"English dominates the Internet. It is the only language used in air traffic control. It is the overwhelmingly dominant language of science. (Even the premier French scientific organization, the Institut Pasteur, publishes its papers in English first and only later in French). Sixty percent of all students studying a foreign language today are studying English. It’s a required course in school, starting early on, in an increasing number of countries.
So we native speakers of English have a great advantage. Learning English at our mothers’ knee is almost like being born able to do algebra. Those not so fortunate can still get a handle on it fairly easily, however. That’s lucky for them because, like it or not, acquiring a competence in English is now a necessary part of every serious education around the world."