Trying something new: Learn a new language


More than 7,200 languages are spoken around the world today. English is the most common, and Mandarin Chinese is second. But what languages are most useful? What languages would make it easiest to communicate with people all around the world?

Obviously, English is a useful language to know. In America it is spoken by most, and the same goes for Britain and Australia. While Britain and Australia have slightly different versions of the English we all know and love, they are very similar and close to each other. While only about 360 million people are native English speakers, 1.5 billion people worldwide can speak English as a secondary language. 

Have you ever considered learning a language that is not spoken, but signed? Sign language can be used to communicate with people of different languages, as well as to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Even if you just learned finger spelling, you could have full conversations with someone who is deaf. While yes there are 300 different forms of sign languages, the three most common are ASL, British sign language (BSL), or Australian sign language (Auslan). Learning the basics of any of these could prove to be very useful.

German and all its sister languages are both fun to know and somewhat useful in the world. German is the mother tongue in 42 different countries, and there are 47 different Germanic languages around the world. If you know some German or one of the Germanic languages, then you would have a chance at being able to communicate with people from these countries. Also, if you want to work in engineering, then knowing German would be useful because Germany is known for their high technological advances and it may prove useful in communicating with German companies. 

Next up, Spanish. Even though it is the fourth most spoken language in the world, it is commonly used in many countries. There are 20 Spanish speaking countries, but many more with native speakers around the world. As common as Spanish is around the world, it is useful to know, so you can communicate effectively. In America it is also a bonus to put on your resume because then you could successfully translate between yourself and customers, or your boss and customers.

Finally, although Latin is a dead language, it is the backbone to many languages we all know and love today. Latin is the “parent” to the five romantic languages:  Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese. Although most people would beg to differ, any English teacher will tell you that a knowledge of Latin will greatly enhance one’s spelling and vocabulary. 

As is evident, there are many languages other than English that would be useful to know. Take this as your sign to try and learn something new. There are many different tools to use to learn new languages such as duolingo, Mondly, or Babbel. So have some fun, and put your brain to work by trying out a new language.