Why is it worth learning languages?
What should you look for when picking a new language to learn? Below, we have listed a few factors that may help you make your decision.
Number of people who speak a given language
The more popular the language, the more people speak it, the greater the chance that it will be useful to you. When considering which languages are worth learning in 2022, you should consider how many places in the world you will be able to communicate with them. If a language is highly popular it translates into the number of jobs available using it.
Learning a language is an investment that takes time and energy. According to the Foreign Service Institute – a training institution for the US federal government that prepares US diplomats and other professionals to support US interests abroad and in Washington, the easiest languages to learn are, among others, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian. It takes approximately 24 weeks to become fluent in these languages. However, these calculations were made for people whose first language is English. The above-mentioned languages were classified as easy because they were considered very similar to English. Certainly, learning them may be more difficult for a Chinese or Polish citizen.
Is language a tool that will help you develop your career? Analyse which foreign language is the most forward-looking and useful in your industry. If you are developing a business in the USA, it will be a good idea to learn Spanish (as many as 1/5 of US citizens speak Spanish at home), and if you are thinking about expanding your business and going beyond your home country, it will definitely be a good idea to learn the languages of your neighbouring countries. You have to choose according to your activity and business location.
How do you know which languages are worth learning?
There are languages that are worth learning, regardless of subjective factors. We can judge this with the help of the PLI (Power Language Index). This is a method of assessing the importance of a language developed by Dr. Kai L. Chan, a distinguished scholarship holder at INSEAD. This systematic way of assessing languages was created in 2016 and takes into account the possibilities and prospects of a given language. Kai L. Chan distinguished 5 areas within which languages ”open the door” to new possibilities:
- Geography: The ability to travel
- Economy: Ability to participate in the economy
- Communication: Ability to engage in dialogue
- Knowledge and media: The ability to consume knowledge and media
- Diplomacy: Ability to engage in international relations.
The PLI evaluates languages on the basis of current global conditions, but does not take into account factors that may affect the rank of a given language in the future. Therefore, in order to show you the most future-oriented foreign languages, we have also analysed them in terms of the potential associated with the increase in the number of populations using a given language and the increase in the economic potential of a given nation. This is how the list below was created.
A list of 10 languages worth learning in 2022
China has been in the top ten of the largest economies in the world for years, and although the growth rate of the Chinese population may slow down in the coming years, there are no indications that this will impact the potential of China’s economy.
Of course, Mandarin is a difficult language, because it takes about 88 weeks to learn it (calculations for English-speakers). It belongs to the Chinese family of languages, which in turn is part of the Sino-Tibetan language group. Mandarin Chinese is an official language in only three countries: the People’s Republic of China, Singapore and Taiwan. This does not change the fact that it is spoken by over 1 billion 100 million people, which, apart from English, makes it the most popular language in the world. So, let’s take up the challenge and start learning Mandarin – an intensive Chinese language course from SuperMemo will be helpful.
This is the language spoken by most people in the world. Therefore, as it has been for years, it is probably on every list of languages worth learning; this year, too. English is the basic language of the most powerful economy in the world, and according to forecasts, the US will remain in the big three, alongside China and India, and there is no competitor to push the US off the podium. English is an official language in as many as 67 countries, which makes it extremely universal. It will be useful both when travelling and in professional matters.
Why learn Hindi? Because it is one of the most promising foreign languages and is already spoken by about 4% of the global population. This means that it is only behind English, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish in popularity. India’s economy is already in the top three of global economies and is still dynamically developing, which makes India an extremely attractive place for potential investors. Knowledge of Hindi should greatly increase your value in the modern job market, and although it is not a simple language (it is in the same group in terms of complexity as Polish), it is definitely a language worthy of attention, so it would pay off to start learning it in 2022, increasing your advantage in the job market.
The most geographically widespread language in the world. Recognised as an official language in 21 countries. It is spoken by over half a billion people. It is also the most common language in the United States, after English. In the US, Spanish is the first language of approximately 60 million people. Importantly, it is not one of the most difficult languages to learn, so once you take it up, you should quickly notice satisfying results. To start your adventure with Spanish, we recommend one of the many SuperMemo courses.
French’s presence on the list of languages worth learning in 2022 is largely due to Africa. Why? It is the official language of 11 African countries, and, due to demographic changes in Africa, the number of native speakers of French could increase rapidly over the next 3 decades. Today there are over 230 million of them. Postcolonial influences may make the knowledge of French extremely desirable in the near future, due to new business ventures being developed in Africa, which has enormous economic potential.
Along with Mandarin Chinese, it is the most difficult language on our list of languages to learn in 2022. Arabic is the 5th most influential language in the world, according to the 2016 Power Language Index. The number of native speakers of Arabic is around 230 million, from 23 countries where it is an official language. The sphere of influence of this language covers an area that currently has enormous economic potential, and the economic strength of countries such as the Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt or Kuwait will grow in the near future, at least until the reserves of valuable natural resources of these countries begin to shrink.
How many people in the world do you think speak Indonesian? Does the number of nearly 200 million users surprise you? And there may be many more of these people in the near future, as most of Indonesia’s forecasts are that it will soon join economic powers such as China, the US or India, becoming the fourth economy in the world. So it’s worth not missing this moment, especially since Indonesian is relatively easy to learn.
A language worth remembering about, primarily due to the growing position of Turkey in the world economy. The number of native speakers of Turkish may not be impressive, as less than 80 million people speak it, but don’t let that fool you. It is worthwhile to start studying and reach for this forward-looking foreign language before it becomes popular among students all over the world.
The native language of over a quarter of a billion people, including the largest country in the world, Russia, is in the top ten of the largest economies and should remain there for the next few years. These arguments already make it clear that this is a language that it pays to learn. And to start learning Russian, you need to learn Cyrillic script, which is an alphabet that is different from Latin, which can be a bit of a challenge. In our opinion, it is worth taking the challenge on. Our Russian courses will be helpful, allowing you to start your adventure with this language, until you master it fluently.
This is one of the most important and future-proof foreign languages from a European perspective. Although it is an official language only in 6 countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, the first of these countries has the most powerful economy in Europe. That’s enough to put German on our list of languages worth learning in 2022.
Of course, no matter which language you choose to learn, be it from the list, or from outside it, remember that learning a foreign language has many advantages. This is an excellent exercise for the brain. It improves memory and prevents brain ageing. There are few activities so beneficial for our minds as learning foreign languages. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to take up this challenge and reach for one of the SuperMemo courses, which may turn out to be only the beginning of your linguistic adventures!