9 Most Useful Languages to Learn in 2020

Learning languages concept - flags of Spain, France, Great Britain and other countries, blackboard with text "Learn a new language!", books and chancellery

There are approximately 7,111 known languages spoken by the 7.8 billion people in the world today. A significant portion of the world’s population speaks at least one other language besides their mother tongue.

There are, of course, many benefits of speaking as multiple languages in an increasingly globalized language. These include the ability to communicate and cooperate in business. 

So what are the most useful languages to learn in 2020? This question might seem difficult at first, but it’s really not that complicated at all. With only 23 languages accounting for the majority of the world’s population, it’s easy to know which languages are the best to learn.

In this guide, we discuss 10 best languages to learn in the 21st century.

Most Useful Languages to Learn

Before deciding on which language you’re going to study, you need to consider a few things. Why are you learning the language in the first place? Is it for career purposes, or are you doing it for international travel?

The motivation behind your interest in a new language determines how fast you can learn it. Let’s now look at some of the most important languages to learn.  

1. English

English has roughly 375 million native speakers. However, it’s the most spoken language worldwide, with at least 1.5 billion people able to use it in some form. Currently, English is by far the most influential language in the world, which makes it among the most valuable languages to learn.

Essentially, English is the primary language of computer technology and the Internet. That’s the top reason the language is omnipresent globally. It’s also the official language of the United States, Canada, and the UK, which are among the 10 biggest economies of the world.

2. Chinese

No single language in the world has more native speakers than Chinese. Currently, there are over 982 million native speakers of the Chinese mandarin dialect. Roughly 1.1 billion people globally understand the language.

Given how powerful China is globally, it’s certainly valuable to learn Chinese in this century. You could start by learning how to tell Chinese time before moving on to more complex subjects. 

3. Spanish

With roughly 330 million people who call Spanish their mother tongue, the language is among the most widespread in the world. Over 450 million understand the language, and about 35 million in the United States use it at home. 

Spanish is the official language of over 20 countries, most of which are in Latin America. Understanding the language can thus pay major dividends if you plan to travel in one of these countries or do business there.

4. Japanese

The economic strength and influence of Japan are unquestionable. That’s one of the top reasons Japanese is among the most useful languages today. 

Currently, over 127 million are native speakers of the language. One million more use Japanese to some extent.

Comprehending the symbols of Japanese can seem intimidating at first. However, once you do, the language is beautiful and a lot less demanding than most European languages. Sure, not many people outside Japan speak Japanese, but you’ll most likely need it when dealing with IT and other modern technologies.

5. German

German is Europe’s most dominant economy. The country has held that position for decades now, which makes German one of the most important languages today. As of 2020, German has the largest number of speakers in Europe.

105 million people speak German natively with a further 80 million using it as their second language. As you begin learning the language, you’ll notice that it sounds a bit authoritative. That’s perhaps because of Germany’s determination to stay ahead when it comes to global powers. 

6. Russian

You’ve probably heard of or read the novels of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. The two Russian writers are widely considered two of the world’s best novelists of all time, which makes Russian an attractive language to learn.

The language has over 150 million native speakers. A further 110 million speak the language on a non-native level. This makes Russian the most influential language among Euro-Asian countries. 

Today, Russian is the official language of 38 territories. 

For people interested in e-commerce, Russian is a vital language to learn. The largest internet audience in Europe resides in Russia, with over 80% of people who speak Russian preferring to make purchases in the language.

7. French

For centuries, diplomatic discourse used French as the primary language. The language is still influential today, with over 79 million people using it natively. Overall, about 370 million people globally speak French. 

France still holds a strong position among the world’s biggest economies, and Paris is the cultural epicenter it’s always been. One more thing, French is popularly known as the language of love. These are a few of the reasons why, for many people, French is among the most useful languages to learn.

8. Arabic

The list of reasons why Arabic is among the most important languages on the planet today is long. First of all, the language has official status in the 22 countries that make up the Arabic League. Over 205 million people speak the language natively, with a further 100 million using it as a second language worldwide.

The entire Muslim civilization also uses Arabic as the liturgical language, spreading the influence of the language to 1.5 billion.

9. Hindi

Hindi is the primary language of India and other surrounding territories. The language has 450 million native speakers. Another 200 million use the language non-natively, making Hindi the fourth most used language in the world. 

The importance of Hindi also lies in the fact that the country is an economic giant. Currently, the country is the world’s seventh-largest and is projected to climb to second position by 2050.

Learning More Languages Is Beneficial

There are lots of reasons you’d want to learn a second, third, or fifth language. Of course, the language you choose to learn matters. The most useful languages to learn are those that impact your career and personal goals positively.

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