English Is The New Language Of The World
Most people know how to answer the question, "What is the most spoken language of the world?" They will reply "Chinese." This is true, according to numbers, because there are more Chinese people than any other race in the world. Therefore, Chinese is the most widely spoken language by volume.
However, outside of China, there are relatively few places that have heavy Chinese language influence. The main examples are a few countries like Singapore and Malaysia, as well as Chinese settlements abroad like Chinatowns in big cities. So, if Chinese is spoken by the most people but only in a few places, is it still the world's most spoken language?
English, in contrast, appears everywhere. We have the history of British conquests and American culture to thank for that. The nineteenth century British empire spread English in all of its domains, and America exported pop culture through the media revolution of the twentieth century. Not to mention the Internet, which is also predominantly in English.
The number of native English speakers compared to Chinese is around 1 to 4, but the number of countries in which English is spoken in some meaningful form is over 100. This gives English a huge range of influence that Chinese simply doesn't have. Similarly, the case could be made for Spanish being more influential than Chinese, as it is the core language of 19 different countries.
These days, Chinese language study is growing more and more popular, since China's economic development is so rapid. People around the world want to tap into the rising influence of Chinese business. At the same time, Chinese students themselves are scrambling to improve their English to be able to work within the globalized economy. No one believes Chinese with its difficult characters and tones will supplant English as the main language of global business. After all, it is much easier to learn an alphabetic language than a pictorial one.
More and more in China, then, you will find youth getting better and better at English. In this way, English is going to become a third or fourth language of operation even for Chinese people. When this happens, without question English will be the most widely spoken language in the world, as soon as it becomes rooted in Chinese society.
But judging by the amount of Chinglish coming out of China, there's still a long ways to go!