Monday, March 2, 2020

Which Foreign Language Should I Learn? by Vanessa Anderson

The world has become so connected that learning a foreign language has never been more important. With the advancement of technology, we can communicate with anyone anywhere. Foreign languages allow is to communicate with other cultures. So which foreign language should you learn?
Everyone will have their own reasons for learning a foreign language
and generally, being able to speak one or two foreign languages can help you get ahead.

Choosing which foreign language to speak might be decided by the number of native speakers throughout the world or how important it is in economic and political contexts. In the book “Ethnologist” by M. Paul Lewis, the ten most spoken native languages in the world are Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, English, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and German.


Spanish is the second most spoken language around the globe with 400 million native speakers across 44 countries. It's the only language that is spoken natively across all the inhabited continents which makes it the most beneficial language to learn. If you want to do global business, Spanish is particularly useful in Spain and across Latin America. Similarly, there's the potential in other emerging Spanish-speaking markets. For example, 13% of the US speak Spanish as a first language and by 2050, it's set to become home to the largest number of Spanish speakers in the world.

Americans wanting to work in law, social services, and business could benefit from learning Spanish. In Europe and the US, Spanish is the most spoken language after English. It's also the third-most-common language online.

It's regularly considered a pretty good language to learn as it's easier to read and pronounce than French, for example. You can learn Spanish in places like Spain, Argentina, and Guatemala.

With around 600 hours of classroom time (less than six months) most learners can achieve a good level in Spanish.

You can use this language in developing markets in Argentina, Chile, Columbia as well as other markets in Central and South America.


If you're looking to give your career a boost, French could help. With over 290 million speakers, it's the fifth most spoken language worldwide.

French has become a global language over time and is the official language of 29 countries including France, Canada, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg, and many nations in Africa. French is also the official language of NATO, the United Nations, the Olympics Games, the Red Cross, and many other global organizations.

According to a survey by, there will be around 750 million French speakers in the world by 2050 which could lead to it overtaking English and Mandarin.

Learning French can lead to opportunities in fields such as pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, aeronautics, energy production, and more.

French can be very beneficial for international careers as it can open business opportunities all over the francophonie.

With Spanish being the most commonly taught language in the US, learning French as a foreign language could give you an edge over other job seekers.

French is also often considered one of the easier languages for English speakers to learn.


China has a rapidly growing population and plays a huge role in the global economy, making learning the Chinese language incredibly helpful.

Chinese is not one language but it is a group of dialects, and this the official language of China and Taiwan, where it's called Standard Chinese. The most common of these dialects is Mandarin.

With 995 million native speakers, Chinese can open many doors in the world of business. Similarly, diplomatic and military professions tend to find a knowledge of Mandarin Chinese very useful.

Knowledge of Mandarin can give you an advantage over monolingual job candidates, too. Those who have competency in Mandarin have a competitive advantage over their monolingual corresponding fellows.

While Mandarin might seem quite difficult, the grammar, conjugation, and tenses tend to be simpler than some other common languages.

It's expected that China will take over the United States in terms of GDP by 2028. The best places to learn Chinese languages are China, Taiwan, and Singapore.


In terms of native speakers, German is the most common language in Europe. It is mostly spoken in Germany, Austria and the large parts of Switzerland. Germany is an academic, political, and economic hub, making German a great language to learn if you're interested in any of these fields.

Furthermore, Germany is an important trade partner for many countries so if you're looking a career in trade, you should start learning German immediately.

To be proficient in the German language, you'll probably need to spend around 900 classroom hours studying. The most popular places to learn German are Germany and Austria.


According to the British Council, Arabic is the 5th most important language in the world. Arabic can provide opportunities in both the public and private sectors.

Arabic is a macrolanguage that's made up several related dialects. Speaking the Arabic language can provide plenty of opportunities for work and travel and across several different businesses and industries.

Since the Arab-speaking region is considered to be the richest linguistic region with a GDP of $600B, learning Arabic is a great way to gain access to many markets. A survey by the US Foreign Service Institute shows that Arabic is one of the most difficult foreign languages for English speakers to learn and you will need around 88 weeks of class time to become competent speaker of it.

Learning a new language is a great investment and speaking a foreign language can do wonders for your career. This is why many big businesses get professional translation services, particularly into Chinese, in order to expand into different global markets.

Vanessa Anderson is an enthusiastic creative writer. In addition to writing for multiple foreign corporations, she enjoys writing poems on current social issues.

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