The short answer is yes! The study of foreign languages is extremely beneficial for everyone. Sure, there are the obvious benefits of connectivity and preservation of language, but there’s more. Learning another language is linked to cognitive acceleration and creativity and a slew of other benefits including:
- Enhanced problem-solving skills
- Better memory
- Improved multi-tasking skills
- Enhanced decision making
Language learning exercises your brain and expands your understanding. It increases your awareness and appreciation for how others live, work, and play. Plus, learning a second language makes you more employable.
Linguists say that you will only master a language if you truly enjoy it! Here are 10 languages you can have fun learning, and which you can also put to good use:
English is omnipresent. It is the primary language of the internet and computer technology. More than 375 million people are native English speakers, and as many as 1.5 billion use it each day. The United Kingdom and Canada have English as an official language, and it’s the de facto primary language for the United States—all are listed on the world’s 10 biggest economies.
With 982 million native speakers, Chinese has the greatest number of users. Altogether 1.1 billion people use the Mandarin Chinese dialect. On the global economic stage, China is positioned to be the world’s leading economy by 2050, which means this language will become even more influential.
Spanish is the primary language of more than 20 countries, the majority in Latin America. There are around 330 million native speakers, and more than 420 million use it as a second language. In the U.S., around 35 million people speak Spanish at home.
Around 127 million people speak Japanese natively and one million more use it to some extent.
Japanese is a beautiful and rewarding language to know, though it is a challenge to learn — reading and writing Japanese requires knowledge of two phonetic writing systems and thousands of kanji characters.
Germany has remained Europe’s most dominant economy for decades, and its language is the most spoken on the European continent. There are 105 million native speakers, and 80 million around the globe speaking German as a second language.
As the native language of some of the world’s greatest writers and intellectuals, Russian is an excellent language for students of history, literature, and the humanities to know . More than 150 million people speak Russian as their primary language and an additional 110 million speak it on a non-native level.
France has the sixth largest economy in the world. French was once the primary language of diplomatic discourse, and retains its status as an official language in France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, and throughout much of Africa and the Caribbean. Today, 79 million native people speak this language in France. Globally this number increases to 370 million.
Arabic is the liturgical language of the entire Muslim civilization. It’s also the dominant language of the Middle East and an increasingly important language for global business, thanks to economic centers like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This makes Arabic one of the most important languages on the planet. More than 205 million people speak this language, and there are 100 million non-native speakers worldwide.
India has the seventh largest economy in the world; but by 2050, it is expected to be second. Hindi is the primary language of this country (out of more than 100 languages in all) and several surrounding countries. Its 450 million primary users and additional 200 million non-native speakers make Hindi the 4th most spoken language on Earth.
More than 215 million persons speak native Portuguese, while there are 235 million speakers in total. It’s the primary language in Portugal, Brazil, and seven other countries, and is often considered the major language of the Southern Hemisphere. This makes it one of the most important languages to know and understand.