“The top 20 global languages – defined in terms of their use as a first or second language – provide an interesting reflection on the fortunes of those languages that have spread by organic growth and those that have expanded by means of mergers and acquisitions. At the top of the league table is Mandarin Chinese, which has 1,052 million speakers, more than twice as many as the next highest, English, with 508 million. Third is Hindi with 487 million and fourth Spanish, with 417 million. Of course, English is a far more global language – though primarily as a second language – than Chinese, the vast majority of whose speakers live in China. But with the present rise of China – and indeed India – it would not be difficult to imagine Mandarin and Hindi becoming far more widely spoken by 2100.”