Almost anyone can name at least one language they want to learn, no matter the reason. While Japanese is useful to understand manga and anime, knowing Korean will allow you to explore K-pop from a whole different perspective, and Spanish will come in handy if you ever plan to travel to the paradisiac beaches of Central America. However, most people also have an excuse not to start their language lessons: they require too much commitment, you don’t want to commute to class, you don’t have time to spare, etc.
Well, there has never been a better time to learn a language than right now! This quarantine has given most of us a lot of extra time to acquire an in-demand skill, socialise with others online or simply have fun. With online language lessons, you can do all of these and you don’t even have to leave your bed or sofa!
But which language is the right one for you? After all, it takes many hours of study to become proficient, so you will want to choose the right one. It all comes down to your own objectives. Let’s explore some of them!
Want to Communicate with a Billion People Worldwide? Learn Mandarin Chinese
Did you know that the most spoken native language in the world is Mandarin Chinese? Approximately 1 billion people speak the language and most of them are located in Mainland China; so, if you are planning to move there, do business with Chinese companies or entrepreneurs or want to enjoy their vast literature and media, learning Mandarin is essential. Plus, knowing the language will help you to understand China’s thousands of years of history and fascinating culture.
Need more motivation to learn Mandarin? Though the language might seem inaccessible at the beginning due to its complex characters and tonal pronunciation, there are other features that are fairly easy to acquire. Some of them include:
- There is no subject/verb agreement;
- No plurals or tenses exist;
- Conditional sentences are much simpler than in English.
Up for a Challenge? Learn Arabic
Arabic is spoken in more than 20 countries and is a language in high demand: Modern Standard Arabic is the primary language of business and commerce in many countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East. However, learning Arabic is not easy. Becoming fluent can be quite challenging because of:
- Its grammatical complexity. For example, verbs are inflected for case, number, tense and gender, something that doesn’t happen in English.
- Its alphabet and way of writing from right to left, a concept that can be hard to master for left-to-right language speakers. Furthermore, letters change their shape depending on their position within a word.
- Its complicated pronunciation. The consonants are particularly difficult, with a lot of palatal and velar sounds being very different from the English phonemes.
For all these reasons, Arabic is a challenging language to learn. You’ll spend more hours studying Arabic than you would if you were studying French as an English speaker, so it’s the perfect option for those looking for a challenge during this quarantine. Furthermore, by learning Arabic, you’ll not only add an in-demand skill to your CV, but you’ll also improve your concept formation and problem-solving skills, mental flexibility and capacity for multitasking.
Want to Do Business with Europe? German is Your Ally
Germany has the largest economy in Europe and almost 25% of the UK’s exported goods went to Germany in 2018. And yet, a recent study shows that 80% of export managers cannot speak German. It is estimated that a lack of language skills results in a loss of around £7.3 billion each year for the UK’s economy. Business owners know this, so start learning German to put your CV at the top of the pile when applying for a bilingual job!
Similarly, 4 out of 10 of the most innovative start-ups in the world are German, including Semalytics and Bigchain DB, so becoming fluent in German will be an asset if you want to work with one of such up-and-coming company.
Want to Explore the Internet and the World? Learn English
English is the most spoken language in the world, primarily because of the number of people who speak it as a second language. It is the lingua franca in most countries, meaning that people who speak different native languages typically resort to English to communicate with each other. This can be incredibly useful when travelling (and not only to English-speaking countries).
Learning English will also come in handy when using the Internet: 80% of the world’s electronically stored information is written in English and almost 60% of webpages are written in this language, too. Explore all the possibilities the Internet has to offer by becoming proficient in English today!
Start taking online language lessons and you’ll not only be able to see the world with new eyes and gain more cultural awareness, but you’ll also acquire a useful skill that will allow you to communicate with more people, take advantage of new job opportunities, and even make this quarantine a bit more fun.