What else have I been telling you? English is fast becoming - due in part to the ubiquity of the internet - the world's universal language. Everyone on the planet is destined to utilize English as their first language in order to be able to communicate. Eventually. Even the Chinese.
Along those lines ...
For those of you who get worked up over the fact that the family at the next table at Shoney's is chattering away in Spanish, take note of this: My father, who was born in Wisconsin, spoke only German when he was young. And not that many years ago. It wasn't until he had to go out into the world - and attend public grade school - that he had to learn English. And learn it he did. And prosper he did. The rest is history.
What if 'English Only' Isn't Wrong?
Foreigners learn our language; we don't learn theirs.
By Evan R. Goldstein, writing in the Wall Street Journal
Advances in machine translation, coupled with the global dominance of English—by some estimates, about one-quarter of the world's population can to a certain extent communicate in English—has led some observers to question the necessity of learning a language other than English.
In his book "The Great Brain Race," Ben Wildavsky describes a global knowledge economy dominated by English. He notes that even in France—France!—English has triumphed. Richard Descoings, president of the Paris Institute of Political Studies, told Mr. Wildavsky, "We have to stop saying that English is one of the languages. It is the language of international exchange: commercial, military, and also intellectual and scientific. . . . It is no longer an object of debate."
That perspective is not limited to Europe. A 2008 report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs showed that 96%-100% of those questioned in China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam think that it is important for their children to learn English. The online retailing giant Rakuten is one of a number of Japanese companies to embrace English. As The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, by 2012 Rakuten's employees will be required to speak and communicate with each other in English.
In China, the celebrity English instructor Li Yang attracts 10,000 or more students to arena-size classrooms. His motto: "Conquer English to Make China Stronger!" It is a similar story in India, already the third-largest English-language book market in the world. D. Shyam Babu, a fellow at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies in New Delhi, told me, "For Indians, English is an obsession." In May this year, in a village in India's Uttar Pradesh state, a foundation stone was laid for a temple dedicated to Goddess English. [link]
So calm down. English IS the only language. It's as inevitable as the grass.
* Speaking of my father's upbringing, I remember when I was young my father's family often gathered around the dinner table in the evening playing a card game called Schafkopf. Or, in English, sheepshead, a game that was brought over from the old country. It reminded me, later on, of another card game I picked up on in college - Euchre. Many a long night did I play that game. Unfortunately I never learned Schafkopf.