A new language always opens new possibilities. If your mother tongue is one of the Top 10 languages, you might not feel an urgent need to learn a foreign language but any language you speak and write broadens your horizon. Here are the Top 10 languages in popularity and it makes sense to learn any of them:
- English. English is the dominating language in the world today. People all over the world speak English. One of the best things about English in comparison to the other languages in the list is that it is relatively easy to learn. Only Spanish is easier than English, all the other languages require more effort to master.
- Chinese. Chinese, especially Mandarin Chinese, is the language spoken by the most people in the world. Yes, more people speak Chinese than English! However, unlike English with its global presence, Chinese is spoken mainly in Eastern Asia. Still, if you have contacts with this part of the world, it makes sense to learn (or at least try to) Chinese.
- Spanish. Spanish is also a very popular language – a whole continent speaks it! Varieties of Spanish are spoken all over Latin America (except Brazil, though you can find Spanish speaking people there, too) and in many places in North America and Europe.
- French. Once upon a time, when France was strong, French used to be the world language. Now French has lost its dominating role to English but still many countries in Africa and Asia have large groups of French speakers. Besides, French is fun to learn, so why not try it?
- Arabic. Arabic is a mother tongue for over 300 million people in North Africa and the Middle East. There are also large Arabic-speaking communities in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. If you want to learn Arabic, the best choice is to go for Modern Standard Arabic because this is the universal language understood in any Arabic country. The dialects of Arabic are numerous and sometimes speakers of one dialect don’t understand speakers of other dialects, so go for Modern Standard Arabic.
- Russian. Russia is a vast country and it is still a global power. Its language has never been as popular as English or French but still millions of people in Russia and throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union are fluent in it. For a Westerner, Russian is pretty difficult but if you don’t give up easily, try learning some Russian.
- German. German is popular mainly in Europe, though you can find German speakers in many countries on any continent. German is also hard to learn because of its complicated grammar but if you plan to visit Germany or do business with Germans, your efforts to learn their language will be appreciated for sure.
- Italian. Italian is a very romantic language and if you are into arts, you will benefit a lot from learning it. Similarly to German, it is popular mainly in Europe, so if you need a more global language, you’d better choose Spanish or English.
- Japanese. Japanese is popular mainly in Eastern Asia but since Japan is a world leader, it makes sense to learn its language. Japanese is really hard to learn and it will take a lot of patience to pass beyond the beginner stages.
- Portuguese. Portuguese is very similar to Spanish but of course the difference is in the number of people who speak it. Portuguese isn’t as popular as Spanish but still some major countries, for instance Portugal itself and Brazil use it as the primary language, so if you plan to visit these countries or have business with them, it won’t hurt if you learn Portuguese.
In addition to these Top 10 languages that are spoken by many people, there are also many languages with regional importance but they are too numerous and not popular enough to be included in the list. Anyway, no matter which foreign language you pick, this is a good step for you! Start studying it on your own, or even better, find a good online course and you are on the right track.