Originally Posted by cptjeff
You do realize that most of the discussion on Chinese these last few pages has been linguistic explanation of why, simply due to the structure of the languages, the idea that Chinese will increase in usage significantly is false, right? Besides the fact that the EU as a unit is the world's #1 economy and the US is #2, Western languages enjoy several major advantages over eastern ones when it comes to usage as the lingua franca. Chinese will never manage to claim that role without China creating a major global empire and forcing it on everyone- and we're at a point in history where that isn't really possible.
No I don't, this is what happens when I sticking into a conversation couple hours later. Though, back to your point, Chinese will not achieve the dominance English has today, but English will not maintain its status quo, that was more or less my point. Also I don't see why Chinese is inherently harder to learn, as a native speaker in Mandarin Chinese I find English immensely difficult when I start to learn them in 7th grade.
Perhaps colonization was a factor for south east Asia, but for us (East Asia, i.e. China/Taiwan/South Korean/Japan), technology and "coolness" was the main reason. We were not forced to learn English because there were some legacy colonial issue, we were learning English because we want catch up to the West, when we don't have to catch up then there will be less of us bother to learn English in the same way most American are not too serious about learning 2nd language. Of course given that globalization is going forward, there will be some common languages, it's just not clear to me why English will stay where it is today when Spanish speaking guys can stay in their market and Chinese speaking guys will stay in their market as each "domestic language" (i.e. people who can communicating well using those language) market is large enough on its own.
In GDP per capita term US will probably still be the top dog in the foreseeable future, but overall economy size wise, China will surpass it in a decade or two decades at the most. I have a lot more faith in the US than I do in Europe, I am not sure how long Europe can stay relevant unless EU as an institution can act like a single voice with the clout of the biggest economy in the world (and that's isn't going to be the case two decades from now either) or a strong arm Germany/French can lead EU into a single direction in some meaningful way.