French, Spanish, Arabic or Hindi?
There are lots of different ways to count usefulness. The most spoken languages are Mandarin, English, Hindi and Spanish. However, if you take ‘widely used’ to mean which languages are official languages in the highest numbers of countries, then the list is very different, with English still top, but the next contenders being French then Arabic.
Which language should you learn after English?
English is still the most useful language you can learn if you are not already proficient. However, for native English speakers and those who have already achieved proficiency in English, the issue of which is the next most useful language to learn is more nuanced. With Rosetta Stone Unlimited you can access 24 of the world’s most useful languages, but you still have to decide which one to study first. Below are some more questions and answers to help you make up your mind which language might be most useful for you to learn next.
Japanese or Spanish
Again, this can be measured in lots of different ways. Perhaps a more useful question is which major economies are least likely to do business with you if you only have English and can’t speak their language. China might rate on this list, but it has seen a huge growth in English learning and most Chinese who engage in international trade probably learn English as part of their career. Perhaps Japan or the Spanish speaking countries? Education First’s list of English-proficiency by country suggests that Japan and Brazil are amongst the big world economies with the lowest levels of English.
French or Turkish
On the face of it this is an easy one, with Germany’s economic dominance of the continent well known. Certainly, German is a useful language for trading successfully with the world’s fourth biggest economy, but this usefulness is undone a bit by just how good the Germans are at speaking English. Almost anyone in an outward facing professional role is likely to have reasonable, if not very good, English.
Another contender is French, France being the next biggest continental economy, but where the quality of English is ranked considerably lower on Education First’s chart. Italian and Spanish are worth considering for the same reasons. Turkey has very low rates of English on the chart, making Turkish skills a necessity for anyone wanting to trade with this sizeable economy.
Korean or Japanese
We can answer this question for Rosetta Stone learners, where Spanish then French still dominate as the languages most learnt after English. However, possibly due to the fact Rosetta Stone now sells access to all languages, there have been some notable climbers in the rankings of actively learnt languages. Most notable amongst them Korean and Japanese.
Spanish or French
English is not so closely related to other languages. It is outside of the ‘Romance languages’ group and, while Germanic, it does not prepare you for any of the complex grammar rules, cases and genders of the German language. In fact, it is hard to see what English is a stepping stone towards. Many English natives think of Spanish as a relatively easy language to learn and certainly, there is a lot of Spanish as well as French taught in English schools.
Finally there is the power language index to help us make up our minds. This publication by the World Economic Forum ranks languages using many factors including economic usefulness but also communicative usefulness and the amount of media available in a language. The power language index is designed to assess languages by their ability to empower the people who learn them. On this ranking Mandarin Chinese comes in as a clear second place after English as the most important language to learn.
Rosetta Stone Unlimited
Language learner, teacher and contributing author to the Rosetta Stone magazine
Why Are Accents Important?
What is slang? And do we need to learn it?
How best to learn vocabulary and improve your memory
The best way to learn a language
Language Learning in Lockdown
Top languages for working abroad 2021