What are the most important languages to be learning in the world right now?
We talked recently about the most popular languages currently being learned in Canada, but what about the languages being learned most around the world? Which are the languages we, as learners, should consider as having the widest global impact? Here are some of the most important languages to be learning in the world right now.
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Whether you choose European Spanish or Latin American Spanish, overall Spanish is a hugely important language in our world. Around 534 million people speak Spanish; 460 million as L1 speakers and 74 million as L2. Spanish is an official or national language in the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
So, why is Spanish so important? Well, with the current conflict in America regarding the border and immigration, understanding Spanish is crucial to aid individuals and to help resolve the situation. On a wider scale, Latin America is a growing powerhouse in terms of trade, and Spain itself is an important partner for many countries in terms of business and commerce. The U.S. Hispanic market is important both for its purchasing power and as a key demographic group for presidential elections. Add to these reasons tourism in both Europe and Latin America, Latin American investment growth, and even the entertainment industries of music and film, the question really should be why haven’t you already learned Spanish?
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With an ongoing fight to curb international terrorism, Arabic has gained popularity amongst learners trying to better understand our world. Though this popularity is about more than just trying to prevent would-be terrorists from striking. We also want to help Arabic-speaking countries caught up in civil war, such as Syria. And with the rise in terrorism and the number of refugees has come a surge in Islamophobia; what better way to counter that than by learning the language spoken by our Muslim friends?
But there is far more to our global interest in Arabic than this! Countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are hugely important trading partners for many countries around the world. To be relevant in these markets and strike the best deals with these countries we have to understand the local language. Though if Arabic is your chosen language to learn, do your research first, since Arabic is a macro language, and within that group there are many different dialects and derivatives. The Arabic you speak in Morocco, for instance, won’t be the same that you will use in Oman.
Arabic is spoken by 315 million people as an official language in the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
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Mandarin by far is the most widely spoken language in the world. Over a billion people speak Mandarin, 918 million of whom are native speakers, while 198 million have learned it as a second language. Mandarin is an official language for China, as well as Singapore, and like Arabic has a number of varieties depending on where you speak it. The Beijing dialect forms the basis of Standard Chinese which is the version taught around the world to Mandarin students.
Mandarin is important because of the rapid expansion and strengthening of the Chinese market. Though as well as in terms of business and trade, China is an important ally in world peace through organisations such as NATO and the UN. Looking to the future, our need to deal with the climate crisis is also going to require a lot of negotiation and cooperation with China. Learning Mandarin is an important stepping stone towards that understanding and cooperation. Like Spanish, Mandarin is such an important language in so many areas of our lives for these above reasons that really, we should have made the effort to learn Mandarin already!
If the lack of English on this list concerns you, have no fear; English won’t be going anywhere anytime soon! This unofficial lingua franca has dominated so much of our world that it is hard to even imagine a world without it. Though that shouldn’t mean English is the only language we speak! If you are currently studying any of the above languages or want to try your hand at any other, why not get in touch with us? Our native speaking tutors can help create a course to suit your needs. Drop us a quick enquiry and see how we can help!