Should I learn Russian or Japanese

What language to learn Many people who would like to add another foreign language to their repertoire ask themselves this question. There are incredible though lots good reasons to learn a foreign language, but the main motivation for many is and remains the prospect of career opportunities.

Last update: April 21, 2021

Mastering one or more foreign languages ​​is indeed one of the most sought-after skills in the world of work. But which languages ​​should you learn for this? Although English is practically a Lingua Franca is today and is spoken all over the world, a command of the English language is insufficient in some areas of the working world (such as in the tourism sector or in international trade).

 

What language should you learn? ^

To increase his chances on the job market? ^

This article tries to answer these questions for all those who want to learn a second foreign language after English and are looking for a guide to their choice.

Every language is a plus and there are several reasons to learn a new language. This article analyzes the 7 most useful languages. If professional reasons are really the main reason for your learning, then it is imperative that you do a slightly more specific analysis for your area of ​​work.

 

As a native German speaker?^

The Latin language is still taught and Latin is undoubtedly a good basis for learning a Romance language more easily. But you can probably already guess that a criterion for a useful language is that it is spoken nowadays, that is, one of the living languages ​​😉 I could three main criteria for the importance and priority of learning a language to identify:

  • Spreading in the world
  • The importance from an economic and political point of view
  • The geographical proximity to the country of origin

 

The top 10 most spoken languages ​​^

According to the bookEthnologue by Paul Lewis, the “Top 10” most spoken languages ​​are: Chinese (this summarizes the 12 languages ​​spoken in China), Spanish, English, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and Lahnda (here you can see the complete current overview).

For the second criterion, I relied on the official data from the Federal Statistical Office (see this PDF document).

For the third criterion, a certain basic geographic knowledge makes the task easier.

 

Our infographic about the most useful foreign languages^

A picture is worth a thousand words, so below we present you a visual summary of the most useful languages ​​especially for German:

 

Well the 7 most useful languages for a German native speaker - in English, of course ... 

What language to learn - Our ranking of the most useful foreign languages ​​for the professional world^

French^

Our neighboring country France is one of our most important trading partners (even if the US replaced France as the most important trading partner in terms of export volume in 2015 for the first time in decades).

French is spoken by over 220 million people worldwide (there are around 80 million native speakers) and is undoubtedly a global language. The trend is rising, because according to an article in “Welt”, French even has the potential to become a new world language, as the population of French speakers is growing Countries should be highest in the coming years! French is the official language of 29 countries such as France, Canada, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Haiti, Belgium, Rwanda, Togo, Mali and other countries.

 

Economic power France ^

French companies are in the Pharmaceutical industry, in the Telecommunications-, Aviation and Energy sector leading. In addition, French plays a key role in development aid initiatives in Africa, as in many countries in North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, and East Africa Among other things, French is the official language of the country. Anyone who speaks French has a clear advantage in consulting activities as well as in foundations and non-profit organizations with a focus on Africa. In addition, French is the official language NATO, the United Nations, the Olympic Games, the Red Cross and othersinternational organizations.

Summary:

  • Language of the neighboring country and important trading partner
  • 220 million speakers
  • Basics from school

 

What languages ​​are you learning? - Spanish^

The Spanish language is one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world and remains the mother tongue of over 400 million people in over 44 countries.

Spanish is one of the most important languages ​​for all countries in the world. As a result, it is extremely popular with high school students and now outstrips French. And for everyone who wants to do business or is on the road internationally for work, this is Mastery of the Spanish language is a big plus, who can open many doors. Incidentally, Germany is Spain's second largest trading partner after France. In addition, Spanish is spoken throughout Latin America.

 

Cultural exchange with Germany ^

In addition to the economic exchange, there is also a lively cultural exchange between Spain and Germany. Many Spaniards (and even more since the economic crisis of 2007/08) live in Germany. And Spain remains one of the most popular holiday destinations for Germans: around 10 million tourists travel to Spain every year, and over half a million Germans spend more than three months in the said warmer southern European country. If you work in the tourism sector, knowing Spanish will certainly help you.

Summary:

  • Lively exchange with Spanish people about the tourism industry
  • over 400 million native speakers worldwide
  • important trading partner Spain

 

What languages ​​are you learning? - Italian^

The Italian language is spoken less than Spanish worldwide, but there are still more than 75 million people who speak Italian in more than 34 countries around the world (Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican, Brazil, Argentina and some of the former Colonies of Italy and their neighboring countries). The Italian language is also the language of artists and one of the official languages ​​of the European Union. It has always had a certain importance in international institutions and in the diplomatic context. Hence ask Knowledge of the Italian language is definitely an advantage for Germans represent.

 

Trade partner Italy ^

Germany is by far Italy's most important trading partner, with a share of almost 15% in Italian imports and around 12% in Italian exports (2014) (information from the Foreign Office). Conversely, Italy ranks fifth for Germany as an importing country and sixth as an exporting country. As a Romance language, Italian is similar to Spanish and French and is therefore relatively easy to learn, especially if you already speak one of these languages.

