Mandarin Chinese is already the most popular first language on the planet, beating out English by 500 million speakers. And it’s the second-most-common language on the Internet. Now, just as China requires students to learn English, Beijing wants to make Chinese the must-take language for English speakers – and everyone else.
— The Mandarin Offensive
Ten years ago, in college, I briefly got involved in a conversation with a hispanic woman about which language was the most valuble to learn. She insisted that Spanish was. I said Chinese. Of course, most of those sorts of conversations go nowhere and that one was no exception. But I thought at the time that it was obvious. China was flexing its muscles as an economic power and they had over a billion people. Further, the extant Spanish-speaking population doesn’t seem to have the economic power of China. Of course, I’m a poor one to talk about language. I got a C in Spanish and a matching grade in French. And I don’t speak a lick of Mandarin Chinese.