The Schott's Vocab blog on the New York Times website has posted a fascinating interview with Claude Hagège, author of On the Death and Life of Languages, which YUP recently published in a new English translation.
When asked about languages challenging English's global dominance, Hagège makes two particularly fascinating points about the ways in which languages spread and retain their influence over time:
Hindi (the most spoken language in India) and Mandarin Chinese might replace English as dominant languages some day. But two reasons at least lead one to think that the process could be long:
(i) Hindi is not widespread outside Asia, and there is presently no special effort to promote it worldwide. As for Mandarin Chinese, it is true that a great number of Confucius Institutes are scheduled to be built by China in various countries, but we cannot know today the result of this decision;
(ii) The publications (books, internet, etc.) in English cover all domains of knowledge, let alone the presence of English in all other activities. These traces of the worldwide spread of English will not disappear.