Is Brexit the beginning of the decline of international English?

When it comes to the great Brexit controversy, everyone is quoting the late Tony Judt, so why can’t I? Here’s an excerpt from his masterpiecePostwar: A history of Europe since 1945.

“The present author can vouch for both the necessity and sufficiency of French as a medium of communication among students from Barcelona to Istanbul as recently as the year 1970.” But:

“Within thirty years all that had changed. By the year 2000, French had ceased to be a reliable medium of international communication even among elites. Only in the UK, Ireland and Romania was it the recommended choice for schoolchildren embarking on a first foreign language – everyone else learned English.”

I wonder how long this dominance will last if London loses its perch as the financial gateway to Europe, a possibility if the United Kingdom really quits the European Union. It’s not like I’m expecting everyone to start learning French or German again. On the other hand, if the French-to-English transition can happen in just three decades, so can something else starting now (or close to now), I guess.

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