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Tackling the Age-old Question: What is the best language to learn?

Tackling the Age-old Question: What is the best language to learn?
on July, 09 2013

Countless people around the world have asked the question, “What is the best language to learn?” Students who dream of brilliant careers in Foreign Service have wondered, and so have inexorable travelers who want to see the world. For sure, aspiring interpreters have pondered this line of thought. Similarly, entrepreneurs planning to expand to international waters wonder about what language to pick from amongst a list ofpossible options.

Define terms and weigh options

The only reasonable answer to this question is,“It depends.” This may not be the answer you are looking for, but anyone who suggests a language or two without asking a few more questions is being hasty. Before making the big decision on what language to invest your time, money and effort on, there are many follow-up questions that need answers before.

First of all, it is important to define “best.” When people use this word they usually mean something that is highly in-demand, popular, and potentially profitable. Still, for some people “best” could mean something that they feel an affinity for, something that inspires them, and something they enjoy. This must be clarified at the outset.

For your consideration

There are too many languages to consider. Take Spanish for example. Spanish is spoken in Spain, Latin America, and the United States. Spanish translators are in very high demand. But,it’s difficult for someone starting out in the industry to compete with those who are already established, so it may not be the ideal choice after all. Another example is Chinese, which is now recognized as the future language of business given the economic leaps that China has managed in a few years. But Mandarin is also one of the most difficult languages to learn, in both spoken and written form. Is the potential associated with it worth the years of devoted study required?

For people who do not speak English, it is rather obvious that choosing to learn it as a second language is beneficial in many ways. English is still the language of global business and it is also the language of the Internet. As a matter of fact, English is considered the world’s second language.

But if a person wants a useful and practical tour for a planned tour of Europe, English is hardly the “best” option. French is right there on top of thelist. There are many French speakers in Europe. In France, knowing how to converse en Francais would further enrich one’s experience of culture, art, and food. The French are also more gracious towards those who speak to them in their own language.

Why learn a second language in the first place?

Let us explain a bit further what we mean by defining terms, setting objectives, and weighing options. Before choosing from a list of highly in-demand, popular, and potentially profitable languages, you must first be clear on your objectives. Why learn a new language in the first place? What is your motivation?

The motivation to learn a new language could be intellectual, economic, or quite simply out of sheer interest. One of the reasons why many people these days want to learn a language is for its practical applications such as in advancing one’s career. Without a doubt learning a new language could help in this regard.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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