I got an email the other day from a blog reader who tells me that there are now more non-native English speakers than native English speakers.
Having silly expectations of writers, I foolishly assumed Levitt would tell us all WHERE this fact held true. If he is referring to The U.S., then it's quite a remarkable claim. China, not so much. He seems to be claiming that some change has occurred where a once predominately English speaking country is no longer so. Unfortunately, his post never answers this, rather he is just looking for a cute way to transition from a story about Malaysian baby names to a modestly humorous email about Jello. It's a blogger's prerogative to tease readers into reading on, so no harm done.
But, I can't help wondering just what was he referring to in his introductory sentence? Has Malaysia ever been predominantly English speaking? As far as I know, no. The current Ethnologue report says this: "National or official language: Malay. Also includes Burmese, Chinese Sign Language, Eastern Panjabi (43,000), Malayalam (37,000), Sylheti, Telugu (30,000)."
So, can any of you, dear readers, come up with a once predominately English speaking country that is no longer so? A nice little challenge.