One of the undisputed keys to success in today’s world is fluency in a second or third language. There is no doubt that globalization is one of the hallmarks of our society; making multi-lingual employees a must. As a society we are also more mobile now than at any time in our history. The ability to communicate in another language gives us more choices when it comes to where we wish to live.
We’ve compiled a list of the most useful and best languages to learn now, plus some predictions of what may be the most useful languages in the future.
English is spoken by over 75% of the world’s population and is the official language of a number of countries including South Africa and Singapore. English is the most influential academic language, and a knowledge of business English is must to operate in the global business world. Rapidly growing globalisation means that today, English has become the principal language of business – the world’s lingua franca. By 2020, the British Council forecasts that two billion people will be using or learning English in the world
It is also worth noting that over half of all websites are written in English. Entrepreneurs looking to successfully launch a new business should have a decent grasp on conversational English as well as business English phrases. Learning English is now more important than ever; countries with better English skills are not only more competitive but also more open to new business opportunities
Mandarin is one of the fastest growing languages in the world. More than 1.2 billion people understand the dialect. Additionally, Mandarin is the second most popular language with internet users. As the Asian markets expand their internet and e-commerce businesses and considering that many analysts predict that by 2050 China will be the world’s leading economy, it is possible that Mandarin will overtake English as the most influential business language, making Mandarin one of the most useful languages to learn in the future.
The importance of speaking Spanish continues to grow. Surprisingly this is due in large part to the United States. The US is the world’s second largest Spanish speaking country with more than 37 million people speaking Spanish as their first language and 50 million Spanish speakers overall. The Spanish population in the US is predicted to double in the next three decades, so it’s important for those looking to take advantage of the US marketplace to understand Spanish as well as business English.
German ranks fourth in most used world languages. Additionally, Germany’s advancements in technology, coupled with its political and economic strength in the European Union and worldwide, make knowing German very valuable. Business analysts find that many industries and companies pay workers with German language skills 4% more.
Portuguese ranks just behind Spanish as the most spoken language in Latin America. It is the spoken by more than 200 million people in Brazil and some parts of Africa, in addition to Portugal. Portuguese has experienced significant growth recently, due in part to Brazil’s growth as a business and scientific hub.
Arabic speaking countries make up some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Arabic is the official language of 28 countries. Arabic speaking countries are important export markets for the UK and the EU and show little sign of slowing down. In a recent report the British Council ranked Arabic as the second most important “language of the future.”
French is often called “the former English”. During colonial history France was a major force throughout the word. France’s influence led to the unusual situation where there are more non-native French speaker than native ones. French ranks second in terms of spoken language in the EU and is the official language of 29 countries, including a large number of African countries.
Due to the country’s strong performance, investments, and innovations in research and development, technology, robotics, and cutting-edge electronics, the ability to speak Japanese is a plus for those in related fields. Japan is also a major importer or western goods. Japanese–speaking internet users account for over $88 billion in e-commerce sales annually.
There is no doubt that Russia is an important political and economic power. Russian is one of the official languages of the United Nations and ranks second only to English as the main language used for website content.
Russian remains widely used in former Soviet states as well. Due to the number of Russian speakers and the business and investment potential, Russian is considered one of the useful languages to learn in the future.
The fact that Hindi is in the top ten languages to learn may come as a surprise to many. Although a large number of the Indian population speaks English, over 80% of the population is not considered fluent in the language.
The subcontinent is seen as one of the most important of the emerging economies. Government agencies have increased investments in technology and connectivity, mobile penetration continues to grow rapidly, and international investment continues to grow. All of these elements have contributed to the rapid growth of Hindi as an important world language.
Tips for picking a language
Learning a new language is exciting. Learning a new language provides insight into new cultures and can lead to a number of new experiences and adventures.
The main factor to consider when learning a second language, or even a third, is usefulness. If you will seldom have a cause or chance to use your new language skills, you might want to choose another one to study. Usefulness is one of the prime reasons why so many people decide to learn business English online. Other factors to consider when selecting a language are the number of speakers, where the language is spoken, versatility, and your particular career goals. In an globalized world, English language skills and cultural skills are key to international success. Immerse yourself in new cultures and make new friends from all around the world when you learn English online through our online app.
With over 50 years of experience teaching English around the world, we understand that there is no size fits all solution and that everyone learns a language differently. That is why we tailor our courses based on your language skills, goals and your lifestyle. Improve your English step by step with English Live today!