1. Once it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire because it was so huge that it spread around the globe and it was always daytime somewhere. Even the United States was a part of this global empire.
2. Of course English spread as an international lingua franca but so did French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. Chinese and Italian and other languages were also to some extent global languages as a result of their speakers having spread around the globe and made their languages widely spoken outside the place that they came from. But how did English surpass the other international languages and become the major international language in the internet era?
3. After the Second World War the factories and markets of Europe were destroyed. The major colonial powers France and Britain had been destroyed by the war with Germany and Japan and the survivor was the United States which had entered the war late and avoided the devastation which Europe and Asia had seen.
4. It was American money, which bankrolled the reconstruction of Europe and the rebuilding of Japan and English became an important language of business because it was the language of the investors and builders and developers. At one time French competed for ascendancy with English but after America became the largest economy in the world, the dominance of English as the world language was assured. Economic power has a tremendous influence on all facets of society.
5. Nowadays Chinese and Spanish speaking businesspeople talk to each other in English. Asian and European investors conduct negotiations in English. Even Africans and South Americans are learning the language of the largest economy left intact at the conclusion of World War Two.
6. However life is not all about commerce and money. Is there a place for other languages? Will Mandarin or Arabic or Hindi one day fill the position that English has as the world language? What is your perspective on the future in terms of a world language?