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It’s understood by only a slightly bigger chunk of people on the planet than Mandarin, while over 6 billion people don’t speak it at all.
What is your point? If we want to use a single language for simplicity, English is the best option, when targeting a more diverse audience than just China. For everything else we need multi-lingual apps, which either segregate their userbase by language or use translation software (Which many international services already use, e.g. Facebook)
More than 70 countries have officially incorporated Chinese language teaching into their national education systems, and as China becomes ever more important globally that trend will increase. Especially, thanks to projects like BRI that will create economic ties with many countries around the globe. So, Chinese is definitely becoming a language that audience outside China speaks and especially the audience in global south.
My point is that English managed to become the dominant language on the internet because rich western countries have been the ones where most people with internet access were where most people know at least some English. This is not the case for the rest of the world population.
English does have the advantage of being the language predominantly used on the internet, but that could easily change as more countries become widely connected.
I agree that automatic translation could be a solution in the future, although I find these things are still imperfect.
So are you arguing that it would be better if Chinese was the lingua franca of the internet instead of English? Or are you proposing some other solution?
I’m pointing out that English is already being displaced as the dominant language in the world, just like French was displaced earlier. The term lingua franca incidentally comes from French being the dominant language at one point.
I’m not passing any value judgments here regarding what would be better or worse. I’m simply observing the fact that most of the world population doesn’t speak English, and that it’s entirely possible that English could be displaced as the dominant language for international communication.
I don’t know what the solution will be. Perhaps we’ll all be learning Chinese, or translation tools become sufficiently robust that everyone can use their own language, or the internet will further split into different language zones that don’t interact with one another. Incidentally, we’re already seeing this happen with Chinese internet that’s largely separate from western one.