Summary:

  • 75 million speakers worldwide
  • important trading partner of Germany
  • especially easy to learn for anyone who already speaks a Romance language

Do you already have ours 5 FREE phrasebooks downloaded that will allow you to review all the useful basics in English, Spanish, Italian, German or Portuguese?

 

Chinese^

The populous China (with a population of 1.37 billion are almost 20% of all people on earth are Chinese) must by no means be neglected here.

Even if China is geographically far removed from Germany and Europe, the country is for Trading partner number 1 advanced for German imports. And when it comes to exports from Germany, the nation takes 5th place. These numbers speak for themselves. So if you want to work in international trade then you should really think about learning Chinese.

 

You can now learn Chinese with MosaLingua ^

You have to know it 12 different variants of Chinese there. The most famous language among them is that Mandarinwhich is spoken by almost 900 million people. Learning Mandarin is really an excellent idea as the language is very important for business and commerce, but it can also be very helpful in the diplomatic and military fields ... The few people who have successfully learned Chinese will have an incredible advantage over them who have to make do with English.
Because of the different pitches in pronunciation and writing, Mandarin has a reputation for being difficult to learn. But there are no different verb tenses for this, and hardly any grammar or conjugations to be learned. We recommend that you take the plunge into the deep end and start learning Chinese with our Chinese app now.

Summary:

  • important trading partner of Germany
  • Knowledge of Chinese is still considered in Europe Superpower
  • Chinese is easier to learn than assumed

 

Portuguese ^

According to Wikipedia, Portuguese is the fifth most widely spoken language (even if such statistics are only estimates). Of course, Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, but also in Brazil. And Brazil is a country with considerable economic growth and Germany's most important foreign trade partner in Latin America.
Portuguese is also spoken in certain African countries such as the resource-rich Angola.
Similar to Spanish, Portuguese is not too difficult to learn.

Summary:

  • Brazil is an important foreign trade partner in Latin America
  • especially easy to learn for anyone who already speaks a Romance language

 

What languages ​​are you learning? - Arabic^

The importance of Arabic becomes clear if you take another look at the statistics: the language becomes of more than 260 million native speakers talked about that over 57 countries to distribute. Arabic takes 4th place in the ranking of the most widely spoken language.

Many Arabic-speaking countries represent the West important resources like oil to disposal. So it is not surprising that geopolitical events in recent years have forced the West to move closer to the Arab world.

 

A very diverse language ^

According to a comment by Solal, this is based written Arabic on a standardized system, which is common almost everywhere where the language is spoken. However, the diversity of Arabic through the various dialects and variations in the spoken language very clearly. A Moroccan will not necessarily understand a Lebanese. Egyptian Arabic is a good dialect for learning because this form of Arabic is said to be the most universal (which is partly due to the Egyptian film industry).

Arabic has been recognized by a US department as one of the hardest languages ​​to learn classified and is therefore on a par with Korean, Japanese, Mongolian or Mandarin. In other words: a certain amount of motivation is required for learning! Read more now about how to learn Arabic quickly.

If you know how to communicate in Arabic, it is especially useful for jobs in the Politics and military a plus. But also in journalism or Tourism sector Arabic is very helpful.

Summary:

  • very versatile areas of application
  • simplified, the language is not that difficult to learn

 

Russian^

Even if the trade figures between Germany and Russia are on the decline, Germany's exports to Russia are still in 16th place in the international ranking and are considerable with a volume of almost 22 billion euros. Russia is a major economic power and Russian is an important lingua franca in Russia itself and in all countries of the former Soviet Union.
There are approx. 170 million native Russian speakers. Thus, Russian is one of the most popular languages ​​in the world and mastering it could be a clear advantage in professional life. There is also a lively cultural and educational exchange between Germany and Russia.

Due to the Cyrillic alphabet, Russian is not as easy to learn for Germans as English or one of the Romance languages. So you should be really motivated to learn them, otherwise you run the risk of becoming discouraged quickly ...

Summary:

  • important neighbor of Europe
  • 170 million native speakers
  • Lively cultural and educational exchange

 

What language to learn to communicate in the world?^

If you work in a certain country, then of course no analysis or table is necessary. Then learning the language of the country in which you live is usually the most practical and obvious solution.

Perhaps the following list can give you an idea about the most widely spoken languages. However, it should be seen more as a general guideline, since estimating such numbers is very difficult. But now that 10 most widely spoken languages (according to the ethnologist):

RankinglanguagedistributionNative speaker (in millions)
1.Chinese (Mandarin)China, Singapore, Taiwan897
2.SpanishSpain, Latin America427
3.EnglishUSA, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Africa339
4.ArabicNorth Africa, Middle East267
5.HindiIndia, Pakistan260
6.PortuguesePortugal, Brazil, Africa202
7.BengaliBangladesh, India189
8.RussianRussia, Eastern Europe171
9.JapaneseJapan128
10.LahndaPakistan117

(Attention: these numbers vary a lot from statistic to statistic depending on the selected criteria!)

Here we have a video for you about the 7 most useful languages ​​on an international level:

We hope you found this article helpful. Don't hesitate to ask a question or leave your opinion in a comment!