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The ET column. Will Chinese take over from English as the world's most important language?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2010

Abstract

Whenever I've given a lecture on the future of English, the question I am most frequently asked is ‘Will Chinese take over from English as the global language?’. With China's economy continuing to grow fast, whilst those of the west slow down in recession, China has been rising up the world economic rankings and has overtaken other economies faster than predicted. It seems no time since it overhauled the UK economy to become the world's number 4 (2005), and then Germany (2007) to become number 3. During the summer of 2010 it edged past Japan to become the world's second largest economy. It may take another 20 years to overtake the US economy in absolute size, though it may already have become the world's largest exporter (overtaking Germany), and has already overtaken the US in energy consumption. Next year, China is expected to take over from the US as the world's largest manufacturer – a position the US has held since it overtook the UK in the late 1890s.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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