December is National Learn a Foreign Language Month, and while it’s important to know which languages are the most spoken in the world, it’s equally important to identify which languages are being studied by polyglots around the globe. Below is a list of the top six most-studied language in the world.
With over 1.5 billion learners, English is the most-studied language in the world. This isn’t a shock, as English is the official language of over fifty countries. It’s also the main language used in many international organizations and companies, including the United Nations, giving English speakers an advantage when applying for jobs in this field. Interesting fact: English is the official language of the World Bank.
According to the Modern Language Association, most students in the United States are studying Spanish. It’s easy to see why they’ve chosen to learn Spanish, given that the Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. has been growing each year. Astonishingly, the U.S. is predicted to have the most Spanish-speakers of any country in the world by 2050. Interesting fact: According to the Foreign Service Institute, Spanish is an easy language to learn for native English speakers.
There are many reasons to learn another language, but the love of culture and family heritage are two main factors. That’s why German pulls in millions of learners each year. Furthermore, this historically important language is the second most widely spoken language in Europe and it’s one of the official languages of Austria, Switzerland, and Luxemburg. Interesting fact: BMW, Adidas, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz are German-owned businesses operating all over the globe.
China, the country with the highest population in the world, is also a powerhouse when it comes to commerce. This makes learning Chinese, difficult as it may be, very attractive to students wanting to pursue international business or trade. After all, more than 16% of the planet speaks Chinese as their first or second language. Interesting fact: The Chinese language has no verb tenses!
French is the second most-studied language both in the U.S. and Europe. Spoken by almost 300 million people on five continents, it’s considered an official language in forty-two separate countries and territories. In fact, French is spoken in twenty-one African countries, with a population that accounts for 70% of the French-speaking population. Interesting fact: French is growing in popularity and is expected to reach 750 million speakers by 2050.
Japanese is now the fifth most-studied language in the U.S., beating out Italian. Possible factors contributing to this increase are employment opportunities with Japanese companies like Honda; language exchange programs, like the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme; and the rise in popularity of Japanese anime shows. Interesting fact: There are three Japanese alphabets.
By Kelli Drummer-Avendano
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