“English has been a language of occupiers and imperialists, but also one of insurgents and democrats,” writes Isaac Chotiner. The New Yorker discusses the new lingua franca. Is there something characteristic to the English language that allowed it to spread so vastly? “Armies and navies are ultimately more important than syntactic mechanics in establishing a language’s dissemination. Most likely, English was just in the right place at the right time,” concludes Chotiner.