5 New Languages to Learn, Now!
Did you know that 26% of Americans can fluently speak a second language? The demand for bilingual applicants in jobs has also risen in recent years, and 13% of companies say that they would hire an applicant with bi-lingual abilities over candidates that only speak one language.
People decide to learn for a wealth of reasons. The top three being work, travel, or for a new understanding of culture.
Living in the U.S., we’re exposed to a myriad of different cultures and languages on a daily basis, and knowing which ones are the most popular/most used can be extremely hard to differentiate. If you’re thinking about learning a new language, these 5 are a good place to start.
Considered a “romantic” language because of its roots in Latin, Spanish is one of the few languages that can actually help us fluent English speakers understand our own better. In fact, it’s one of the few that shares a similar grammatical structure as English, which makes learning to be fluent an easier transition. There are roughly 38 million people that speak Spanish, and according to the National Census, it’s one of the most rapidly growing languages in America. With nearly 22 countries considering Spanish it’s primary, and considered by many to be US’s unofficial second language, it is useful to learn and know in the US.
2.) Chinese. (this includes Cantonese and Mandarin)
While the number of fluent speakers is significantly less than Spanish– roughly 3 million people in the US, Chinese is a significant language for Westerners. The great thing is, it’s not as difficult to learn as some people have made out. Yes, the grammatical structure is in another world than English, but it doesn’t have difficult constructs like genders and cases.
Another great benefit of Chinese is its global rarity. With China’s booming global economy, fluent speakers offer a benefit that’s in demand right now, making you an attractive hire if you want to learn a language for a leg up in business.
Like Spanish, French is considered a romance language and follows a grammatical structure similar to English. It’s recognized as one of the top 5 languages in the world, with 220 million people speaking it internationally! (Almost 3 million in the US) And, French isn’t just recognized as a national language in France: Canada, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium and over 20 others also list French as one of their official languages, too. If that wasn’t enough of a reason, French is also recognized by NATO, The Olympic Committee, The U.N and the Red Cross as official languages.
4.) American Sign Language.
For obvious reasons, this is not a “foreign” language, but with over 36 million Americans who are either deaf or hard of hearing, ASL is not a waste of time, it’s the 4th most recognized language in the country! It’s also one of the only languages growing in use every year. And, according to some laws, companies are required to have someone on staff that can communicate with ASL. Other added benefits of this language? Children who are young enough can communicate easier with hand motions rather than verbal cues. Lots of Speech Therapists and PEP programs across the US teach children with sign language to communicate. It’s universal!
Probably one of the closest languages resembling English, German has many words that sound similar: Apple = Apfel for instance. More people speak German as their native language than any other language in Europe, and, their alphabet is identical to English with minor letter exceptions. German is also considered the “language of inventors and innovators” or “Das Land der Dichter und, Denker”. Germany itself is the biggest economy within the EU and home to many international corporations on the front line of new tech, making it an attractive place for new business ventures.
Have you been thinking about learning a new language? Tell us in the comments below, and say “Hello” in the language you’re learning!