10 languages to learn for business
Languages – we learn them for a variety of reasons. Most readers of this site learn languages to enable them to integrate into their host country. Some need to have specific languages for them to work and live abroad, others because they don’t want to be a standard monolingual Brit anymore.
Being more pragmatic, you may be thinking ahead to the future of your expat child. With that in mind, these are apparently the ten most important and useful languages to study for business.
The Middle East is quickly becoming a business and tourism hub as Arab countries look to branch out from oil and into more stable opportunities. As a result, it’s ranked as the 5th most powerful language in 2019 and will only get more important as your child grows up
Although slightly looked down upon in some quarters, French is still an essential language for an expat child. Why? It’s because of the prominence of Africa. Like Arabia, it’s growing in importance in the business world and 11 African countries speak French as a first language. Plus, it’s pivotal to Canada and France, the 7th richest economy by GDP.
Germany has the biggest economy in Europe and has more power in the EU thanks to Brexit. German is only spoken in six countries, yet one-hundred million people class it as their native language. When you combine frequency and geo-politics, German is a clear winner for any expat child.
India has long been an emerging economic powerhouse. Now, it’s no longer emerging. It has a bigger economy than France, Brazil and Italy, and it has 310 million native speakers. As Bollywood and investment in India by Hollywood gets bigger, the language is only set to become more powerful than ever.
#5: Mandarin Chinese
It’s no secret that learning Mandarin is one of the smartest business moves for expats and children. Currently the 2nd biggest economy by GDP, China is the number one trading nation in the world. At this rate, it’s set to become the world’s richest economy as soon as 2029, so you might want to book language classes now.
In 2012, Portuguese was classed as the tenth most important business language. Now it’s at number six and rising, and it’s mainly due to Brazil. With the largest economy in South America, it’s the next place for worldwide investment and your child doesn’t want to miss out considering there are around 260 million Portuguese speakers in total.
Surprisingly low down the list, Spanish has been at the forefront of ‘need to learn’ languages for a while. Although overtaken by quite a few, it still has hundreds of millions of speakers worldwide. Most are in Central America, which is a massively underrepresented market, but there are 35 million Spanish speakers in the US too, making it doubly important.
Japanese is essential due to the country’s role in technology. Japan, along with South Korea, is at the forefront of advancements, most of which our society now relies on. For example, Wi-Fi and mobile phones.
Thanks to Samsung and Hyundai, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club back in 2004 after being one of the poorest countries in the 1960s. Growth such as that can’t be discounted.
Russia is a major player in both the oil and energy markets. As oil stocks deplete in the future, the demand will skyrocket. And, as a result of low oil stocks, the energy markets will do the same, making Russian a door-opener.