Will Mandarin surpass English as the first international language?

The rise of China, its cultural hegemony and Mandarin tongue might have taken its first direct victim, the language of William Shakespeare and global popularity and appeal of the English tongue.

According to BBC News, for the first time ever, the dominance of English is being challenged in many of the South East Asian economies, such as Singapore. Where once parents sent their children to international schools or schools that specialised in the English language, this is no longer happening as attendances in each of these kinds of institutions are on a steady decline.

Countless research coupled with macro-economic trends shows that Mandarin is growing in importance within the corporate world. This year, while many economies continue to stutter, China will grow between seven and eight per cent, forcing firms to realign their ambitions and structure for the Chinese market. This, coupled with China’s outright ban of the use of English in Mandarin publications in 2010 (when the government believed the Mandarin language was in a state of crisis) has helped counter the traditional belief that English is the language of the world. Due to this shifting linguistic situation, the need to work with experienced translation service providers has never been more important.

Although there can be no doubt that the dominance of English is on the wane, the difficulty of learning Mandarin – there are over 10,000 written characters – means that the language of Dickens and Keats will retain its importance for decades to come.

Rather, linguistic experts predict that both languages will find a level of comfortable coexistence. Children and adults will adapt to both languages, while businesses and organisations will also begin operating in both. The time when we go to the cinema and regularly watch a Chinese we movie with English subtitles may not be that far off.

Photo courtesy of the Guardian