When, in the mid 1980s, I applied to university to read business studies, I was persuaded by the literature at the time that the English language was dead, about to be replaced by German, Spanish or French. If I was not fluent in at least two modern European languages by the time I graduated, I would never be able to compete with the multilingual continental European graduates, as we were told, and my career would be over before it had even begun. I was taught that English would not be the single language of world commerce. So, I changed my degree course. Well, once upon a time, some people swore that the earth was flat.