The English language is the lingua franca of the modern world. Which is ironic, because the English language has wholesale adopted the phrase, lingua franca, to be spoken and understood pretty much as if it were an English language phrase. Even though it comes to English by way of Italian speakers who were referring (historically) to other languages which were not English. And indeed, part of the reason why English has succeeded in this linguistic role is its thirst to adopt words of other languages, so that camel and kimono and cabana and bamboo sound unquestionably English to the native speaker, without much thought going to the fact that they originate from every corner of the world other than those from which the English language originated.

Naturally, this preferential perch for English is by no means guaranteed to persist forever. It is no fait accompli of history, which tends to teach the opposite -- that all things which have their moment in the Sun have their Sunset as well. The question then may be, what will come next? If history is any guide as to how cultural mores (including languages) spread on the wings of economic strength, the next language to dominate world commerce and communication looks likely to be.... Chinese.