Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

First-Language English Declining

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

First-Language English Declining

Article excerpt

It may he time to brush up un your Mandarin. According to one new study, the percentage of the global population that grew up speaking English as its first language is declining. In addition, an increasing number of people now speak more than one language. In the future, English is likely to be one of those languages, but the Mandarin form of Chinese will probably be the next must-learn language, especially in Asia . . . Long gone is the idea, first suggested in the 19 century, that the entire world will one day speak English as a "world language." . .. Today, Mandarin Chinese is well established as the worlds largest language in terms of native speakers. The next four major languages-English, Spanish, Hindi/Urdu, and Arabic-are likely to be equally ranked by 2050, with Arabic rising as English declines. But it is the languages of the rank just below-such as Bengali, Tamil, and Malay-that are now growing the fastest. …

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