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Into the Future- English or Mandarin

13 Jan 2015

https://hbr.org/2015/01/why-english-not-mandarin-is-the-language-of-innovation?utm_source=Socialflow&utm_medium=Tweet&utm_campaign=Socialflow

 

The writer is absolutely correct in stating that innovation and international business without English is unthinkable. But that isn’t a very interesting argument.

 

When he suggests that Mandarin will never overtake English, it’s more interesting, but he is no longer on solid ground.

 

Not that long ago, Latin was the only international language that mattered. English dominates today. The future is a very long period (we all hope) and it seems unlikely that the language question is settled for now and forever.

 

Mark Zuckerberg ‘s example is interesting. He has had issues with China (and vice versa) and he decided that learning Mandarin was an effective way to influence Chinese leaders. When more non-Chinese, especially at lower company levels than CEO, feel the need to influence in Mandarin, all bets are off.  

 

I’ve recently met a few Finns who have decided that China is the place to make things happen in the world. This is a small trickle from a small country. With the very real possibility of long-term stagnation of Western economies, could this trickle become a flood?

 

For the sake of my business and my retirement plans, I certainly hope that English continues to be the language that impacts the world. But my kids better be on their toes!

 

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