If you own a smartphone and are trying to learn a language, you probably have Duolingo. English is far and away the most dominant, with a caveat: For some learners, English is the only language Duolingo offers with translation into their native tongue. That doesn’t change the fact of universal interest in English, though, which Duolingo notes is studied by 53% of its users. Things get more interesting when you look at the second-most popular language by country. There French takes the lead, followed by Spanish, German, and Portuguese.
Tags: language, colonialism, technology, diffusion, culture, English.
Questions to Ponder: What role do colonial history and modern economics play in shaping this linguistic data? How does migration influence patterns in bilingualism? What is a lingua franca?