Each year fewer people speak English as their mother tongue — but more people speak it as a second or foreign language. In 1950 nearly 9% of the world’s population spoke English as their first language. By 2050 the proportion will have dropped to just over 5%. Chinese is spoken by more speakers than any other language and the numbers of speakers of Spanish, Hindi/Urdu and Arabic are increasing rapidly. During the next few years. English will become a language mainly spoken by bi­lingual and multi-lingual people. It is estimated that 75% of the world’s mail is in English and 60% of the world’s telephone calls.