Saturday 25 December 2010

Will Chinese be used as a lingua-franca?

Nicholas Ostler answers in The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel  (2010):

Chinese, like all the great languages of the modern world excepting English and French, remains very much a localized language in eastern and southeastern Asia, even if it is set to be the language of the world's dominant economic power, and with a truly vast number of speakers to boot. It may well increase its currency in some parts of the world (notably Africa), but the current political structure of the world system makes it unlikely that Chinese will get the chance to seed itself as the common language in new communities around the world that might use it as a lingua-franca. (283)

See more from this book.

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