Top languages to learn in 2018!

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According to a poll carried out by the British Council in December 2017, one in five Britons (21%) intend to learn a foreign language in 2018 with Spanish the most popular. 64% say they have always wanted to learn how to speak another language. Over half say they regret not making the effort to learn another language. 58% say that they think it is more important than ever now to learn another language. So if you are thinking about learning a language this year here are the British Council’s recommendations of the top languages to learn:

1. Spanish

Number of speakers: 400 million native speakers
Difficulty level: Easy

The British Council states that “34% of businesses said that Spanish is useful to their organization” therefore if you want to give yourself the best possible chance in the workplace, having knowledge of Spanish on your CV could put you way ahead of competition when applying for jobs. Not only is it a useful language to know for holidays in Spain or working or retiring there but Spanish is also spoken in South American countries like Argentina, Chile and Colombia which are high growth markets as well as other developing countries in Central America.
Spanish is known to be one of the easiest foreign languages to learn requiring the least number of hours of study to achieve a proficient level.
It is also the 3rd most common language used on the internet.

2. Mandarin

Number of speakers: 955 million speakers
Difficulty level: High

Mandarin, the official language of China is the native language of 14.4% of the world’s population.
The Chinese economy is expected to overtake the United States’ by 2028. Mandarin is the second most popular language online and by the end of 2018 China is supposed to be the largest digital economy in the world. It is clear then that the demand for Chinese speakers is set to rise over the coming years.
However, it is known to be one of the more difficult languages to achieve a proficient level in. The British Council has said that it is definitely one of the most important languages for the UK to learn this year.

3. Arabic

Number of speakers: 420 million
Difficulty level: High

Arabic is the 5th most common language spoken worldwide and is the official language of many of the Middle Eastern and African growing economies. It is also the 4th most common language used on the internet.
According to “Because of the fast-growing market of eager consumers in the Middle East, businesses should consider making their products easily available to Arabic speakers, and enterprising business people should consider taking a few lessons.”
As well as being an important language for economic reasons, due to the political instability amongst countries where Arabic is spoken this increases the demand for Arabic skills in intelligence and diplomacy. It is for these reasons that the British Council has identified Arabic as an important language for the UK to learn due to economic and diplomatic reasons.

4. German

Number of speakers: 89-110 million speakers
Difficulty level: Fairly easy

Germany is the largest economy in the European Union. According to the British Council: “Germany is the UK’s most important trading partner, its second biggest export market in goods (worth £32 billion in 2012) and also its greatest source of imports. To these impressive export figures can be added those of Luxembourg and Switzerland (also in the UK’s top ten export markets) and Austria which boosts the UK’s exports by £1.5 billion.”
Germany is going to be an important language to learn post-Brexit. In fact 45% of UK businesses surveyed by the British Council see German as important for their business.
Another advantage is that German is fairly easy language to learn as it is similar to English in some ways.

5. Portuguese

Number of speakers: 215 million people
Difficulty level: Easy

Portuguese is within the top 10 languages for the UK to learn this year. It is the official language of Brazil which is the largest economy in South America and most Brazilian people do not speak English so if you want to do business there, it would be very wise to learn some Portuguese.
It is not such a difficult language to learn as it is similar to Spanish.

6. Russian

Number of speakers: 155 million
Difficulty level: Medium


Russia is expected to overtake Germany’s economy by 2030. states, “Russia is full of very wealthy people hungry for new arenas in which to do business. There are some great opportunities available for companies looking to expand to this affluent part of the world, but many Russian business people do not speak good English. Because they don’t know much English, most may only do business with others who are Russian-speaking.”
The Russian economy started growing again in 2017 despite it declining in previous years. The greatest opportunities for British companies are in trade, diplomacy and education. Due to a difficult business climate in Russia the British Council says that learning Russian would be a huge advantage if you want to do business successfully.

7. French

Number of speakers: 74 million
Difficulty level: Easy

According to the British Council 49% of British businesses are looking for employees who speak French.
Post-Brexit we would suppose that the European Union will be using French much more. There is no doubt that France will still be a major trading partner of the UK even after we have left the European Union so it is a wise choice of language for the UK to learn.
According to Forbes, there will be 750 million French speakers by 2050, possibly more than Mandarin and English.
The good thing is that it is a similar language to Spanish and is one of the easier languages for English speakers to pick up.

We teach all of the above languages both face-to-face and online. If you would like to find out more about learning a language or booking a tutor, contact us today.

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