More than 2.5 billion people across the world speak English, but “only” 400 million name it as their primary language. No doubt, if you’re reading this now, you’re likely already in this group.
But what other languages are the most spoken languages in the world?
Should you try to learn them? How hard will they be to learn? Keep reading to check out our breakdown of the top five languages you should look into!
One of the most spoken languages across Asia and the world, Mandarin Chinese is also one of the best languages to learn.
Like English, it’s considered a language of business and finance. Many other Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam have close ties with Chinese factories and businesses either as a market for products or manufacturers.
If you want to do business in China, it’s going to be in Mandarin Chinese.
On a ranking of language difficulty, it’s considered to be one of the “super-hard languages” with about 88 weeks or 2200 class hours to get fluent. This is the hardest one on our list, but the one with the highest potential payoff.
You’ll have access to nearly 2 billion Chinese language speakers across the planet, in almost every country. You’ll also have access to a rich and vibrant culture in a way you wouldn’t have a chance to approach otherwise.
Aside from English, Spanish is the next most spoken western language across the world. South America, Spain, and former Spanish colonies all speak Spanish as a primary or secondary language.
Even in Spain, though, you’ll find a myriad of related languages, such as Catalan. Even if you don’t know those languages fluently, you’ll be able to piece together most concepts if you know Spanish.
Spanish is a Latin language, so that means it’s related to Italian and French and shares many words with English. Although, beware of the false friends!
French is the most spoken language of Europe and makes up the official language of Brussels, where the EU is headquartered. Being another Latin language alongside Spanish and Italian, you’ll be mostly understood no matter where you go.
Many words in America are derived from French, even though they may not be used in the UK or Australia. Canada also has the distinction of having French and English as its two official languages.
For Europe or North America, French can be an excellent choice for communication. Interestingly, much of Africa also does business in French, which means you can tap into an emerging economy.
German is the next most widely spoke European language after French, with most people in Eastern Europe having a cursory knowledge at the very least. It’s also quite popular as a choice of a foreign language to learn in many Asian countries due to close business ties.
Hindi has 425 million native speakers across India. Many words from Hindi have seeped their way into other languages, such as English, and vice-versa.
In reality, there are probably more than one billion speakers of the language at various levels across the planet. If they don’t speak Hindi, they can piece together what you’re saying due to their relationship to other languages on the subcontinent.
The Most Spoken Languages You Need to Wrap Your Tongue Around
Most spoken languages aren’t as difficult as Chinese, and more interconnected or derivative on each other than you might think, like Hindi. Business is burgeoning in Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and the Asian subcontinent. These five languages will help you to keep in touch and move ahead in a more connected world than ever before.
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