Last time I left you guys with my top 4 most useful languages (If you missed it, check the previous post please). Here are the rest of my rankings:
Russian is still a very important language for trading, especially for the Mediterranean (e.g. Italy, Greece) and Post-Soviet countries (e.g. Ukraine, Baltic States and Central Asian Republics). Many European countries rely on Russian gas, which means Russian learners have good working opportunities in that sector. Furthermore, in spite of what many people think, Russia still a very large economical superpower. English language is not widespread in the Russian Federation, especially outside Moscow and St. Petersburg. When I used to live in Russia, I and other colleagues often needed an interpreter during some business meetings because our counterparts did not speak even a word of English! Finally, Russian is spoken by 167 million native speakers and it is one of the top ten first languages in the world.
Maybe some people disagree, thinking this language should have a higher rank. But, for example, people who live in Gulf Arab countries, especially youngsters, do have a fairly good level of English, leaving foreigners with less opportunity to learn the local language when they are there. Nonetheless, learning Arabic is an important tool to break the ice in commercial relationships. The Arab people (a very generic term to identify Arabic speakers, even though this language has many varieties from Morocco to Yemen) appreciate it when foreigners make some effort to speak their language. 237 million people speak Arabic in 60 countries. Nowadays, due to geopolitical events, having a better understanding of the Arab world is very important and the language is the first vehicle can bring you closer to this understanding. Moreover, we should not forget the importance of the oil industry in certain Arab countries. Being a translator in Arabic can be a smart move for your future career, especially in resources, journalism and tourism sectors.
German is spoken approximately by 78 million people and it is the most widespread native language in Europe. Aside from Austria and Switzerland, it is spoken in Luxembourg, Belgium, Lichtenstein, Southern Holland and Italian South Tirol. But why is the language spoken by Karl Marx only seventh in this ranking? Easy answer. The English language is very widespread in Germany, which means it is easier to have some contact with local people without knowing the language spoken by Goethe. In comparison, this does not often happen in France, Spain or Italy due to fewer people speaking English in those places. Furthermore, Germany is the European “locomotive”: most import-export trade in the EU involves a German partner in someway. Don’t forget too the Swiss economy, particularly financial services, where speaking German will also be beneficial.
The sixth more widespread language spoken around the world, with more than 202 million speakers in 12 countries including Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Guinea, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. Portuguese is becoming an increasingly important language thanks to the geopolitical importance of Brazil. Studying this niche language in Europe can be seen as an investment as the trade relationship between Brazil and the European Union continues to become closer and more lucrative.
Even if in last the 10 years China has economically overshadowed the land of the rising sun, Japan is still a G8 member thanks to its continuing economical power. Japanese is spoken by 122 million native speakers. For those who would like to work in the tourism sector, it is important to learn this language. Japanese people are avid tourists, who enjoy visiting European countries and the US as often as they can.
This is only a generic ranking based on my personal experience and the three criteria explained in the previous article. Of course, if you would like to work, for example, in Afghanistan, you should forget my tips and learn Pashto instead. Enjoy studying a language, whatever one it is!