At one point French was the “need to know” language. Politicians spoke primarily in French and those traveling to Europe had a better chance of navigating around if they learned French.
Unfortunately for French, like any language, it rises and falls in popularity through the years. No one can deny the sheer prominence of English because of Hollywood and politics, but how many can agree that English will remain the *lingua franca*?
For some, English will fall away like French and French will come back on the rise, whereas others think it will be Mandarin near the year 2050.
Mandarin as the next dominant global language makes sense in that a huge number of people in the world are already speaking it.
Unlike other languages, however, Mandarin can be quite difficult to learn if you’re an adult Westerner, and this is exactly the reason why I do not believe it will become the dominant language, at least not by 2050.
Lee Han Shih, who runs a multimedia company, had this to say about the rise of Mandarin and decline of English: “The decline of the English language probably follows the decline of the US dollar. If the renminbi is becoming the next reserve currency then you have to learn Chinese.”
A new study by Natixis disagrees that Mandarin will be the dominant language. The study suggests that French will in fact become the dominant language in 2050. The reason? More and more children are learning French as a second language. Plus, places such as Africa, where French does dominant some regions, are on the rise for an economic revolution.
The New York Times even reported that the French dual-language program in New York’s public school system “is booming,” the third largest such language in the city, after Spanish and Chinese.
Still, others believe English will always be just as prevalent, if not more so. One example of this comes from Paul Raine, a blog writer, who highlights on a few key points in English.
Raine argues that because English belongs not to one culture but to everyone and no one it would “seem to imply that English will maintain its position as the global dominant language throughout the 21st Century and Beyond.”