The most powerful languages worth to be learnt

Image article - The most powerful languages worth to be learnt

The main problem with most of the articles available in internet showing ranking of the most spoken or powerful languages and especially the ones pretending to show the incoming trends is that the studies/criteria behind to support the statistics are often highly questionable or not clear. In this article, we firstly explain the criteria and source of data used for the analysis one by one and then we combine them in order to make a final list of languages worth to be learnt.

Source of information: 2018 Edition of Ethnologue, a language reference published by SIL International, which is based in the United States. Figures presented below are as of August 2018.

  1. Mandarin Chinese – approx. 909 million native speakers (+12M since 2016)
  2. Spanish – approx. 442 million native speakers (+15M since 2016)
  3. English – approx. 378 million native speakers (+39M since 2016)
  4. Arabic – approx. 315 million native speakers (+48M since 2016)
  5. Hindi – approx. 260 million native speakers (+0M since 2016)

Source of information: 2018 Edition of Ethnologue, a language reference published by SIL International, which is based in the United States. Figures presented below are as of August 2018.

  1. English – approx. 744 million L2 speakers (+141M since 2016)
  2. Hindi – approx. 274 million L2 speakers (+154M since 2016)
  3. French – approx. 208 million L2 speakers (+55M since 2016)
  4. Mandarin Chinese – approx. 198 million L2 speakers (+4M since 2016)
  5. Russian – approx. 110 million L2 speakers (+80M since 2016)

Generally, the total number of speakers is not fully reliable as it adds estimates from different dates and uncited sources. We took into account only the information and data from the 2018 Edition of Ethnologue. Figures presented below are as of August 2018.

  1. English – approx. 1.12 billion total speakers (+180M since 2016).
  2. Mandarin Chinese – approx. 1.10 billion total speakers (+16M since 2016).
  3. Hindi – approx. 534 million total speakers (+154M since 2016)
  4. Spanish – approx. 512 million total speakers (-6M since 2016)

Source of information: W3Techs (as of 25 August 2018) – Usage of content languages for websites

The figures from the W3Techs study are based on the one million most visited websites and language is identified using only the home page of the sites. As a consequence, the figures below show a significantly higher percentage for many languages (especially for English) as compared to the figures for all websites.

  1. English – 53%
  2. German – 6,2%
  3. Russian – 6,1%
  4. Spanish – 5,0%
  5. French – 4,2%
  6. Japanese – 3,7%
  7. Portuguese – 2,9%
  8. Italian – 2,5%
  9. Persian – 2,0%
  10. Chinese – 1,8%

Source of information: Wikipedia page “List of official languages by country and territory”.

  1. English – 59 countries in total (incl. 24 in Africa, 16 in Americas, 4 in Asia, 3 in Europe and 12 in Oceania)
  2. French – 29 countries in total (incl. 21 in Africa, 2 in Americas, 5 in Europe and 1 in Oceania)
  3. Arabic – 26 countries in total (incl. 13 in Africa and 13 in Asia)
  4. Spanish – 21 countries in total (incl. 1 in Africa, 19 in Americas and 1 in Europe)
  5. Portuguese – 9 countries in total (incl. 6 in Africa, 1 in Americas, 1 in Europe and 1 in Oceania)
  6. German – 6 countries in total (incl. 6 in Europe)
  7. Italian – 4 countries in total (incl. 4 in Europe)
  8. Russian – 4 countries in total (incl. 2 in Asia and 2 in Europe)
  9. Chinese – 3 countries in total (incl. 3 in Asia)

Conclusion: what are likely the most powerful languages?

We combined all the information described above related to all considered criteria for this analysis in order to draw conclusions and show our languages ranking.

1. English

Without any surprise, English appears as first in this ranking. As any other language, English is a living and dynamic system, and it transforms according to the way its speakers use it. The English language can be found worldwide: it is recognized and taught on every continent. It is the official language of all business transactions around the world, occupying the top pedestal in the field of languages comprehended and spoken by over 3 quarters of the world’s population.

GLC ranking final score: 5/5

2. French

French is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages and one of the few to be spoken on every continent. It is surprisingly one of the fastest growing languages in the world at the moment even with the prevalence of English, Chinese and Spanish which – all of those three – made the French language appearing on the decline by most people. The reality is different, and it turns out that French is projected to experience a significant surge in the incoming decades – mostly due to the fast population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa.

GLC ranking final score: 2.03/5

3. Spanish

The growth of Latin America which is home to the most Spanish speakers has become vital to the language’s spread. Nowadays, it is in the best interest of countries and companies looking to expand into these Latin fast-growing markets to ensure they have Spanish-speaking employees and representatives.

GLC ranking final score: 1.88/5

4. Chinese (Mandarin)

With the largest number of native speakers, Chinese language is still the boss in town. Mandarin is the one language that just does not miss any list of the most popular and useful languages for the future. Of course, the character-based writing system requires years of hard work for even native speakers to learn and poses a formidable obstacle to foreigners.

GLC ranking final score: 1.58/5

5. Portuguese

The Portuguese language is developing rapidly. It is becoming an extremely important language in South America mostly because of the growth and success of the large country of Brazil. The language is being taught (and is very common) within the rest of the South American countries. Under the economic influence of these regions, Portuguese is most likely to compete with English in the race to become the most profitable languages in the future.

GLC ranking final score: 1.52/5