The Top 10 Foreign Languages To Learn in 2023 (Updated)
With the growing economy, it has become essential for every individual to be well-equipped. In today’s world where the competition has become high due to globalization, it has become essential to learn foreign languages to communicate with the world and be on par with our competitors. It has become the very last season for an individual to rely on one’s native language in communicating with people, especially in business dealings. Since the world has become a global village the language barrier has to be broken and for that one has to learn foreign languages.
For communicating, languages are the central theme in every aspect of human endeavor–be it in the social, economic, and political sphere.
To increase an individual’s career opportunities and job prospects, they have to communicate smoothly to pave the way for free business connection flows. It has always been said that bilinguals are smarter than we think. Now even scientists believe in the theory that being bilingual or speaking more than one language has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. Scientists have proven that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people.
Any bilingual individual is smarter than one who is not. Being bilingual can have a profound effect on an individual’s brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age. Bilinguals are more adept at solving certain kinds of mental puzzles than monolinguals. The collective evidence from several studies conducted by many researchers suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that an individual uses for planning, solving problems, and performing various other mentally demanding tasks.
A study conducted by Mr. Costa and his colleagues found that the bilingual subjects not only performed better, but they also did so with less activity in parts of the brain that was involved in monitoring, indicating that they were more efficient at it. In this study, they had compared German-Italian bilinguals with Italian monolinguals on monitoring tasks.
One major advantage of learning a foreign language for an individual is that they get better at prioritizing tasks, problem-solving, multitasking, and making more rational decisions. Dr. Viorica Marian once said,
“Using another language provides the built-in brain exercise. One doesn’t have to go out to do a puzzle because the brain is already constantly juggling two languages.”
In today’s world when the economy is booming and globalization has increased it has become vital to have a unique C.V with various skills that are different from others. So, it becomes important to add skills such as learning a new or foreign language which not only makes an individual smart but also stands him out from the crowd. When an individual learns a foreign language, the chances of him or her being hired becomes more significant for them than for those who don’t speak any.
To learn and master a new or foreign language is not an easy task. But, when a new or foreign language is learned by any individual and he or she becomes proficient in it then it showcases them as a global employee and helps them find foreign language jobs in BPO, KPO, and MNCs.
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Learning a new language takes a lot of time, effort, persistence, patience, and discipline as it is a complex system. Many individuals give up after the beginner’s level or halfway. This is the reason that the employees who are proficient in a foreign language are rarely replaced. But this is not the only reason why an individual should learn a foreign language rather an individual who is planning to move to some other country or someone who wants to travel abroad and explore new things should also learn foreign languages as learning them opens up doors to new worlds.
In India the love for learning foreign languages is not just for fun rather people are learning foreign languages as there has been a steady increase in business interrelationship, accelerating globally at an unprecedented rate. Companies like Amazon, Infosys, Samsung, TCS, HCL, Accenture, LG, L&T, IBM, Geometric Ltd, etc. are now hiring employees based on their foreign language proficiency. Employees who are sound in foreign languages get on-the-spot incentives and also more job openings across various industries.
It also increases the level of the salary compared to other regular graduates who do not know any foreign language. It not just increases the salary level but also increases the ease of doing business with counterparts, and other stakeholders based outside the country. To earn extra cash from their peers, an individual should learn a foreign language. This is going to be of great advantage as due to globalization, knowing just the mother tongue is no longer enough, and knowing a foreign language opens up a lot of doors.
Foreign languages such as Mandarin, German, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, or French can make an individual earn more than an MBA or an engineer. In today’s world, the demand for foreign language experts, translators, trainers, etc. is very high for any business. For a better career, an individual should learn a foreign language.
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Apart from these there are many other reasons why people learn foreign languages and they are as follows:
- Individuals who migrate to other countries tend to learn foreign languages to survive in that country as knowing the local language is important to communicate with the people of that country.
- Individuals also learn foreign languages for personal reasons such as hobbies, travelling, peer group influence, or accessing music, movie, and literature in different languages.
- Individuals learn a foreign language and the particular reason for this circumstance is that it offers them a better career opportunity to gain employment.
- Learning a foreign language opens a more large-scale door for individuals for a career in vital sectors along the lines of tourism, diplomatic services, embassies, journalism, mass communication, entertainment, interpretation and translation, public relations, arts, publishing, and federal and international organizations.
- Individuals get an opportunity to work with multinational corporations (MNCs) and specialized governmental agencies.
- Since India is the third fastest-growing economy in the world the Indian businesses are now seeking new business opportunities in Manufacturing, IT, KPO, BPO, Pharmaceuticals, Hospitality, Healthcare, Education, Media, BFSI, and more, and these firms need to improve their business, and for that, they have to hire personnel with knowledge of the foreign language.
- Individuals with the knowledge of a foreign language can work as a translator or interpreter for a company, as an editor, proofreader, content writer, teacher, lecturer, and corporate language trainer. Besides, they can also work as an independent freelancer as a language expert.
- Individuals who know foreign languages can work for immigration and customs services. Due to foreign language skills candidates can get language jobs in the embassy or government agencies such as the immigration and customs departments.
- These days, there is a high career demand for experts in foreign languages in Information Technology Enabled Services, offshoring industry, and outsourcing jobs in BPO, KPO, and MNCs. Multilingual call centre services are offered to multiple offshore companies in the financial, telecom, medical, insurance, and banking sectors and individuals who are aware of foreign languages get recruited in these sectors easily. For individuals who are experts in a foreign language, their salary is generally 25% to 40% higher than their English-speaking counterparts.
- People who know foreign languages can easily get a job in the field of hospitality, travel, and tourism. These days many people visit India as tourists from year to year and the majority of these tourists do not speak English nor do they understand the local Indian languages. This is one of the major reasons that an individual who is aware of foreign languages gets hired in these sectors. 3, 4, and 5-star hotels, attraction centers, shopping malls, suites, etc. need workers that can communicate fluently with the thousands of visitors that come from different parts of the world that patronize their businesses from time to time.
- Due to the digitization of the global economy, the world has become smaller which has increased the opportunities in businesses involving various forms of importation and exportation. In this type of business an individual who knows a foreign language can benefit a lot. Employers who have export-import businesses hire such employees who are experts in foreign languages this increases their business and in turn, increases the profit.
The above points make it very clear that the career scope of foreign languages is on the rise and it will keep on rising as the world has globalized. As people are coming closer and the world is becoming a global village people cannot rely solely on their local languages for communication. They need to learn foreign languages to stay relevant and competitive in this global market. From employers to employees everybody needs to learn foreign languages to increase their business and wages respectively.
Now that we know the benefits of learning foreign languages in India let’s understand which one has more demand, offers a better salary, career prospects, and job opportunities.
Anyone who cannot understand which language is best for them and would help make their careers better this article will guide them.
As we all now know that learning a foreign language has numerous benefits. It is not just interesting rather it is beneficial for all age groups. Everybody has a different reason to learn foreign languages. As we know in the era of increasing globalization learning foreign languages can benefit an individual’s career prospects, school and college education, emigration, studying abroad, travel, and pursuing their hobbies and interests.
Also learning anything anytime helps in some way or the other so it is always a good idea to learn new things, new skills and we never know when and how that learned thing or skill is going to help us and in which way.
It is never an easy task to choose which language to learn as it is a very subjective thing and often very difficult to understand. For different people, it is going to be different according to their needs, preferences, and career choice. It also takes a lot of time, effort, and persistence to learn a new language. It is always advised to the individuals who are interested in learning a new language or foreign language to study a language that has more career scope, demand, and better return.
Let us find out which are the most widely spoken foreign languages in India
- Apart from Hindi and English the top four foreign languages with the most speakers in India are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and French.
- Since Germany and Japan’s economy has highly developed and is giving a lot of career opportunities to Indians the demand for German and Japanese languages is also high in India.
- From the past few years, the demand for foreign languages such as Portuguese, Italian, Korean, and Russian has also increased in India as the trade and tourism has increased with these countries as well.
Top Foreign Languages to learn in India
1. Arabic or Al- ‘Arabiyyah or عربى
Arabic is the 5th highest speaking language in the world with more than 300 million Arabic speakers across the world. Arabic is amongst the six official languages of the United Nations (UN). Most Arabic speakers reside in the Middle East, North Africa, and 26 other nations of the world. Hence it is a global language with a vast population who speaks and understands this language and uses it regularly.
Since the Arabic language ranks second amongst the highest paying translation languages, the Arabic translators earn approximately £34,122 annually. We all know that Arab countries are extremely rich in natural resources and Arabic being the language of the biggest oil-rich country in the world one can make a lot of money by learning this language. Also, if an individual is proficient in Arabic, it opens a lot of opportunities in business, government, non-profit, education, and other organizations.
2. French or Français
In India one of the most popular languages to learn is French. This is the reason that most of the schools have started including French in their curriculum for the students to learn. It is a language of romance that is spoken by 80 million native and over 153 million non-native speakers. Many people outside France speak this language. French is the second most widely spoken language in Europe.
It is also the second most widely learned foreign language in the world. In India, more than 1 lakh students learn French every year. It is one of the best foreign languages to learn for a good corporate career and job. In industries like fashion, education, banking and finance, export and import, travelling, retail, education, automotive, luxury goods, aeronautics, and other Multi-National Companies French is used as their working language.
Learning French has immense career benefits as French is spoken across five different continents with over 30 French-speaking countries. According to Forbes, there will be 750 million French speakers in the world by the year 2050. It is one of the highest paying foreign languages in the world.
3. Mandarin Chinese or 普通话 or Pǔtōnghuà
In the 21st century, we can see that China has become a huge market with more than a billion people speaking Mandarin Chinese in the world. International businesses and companies are looking for people who can talk in Mandarin Chinese and operate successfully in China’s cultural context.
Very few people speak Mandarin Chinese in India, knowing and being proficient in the Mandarin Chinese language will give an edge to all the Mandarin Chinese speakers while competing effectively in the global economy for a vital position in any firm in the future. Learning this language will prove to be beneficial in the future. It will help in earning more than the peers who do not know this language. It will make an individual stand apart from the crowd. Few people are aware of this and grabbing this opportunity of learning this language will give good returns in the future.
4. Spanish or Español
It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world with 20 Spanish-speaking countries. Due to the popularity of Spanish culture, arts, and music, it is one of the most popular and favorite languages to be learned. It is mostly spoken in Spain, South and Central America. It is quite famous in America and Europe. Around 470 million native speakers and around 100 million non-native speakers speak this language.
It is the official language of Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Uruguay, and Equatorial Guinea. It is unofficially spoken in Andorra, Belize, Gibraltar, and the United States. It is one of the most demanded foreign languages to learn.
It is very popular even in the corporate world. So, people learn it for improving their business relations and profit. In industries such as Travel and Tourism, journalism, foreign service, international business, jobs in BPO, translation, interpretation, language teaching, etc. individuals who are proficient in the Spanish language are considered a valuable asset. Learning any language can be difficult but language experts say that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn for English learners. Since India has a huge population of English speakers it makes Spanish learning easier for Indians. It is one of the highest paying foreign languages in the world. In the incorporated world, it is one of the best foreign languages to learn for jobs.
5. Russian or русский or Rússkiy
Russian is a very popular language in India for a very long time. More than 300 million people speak this language in the world. Russian is the largest native language in the world. India and Russia have always shared an affable relationship due to which there are immense job opportunities for people in Engineering, Science & Technology, Oil & Gas, and Defence sectors.
Many years ago, the Russian language was prevalent in and was taught in several cities and a lot of universities. The Russian government has again started giving attention to the teaching of the Russian language to the Indians. Due to the growth of industries and the opening up of the private sector, the need for translators and interpreters who are proficient in the Russian language has become evident in most Indian cities. It is a great idea to start learning the Russian language for a good return in the future.
6. Japanese or 日本語or Nihongo
Due to the growing relationship between India and Japan, the demand for the Japanese language has increased as Japanese companies are expanding and growing in India. Japanese are known for value and quality products and with an expansion in their industries in India Japanese has become the most popular language in India.
It is also known that Japanese is one of the most difficult languages to learn this is the reason that it has fewer competitors and more job positions for Japanese-speaking applicants. Japanese is the highest paying language job in not just India but also abroad. So, if one wants to earn a good amount of money one should consider learning the Japanese language. If one completes a high proficiency like JLPT N2 the career Scope is astonishing.
7. Italian or Italiano
Italy is one of the wealthiest countries in the world with the 8th largest economy. Many International Italian companies such as Banco, Fiat, Benetton, Gucci, Lloyd, Ferrari, Marconi, Pinnacle, etc. have set up their businesses in India and are looking for speakers who can speak Italian. According to Ethnologue, Italian ranks 21st on the list of the world’s most widely spoken languages and it is the most studied language in the world.
There are 67 million native Italian speakers and 13.4 million non-native speakers all over the world. It is the official language of countries such as Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Croatia, Slovenia, and Switzerland and the unofficial language of countries like Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, and Eritrea. Since the scope of Italian in India is increasing at a steady pace, there are many Italian language specialist jobs in India. If someone wants to make a career in this language, then they should go ahead as the future of the Italian language looks bright in India.
8. Portuguese or Português
Due to the growing relationship between India and Brazil and the rising strength of Brazil’s economy, the demand for Portuguese is increasing at a fast pace. It comes on the 6th rank in the list of most spoken languages in the world. The growing relations between India and Portuguese-speaking countries will boost the Scope for Portuguese-speaking people in India. In various industries such as Finance, Exports, Accounts, Technology, Technical Support, IT/ITES, Tourism, Education, etc. there is a huge demand and scope for Portuguese Language Experts in India. In the future, this is going to be a good career choice for a lot of people.
9. German or Deutsch
In Europe, Germany has the highest GDP and is an economic powerhouse. In India German is the second most popular foreign language after French. Those who are an expert in this language have job opportunities in many big German companies such as Volkswagen, BASF, Daimler, BMW, Bosch, Siemens, etc.
In the field of Science, Engineering, Automobile, etc. German is the top priority. In India, more than 500 schools and colleges teach German as it helps the students in taking admissions in universities of Germany or Austria for higher studies. Learning German can be of great benefit for all individuals.
10. Korean or 한국어orHangugeo
South Korea is the 7th largest export economy in the world with a strong growing economy and Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea. Due to the high demand for Korean specialists and experts in many International Korean companies like Samsung, LG, Kia, Hyundai, Posco, Lotte, etc. the interest in Korean courses is increasing in India.
There is an increase in job possibilities in Korean companies and companies that deal with businesses in South Korea as there is a growing demand for K-drama, K-pop, and K-movies. There is an excellent pay package by these businesses and comparatively lesser competition due to which learning the Korean language is a great move for any individual.
There are many other languages apart from the above mentioned that can be learned such as Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian, etc. If anyone is interested in learning any foreign language it is going to be of some use for sure in the future. Also learning anything new is never a bad idea. So, wait no longer and enrol yourself in the best foreign language course according to your choice and start learning.