People love to complain about English as a universal language. It demonstrates the hegemonic nature of the United States, and it has all kinds of negative implications for places that speak anything else, and it shows that the U.S. is a big bully. This is ridiculous. Before English was the universal language, it was French. Before that, maybe Latin? A consequence of globalization is that we need to be able to connect with people in other places that speak different languages. It is easier if everyone learns one common language, and if it is English then that is great for those us that speak it. That is not to say that we should not learn other languages, as there are many incentives to doing so. But consider the alternative to having everyone speak English. Every international meeting would require interpreters, every email would require translation, every facet of business would require an extra step.
It comes off as lazy and almost offensive at this point to not speak a second language. But the truth is, languages are hard to learn when you’re 22 and the extent of your childhood language experience was 4 years of Latin. Through a year of study and 10 weeks in China, I became practically conversational in Chinese, but without daily intensive practice I have lost almost all of it. The inability of people like me to learn a second language should not be held against us. We are good at other things, and linguistically talented people need us too. The point is that a Universal Language is almost required for international business and a necessary consequence of globalization. I am going to choose to not complain about the fact that it is English.