There are a couple of indicators that English is now at its apex as a world language. The proportion of people in the world speaking English as a first language is declining. One study shows that almost 10% fit this category in 1958. In 1992, this figure had fallen to under 8%. If this is a steady rate of decline, and one can assume it is, it should be under 7% by now. How can you assume this a steady rate of decline? Because the people who speak English as a first language are not breeding as fast as those who don't. They are, for the most part, members of the First World where low birthrates are now fairly common.

The other factor that will probably lead to the decline of English speakers in the world is the advent of translation programs combined with the increased use of computers. These programs are getting better and better, and it's not unlikely that within the next 10 years, there will be reliable translators which will actually do what they're designed to do. In fact, learning a second or third language might become a thing of the past altogether.

Right now, 76% of the content of the Internet is in English. The runners-up are Japanese, French, German and Chinese, in that order. This leads many to think that the future of English as a world language is inevitable. This may not be true at all.

The argument in the above writeup is all very fine and good, and may even point to a real trend. Before you start brushing up on your Esperanto (or whatever), you should take the following point into account:

The number of people for whom English is a second language is probably several times the number of primary speakers. Not only that, many languages have dozens and even hundreds of loanwords from English.

Many widely-spoken "universal" languages (Swahili, Hindi, English) are really combinations of several languages, created when peoples who spoke widely differing languages found themselves living together.

No-one really knows if everyone will eventually wind up speaking the same language, but if they do, it won't be English as she is spoke, it will most likely be some combination of several languages(with a good bit of English thrown in).
Ever wonder where the term "lingua franca" came from?

In the late 19th Century and the early 20th century, the worlds largest colonial and economic power was France. Dont laugh, please - you'll offend the Francophones.
As the economic power of a people rises, so does their language and culture. Anybody who seriously traveled abroad (back then, not many people), even us Yanks, knew French. This is also why your passport has French on the inside cover. Even movies (pre talkies) were mostly made in France - The nice thing about silent movies being that translation is a lot easier.

But just before and during the world wars, France went into every kind of decline you can think of. With the United States and the United kingdom leading the remaining allied forces that eventually defeated fascism (both in the world wars and the 1980s) English became the language of choice for international commerce and business. But like the French, and even the mighty Romans, this too shall pass. No people will ever hold the language of another people above their own, for long.

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