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9 Most Popular Languages in the World For English Speakers

If you're thinking about learning a new language, why not start with the most popular languages in the world? It'll give you the best bang for your time.

While learning a language is a difficult skill to master, it is becoming ever more important for individuals to learn a language.

Knowing how to speak a second language is ever more important in a world that's becoming smaller with companies working together in a variety of languages. This is especially true if you learn a business language. In a multi-cultural world where people are emigrating and immigrating from all around the world, knowing how to speak a foreign language is becoming a necessity. 

9 Most Popular Languages in the World For English Speakers 

Here are the nine most popular languages in the world.

1. Mandarin

Mandarin is the official language of China with over 955 million people (14.4% of the world’s population) claiming this language as their mother tongue, making it the most widely spoken language in the world.

The demand for Mandarin speakers is set to increase in the upcoming years and today Mandarin is the second most popular languages in the world to learn. The British Council named Mandarin as one of the 10 most important languages to learn in 2017 for the future of the UK.

Although this language is difficult for English speakers to learn (the average number of hours to master the language is 2,200 hours) those who master it will be highly regarded in the business world. 

2. French

French has always been a popular language for English speakers. France has been an important trade partner with the UK and USA for years, providing value trade deals and connections between the countries.

The language is important for businesses and travelers all over the world. The British Council states that 49% percent of UK businesses are searching for employees who have a good concept of the French language. The good news is, it's a relatively easy language for English speakers to grasp, due to its Latin derivations.

Top class linguists suggest that French influenced up to a 3rd of the English vocabulary. Although it does differ from English with gendered nouns. 

3. Spanish

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, with over 405 million native speakers. It is largely spoken in Spain, Latin America, and the United States, and it's increasingly important for those in the US to learn.It is a fairly easy language for English speakers to learn, with the average person achieving language proficiency in 600 hours or 6 months. Spanish only has ten vowel sounds compared to the 20 in English. Best of all, there are less grammatical irregularities than other languages as most words are written as they sound. 

4. Portuguese

Brazil and some parts of Africa, along with 215 million other people, speak Portuguese. Brazil is a big country with lots of influence in Latin America making it a good language for English speakers to learn to conduct business and relationships in the continent.

Learning Portuguese can be useful for new opportunities, trade, education and other connections with the country. Portuguese is grammatically similar to Italian and contains fewer prepositions than English.

Pronunciation is relatively comfortable for English speakers to pick up, although the more nasal vowel sounds can be tricky at first. 

5. German

Over 110 million people speak German around the world. Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the second biggest export market in Europe, providing valuable business connections for other European countries. While German is a relatively easy language for English speakers to learn, it’s still a challenge. Experts suggest that English speakers can grasp the language in around 900 classroom hours. 

6. Italian

Italian is a fairly easy language for English speakers to grasp because of its readability. It’s written as it sounds, and it's a fun language for English speakers to learn.Italian’s grammatical structure is similar to French or Spanish, it does have fewer verbs than its Latin counterparts. 

7. Japanese

Over 125 million Japanese speakers live in Japan. The country also has the 3rd largest economy in the world. The British Council suggests that in the future Japan will increase its status as one of the world’s biggest influencers.

Japan is a wealth of opportunity for everyone around the world, with an increased number of business people around the world learning the language to get ahead in the business world.However, Japanese is a difficult language to learn. Many people suggest it takes an average of 2,200 classroom hours to grasp the language. 

8. Arabic

Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world. As the official language of Middle Eastern and African economies, it's a critical business language to learn for new opportunities.

According to British Council, it's most popular languages to learn in 2017, because of the job opportunities. You can learn the language (official stats) in 88 weeks spent in the classroom. 

9. Russian

This may seem a strange language to be on this list. But it's a popular language in central and eastern Europe, with over 200 million people speaking the language.

Russian is the second most popular language of scientific and technical literature, second to only English. While there are new grammar structure and different alphabet you have to learn, it does have fewer tenses than English. Hope you enjoyed this rundown on the most popular languages in the world. Continue learning with this video we curated for you below.

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