through its movies and music but also in our online communities due to the main sites being American.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it would an uphill task for Chinese to replace English has the international language. English is already deeply rooted in many societies and most businesses. While Chinese is the most spoken language, that is only because China is the most populous country.

I second this  :nerd:

I just don't see how Chinese could topple English as the most widely spoken language.  :confused:

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I think English will always be the global language. One reason for that is just how the alphabet is. It's not that hard for people who live in countries in Central and South America and also a lot of countries in Europe to learn English because the alphabet is similar. The Chinese language, Mandarin and Cantonese have their own exclusive alphabet so it'd be difficult to learn it.

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English will always sound better and it will be the Hollywood language. Even though there are a lot of people speaking Chinese, I don't think it has a bright future against English.

Thus, people will always prefer to narrate in English rather than Chinese.

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English will always sound better and it will be the Hollywood language. Even though there are a lot of people speaking Chinese, I don't think it has a bright future against English.

Thus, people will always prefer to narrate in English rather than Chinese.

Well, I partly agree. However, I do not think that English will be dominant because it sounds especially nice or beautiful, but simply because English is easier to learn than Chinese. However, this only holds true for some aspects. Chinese Grammar, for instance, is really easy and compared to English Grammar I would even go so far to say that Chinese Grammar is (much) easier than the Grammar of the English language.

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Well, I partly agree. However, I do not think that English will be dominant because it sounds especially nice or beautiful, but simply because English is easier to learn than Chinese. However, this only holds true for some aspects. Chinese Grammar, for instance, is really easy and compared to English Grammar I would even go so far to say that Chinese Grammar is (much) easier than the Grammar of the English language.

Continuing on that statement, I'll argue that English is one of the hardest languages in the world, especially in pronunciation.

Studies have shown that native speakers of English took 2 extra years to reach the same fluency in reading as those of other European languages.

Pronunciation in English is full of rules with many exceptions.  This makes it very hard to discern the pronunciation of a single word without having heard it before.  Seems just like Chinese characters.  There is also a stress accent in English, just like the tones in Chinese, for when you change the stress on words in English, sentences can have drastically different meanings.

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  • 1 month later...

I believe English will always be the universal language even if the years would pass us by. It can never be replaced by any other language as a lot know how to speak, write and understand English. It is also the most widely used medium of instruction in schools and students are quite keen using it already. To change the universal language means to start all over again and I believe it wouldn't be a smart move. :wink:

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