How are you? In esperanto is: Kiel vi fartas?
Which for the uninitiated trying to understand what was said and from an english speaking background, would probably yield a response of : Pardon me.
Not sure how other languages bases see this and it does seem to be more palatable towards french/spanish in how it sounds and may for those native speakers be easier to pick up I suspect.
Though I've never met a person who can speak esperanto, I've met many people who can speak Klingon. Which makes me wonder is there more people in the world that speak some Klingon than esperanto!
Three letters from Professor Sidney Culbert (English originals):
>Notes on the letters: http://www.panix.com/~dwolff/docs/culbert-notes.html
>Letter from 1967: http://www.panix.com/~dwolff/docs/culbert-1967.html
>Letter from 1969: http://www.panix.com/~dwolff/docs/culbert-1969.html
>Letter about research methodology: http://www.panix.com/~dwolff/docs/culbert-methods.html
Unless you meant the de facto language for business and research, or the language spoken in the areas I care about, which is different from the international language.
It'll take more than just stats gleaned on wikipedia to make a coherent case. A large majority of mankind has no use for English and thus doesn't use it, and this can be readily witnessed firsthand by travelers who stray off tourist paths. (For instance I say rural Germany is rough going because I've been there and witnessed it firsthand.) That doesn't mean English isn't a lingua franca, it's just not the lingua franca in most of the world. In Latin America people will use Spanish or Portuguese, in Africa people will use French, Arabic, English or Swahili, in much of Central Asia people will use Russian. Even then, knowledge of those languages isn't a given.
The fact of the matter is that English isn't known or used by most of the world population. Arguing about the rest is just semantics.
For instance, let's take Spain or Italy not even Africa or Asia. I mean Europe, Spain, if you asked 20 people in Barcelona or Rome you'd end up being understood. On the other hand if you asked 20 people in Naples or Granada, the chances are they wouldn't understood you.
That's not a technicality, nor is it fair to Singapore to call that a technicality: it's a small country, but the vast majority of its citizens speak English as their home tongue.
English has official status in only Guyana and the Falkland islands, of all of South America. That's more like a technicality, especially since Creole is the actual spoken language of the people.
Belize is in Central America, which is part of the North American continent; the Caribbean (and its various English-speaking islands) are also lumped in with North America.
India is a populous country with English as an official language. If you think all its inhabitants speak English you're in for a surprise should you ever go there. People are educated in English, certainly; however Canadians' well-known mastery of French as well as Irish people's mastery of Irish shows this criterion doesn't necessarily amount to much.
I'm wasn't disappointed by all the other technicalities in your post though, keep it up
Assuming that 300 million Americans speak English (to be generous), that would require more than 22.2% of India to speak English.
According to the last census, conducted in 2011, India has about 125 million English speakers. That same link says this is "projected to quadruple in the next decade".
If that supposition is at all accurate, India now has the largest population of English speakers in the world. The next census is in 2021, so we should know for sure by then.
I often also observed, that 2 people, who spend lots of time together, also kind of develope their own language, that others have it hard to follow.
That can become extreme, there was a russian family, living 40 years in isolation, the russian the daughters spoke, was not understandable at all to other people
Please comment if you play it.
I tried looking towards Interslavic (Medjaslovanoj) and Intergermanic (Folkspraak*), and the former is interesting - Slavs can understand that register with quite a bit of effort, but the latter, sadly, is still in development and is fragmented.
For other areas, Hijazi/MSA is the standard of the Arab world, Mandarin is for Sinosphere, and... Malay for SEA, I think.
A worldwide international language is quite hard, because you need to dislodge the usefulness of English in some ways. A 100% constructed language is hard to learn for adults. A pseudo-natural conlang is... Impossible for the whole Earth.
A Greek would like to have a word with you.