Which language should I learn? Most schools offer many different language classes — we have a choice. However, some people want to learn more than one language, whether to prepare for moving abroad, to take up a career, vacation, or to train their brain.
With some 7000 different languages spoken in the world, (dialects not included!) the selection process can take a long time. People who can speak 7 languages are frequently admired. Considering, however, that this represents ‘only’ 0,1 per cent of linguistic diversity, it is quite low.
Back to the question: Which language should I learn next? To make it easier for you to decide, we now provide you with the most useful and easy languages.
Which Language Is Useful To Learn?
The overall answer to this question is limited. Because what makes sense for me is not necessarily useful for you too. So let‘s ask some further questions:
· What language do you need in your professional life?
· What language skills could support your career?
· What language can you use more often when you are on holiday?
· In what countries do I spend most of my time privately and professionally?
· Why would I like to learn a foreign language?
Statistics could also help in the decision-making process. Did you know, for example, that the most spoken language of the world is not English, but Chinese?
1.2 billion people have Chinese as their native language, followed by 400 million Spanish speaking people, 330 million English natives and 260 million Hindi speaking people.
But what about language skills in general? Which languages do people use as their mother tongue or second language? And how many? Around half a billion people worldwide have English as a second language. German was kicked out by Panjabi (spoken in large parts of India and Pakistan) and for the last few years has not featured in the international top-10 ranking. In Europe, English is a good choice — 38 per cent of Europeans speak English. And, with 12 per cent, French is the second most popular language. German ranks third with 11 per cent, followed by Spanish with 7 per cent.
In times of the Internet, it makes sense to have a look at the most used languages in the World Wide Web. English is at a high level: 54 per cent of all websites are in English. In second and third place, Russian and German are each only about 6 per cent.
If you would like to learn a new language for your career or a new job, you may also be interested in these statistics from Indeed/respondi in 2018: around 98 per cent of German respondents needing foreign languages for their career claimed that English is sufficient. As the second most important foreign language, they chose French (approximately 20 per cent use French). Russian (12.5 per cent), Spanish (11.5 per cent) and Turkish (8.5 per cent) are also in demand in the business world.
What Language Is Easy to Learn?
How “easy” it is to learn a foreign language also depends on the languages we already speak. People who speak English, for example, are already immersed in Romani languages and can learn Italian, Spanish or French relatively easily. Why? Because all Romani languages are based on Latin. Romani languages have many common grounds in their grammatical characteristics and terminology. If you have learned related languages, it will not be difficult to read a newspaper written in another Romani language. This does not apply to conversations, however, because the differences between Spanish and Portuguese, for example, are significant.
Other language groups, such as Scandinavian languages, have many similarities and can be easily compared. Swedish is the “easiest” Scandinavian language. If you would like to learn Norwegian or Danish, it is a lot easier to do so if you know Swedish. Aside from this, Swedish is understood in all Scandinavian countries.
Advice: Compare Different Languages
Comparing different languages can be very exciting. It shows similarities and makes it clear that it would not be too complicated to learn more than one language from the same language group. The human brain is designed to detect similarities automatically. Our brains also take advantage of comparing languages — it combines existing knowledge with new information, thus adding it to the knowledge network. We learn.
The Birkenbihl Approach makes use of this automatism. The essence of the learning process is the translation into the mother tongue of a foreign language text. For example, the brain can easily compare two languages, learn to speak intuitively and start to internalize (grammar) rules automatically, without cramming. Find out more about the method here:
Is Chinese the Most Difficult Language in the World?
Chinese (Mandarin) is not so difficult to learn as initially thought. Of course, the typography might seem complicated, and the typing and the reading of the characters time-consuming. On the contrary, everything has a well-thought-out background. And that makes the language easy to learn. Speaking the language is simple; the grammar is — especially when compared with Romani languages — easy and comprehensible. For learning Chinese, it’s therefore important to understand the background of the language rather than to cram without context. The level of difficulty when learning a language depends on the method.
Find out more here: Decoding a Text. Which Languages Are Particularly Suitable?
By the way, Chinese people know approximately 20,000 characters. 1,000 of these are the basic vocabulary. Those who already know about 200 characters can understand 40 per cent of everyday language and read news stories and websites!
Spanish or French?
Schools often offer a choice between French or Spanish. Read through the following facts to make your decision!
Spanish Is Probably a Little ‘simpler’
French is the Romani language with the least connection to Latin. What distinguishes French mainly from Italian and Spanish is the great destruction of the flexion in the spoken language. This often makes it impossible to recognize a French word as a Latin word, without knowing its history.
French For the Career — Spanish For Holidays
Worldwide, the possibility to speak Spanish is more likely, as more people speak Spanish than French. On the other hand, French (after English) is a popular language in the German world of work. What is more important for you?
Attractiveness of Languages — French at Top
A 2015 survey by Statista also showed how attractive are different foreign languages to Germans. In terms of results, French ranked 1st (25 %). Italian ranked 2nd with 21 %, followed by English (15 %) and Spanish (14 %).
Whatever language you choose: Have fun!
Start today and learn a language with entertaining and brain-friendly language courses: