Today, we speak a variety of languages around the world. But as technology and globalization brings us closer together, it is projected that about 30 years from now, the languages of the future will be dominated by the major languages of today.
If you’re looking to learn a new language that you want to use in the future, we’ve broken it all down for you here. This list is not absolute; instead, it is an analytical break analysis of the current situation and predictions of where the global economy is headed.
If you’re looking for a way to prepare yourself for the future, it is advisable to think about these languages and consider them because these will the dominant languages in trade and communication across borders.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world today with over 513 million speakers across 31 countries. What’s interesting is most of these speakers are located outside of Spain! Currently, it is predicted that by 2050, around 470 million people in the US will speak Spanish.
Spanish is also the official language of 20 different countries, including Mexico and Argentina, which are two of the major economies of the G20 — and it’s commonly spoken as a first, second, or third language in many more countries. The language of Cervantes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Pablo Neruda won’t just open up avenues for travel in South America and Europe. Spanish is predicted to be a future language of business and commerce, and one that will be a very lucrative language to learn in the coming years. If you’re looking for your first job or a career change, Spanish tops the list of job postings in anglophone countries and is regarded as the most significant asset in your CV. Also, varieties of Spanish are spoken across the world, opening up travel and relocation opportunities.
Furthermore, Furthermore, Spanish is a natural language for English speakers to learn because it belongs to the same Indo-European language family.
The Portuguese language is not often-emphasized, although it is an emerging ‘super language.’ Brazil, where Portuguese is mainly spoken, is growing rapidly in terms of economy and global presence. It is a member of the BRICS countries, an organization of emerging economies composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, that will spearhead the growth of business in the future. Currently, Portuguese is the seventh most spoken language in the world, with over 236 million speakers. However, Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, Brazil, Spain, France, and Luxembourg, several islands in the Caribbean, Africa, East Timor and Macau. The economic support of these different Portuguese-speaking regions is predicted to catapult the language to one of the future’s most profitable languages.
It is going to be challenging to ignore Arabic, which was once confined to the Emirates region. Today, Arabic is one of the world’s fastest-growing languages with speakers in over 58 different countries, making it the fourth most spoken language worldwide. With roughly 313 million Arabic speakers, the language is as vital to the global economy as the oil and natural gas that Arab-speaking countries mine. It’s a stamp of approval for the language to likely be one of the languages of the future to be used worldwide. The United Arab Emirates is a major exporter of dates. While they lack agricultural lands, the Emirates embark on re-exporting industries that supply many parts of the world with a variety of products from various producers.
French is spoken across 53 different counties, with a speaker base of nearly 295 million. France still maintains its economic growth as the 7th largest economy globally for 2018 and 2019, with a GDP of US$ 2.8 trillion. It is one of the world’s largest providers of various services, centered around the luxury goods, cosmetics, railway, aerospace, and automotive industries.
Like China, the population in India continues to boom. It is projected that India will soon be the world’s most populated country. Pakistan, where the majority of the people speak Urdu, is closely following this trend in terms of the size of their population. Hindi is spoken by nearly 534 million speakers, while Urdu, is spoken by close to 163 million speakers. This means that, when combined, these similar languages boast a total of 967 million speakers. India is well known for its various industries related to information technology, manufacturing and import/export, as well as being a primary member of BRICS. Considering that they have positioned themselves as a centre of business, trade, and commerce, we’ve decided to include it in our list of worthwhile languages.
Russia, like India, is also a member of BRICS. Regardless of the drama between the leader of Russia and most of the rest of the world, the Russian Federation remains the world’s largest country, extending across a significant part of Eastern Europe and the entire Northern Asia. Russia is so big that they cover 11 different time zones!
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Russia is one of the largest economies in the world with a focus on production and exportation. The country’s principal language, Russian, is the eighth most spoken language with 265 million speakers across 18 countries, including Israel and China. With such a large market and powerful neighbours, there is no confusion as to why Russian is expected to be one of the languages of the future.
German is a shoo-in on this list because the Germany economy is (arguably) the largest in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world. If your focus is on business, we would advise that learning German is vital. If you want to penetrate the European or German market or work for a European company, learning German and understanding the culture of the German market is a wise business and finance decision. Like Spanish, German belongs the Indo-European language family. Furthermore, because it belongs to the West Germanic branch of that family, it shares many words with the English language, making it a natural language for English-speakers to pick-up.
The Japanese economy has, historically, been an innovative and exciting one. Japan is well known for its contributions to the field of information technology and science, with a focus on artificial intelligence and robotics. With the future of work headed towards increased automation, it makes sense for internationally-minded businesses to look to Japan.
However, this is also a country where culture, history, and traditions are highly regarded or valued. Therefore, it is not enough to pick up a few phrases, but to understand the language and its people if you want to break into this market. Don’t assume that Asia is the only place where Japan as a hold. The 128 million Japanese speakers can be found in several countries, including Australia and Brazil.
China’s economy has been snowballing for years, and Chinese companies are present in several countries across the globe. Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, in terms of the number of speakers, which is partially attributed to the immense Chinese population. With 1.3 billion speakers across 38 countries, Mandarin is spoken by at least 70% of that population.
That said, Chinese is a difficult language to learn for English speakers, due to its rules and alphabet. However, China has, over the years, shifted its economy by increasing international trade and leveraging strategic global partnerships. There’s even a prediction that by 2050, China will be the leading economy in the world.
In short, forecasts predict that the US will be the largest Spanish-speaking country by 2050, making Spanish an essential language for doing business with the States. In Asia, China and India are poised to control 50% of the world’s economy. This means that our Singaporean youths, who will be at the height of their careers in 2050, will be operating on a global platform that will require them to function and negotiate with these specific markets. Are schools and businesses preparing themselves for these realities?
While we have given you a quick list of the top languages for the future, at the end of the day, it is up to you to consider which ones are going to be very beneficial to your career or future. Some experts believe that with constant and widespread use, languages of the future will be less complicated and perhaps more conversational.
That’s why at the Agape School of Education, we don’t just offer language courses, we offer a variety of customizable courses, including Business and Conversational workshops across 15 different languages.