Even with Google Translate, there’s still a huge benefit to being a bilingual or multi-lingual speaker.
Not only does it help hugely if you’re able to speak even just a few words of the local language while you’re travelling in foreign countries (showing that you’re at least trying to speak the language will get you brownie points, and often locals are then willing to go the extra mile to help you), but it can also bring other major advantages too.
As well as helping you if you’re travelling in foreign countries, learning another language can help you with job prospects. There are lots of jobs that ask for applicants to be competent in another language; especially for tourism jobs or jobs in multinational firms.
Learning another language can also have huge benefits for your brain. Studies have shown that learning a foreign language causes the size of areas in the brain which are associated with memory, and levels of grey matter, to increase! In fact, learning a language is one of the best brain workouts you can do.
According to Ethnologue (the research centre for language intelligence), there are over 7,111 official languages to choose from, and so naturally some are going to be more useful than others. The big question then is; which languages are the best ones to learn?
The best languages to learn are:
With over one billion speakers, this is a language spoken by a huge number of people, and one that is becoming increasingly sought after by employers as China is becoming an increasingly important player in international business.
Spanish is spoken in many different countries around the world. Spain, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico are just a few for which Spanish is the official language. If you like to travel, learning Spanish will give you plenty of countries which you can visit and explore more easily.
Another language which is spoken in a great many countries. Canada, Switzerland and Morocco all have French speakers among its nationals. Not only does French help with world travel and in business, but it’s a romance language which may give you a little “je ne sais quoi” in the love department.
This is a harder one to learn since if you want to read it, it involves learning to recognise kanji rather than words made from letters. It’s a language which not that many English-speakers speak as an additional language, so if you’re looking for a job involving Japan or travel, it can stand you in very good stead. Though you might simply like to learn it so you can thoroughly explore Japan and discover the home of sushi, karaoke and samurai.