If you’re thinking about getting to grips with a new language and are wondering what the most useful language to learn is, then we’ve got the answers for you below!
An excellent place to start, when making a decision, is to think about the reasons for your study: are you planning on traveling or working abroad, or are you pondering what the best languages to know in terms of employment opportunities are? Let’s dig deeper and discover the most practical language choice and why it’s the best.
What’s the Most Useful Language to Learn?
Okay, let’s cut straight to the chase. If you choose to learn Spanish or learn French, then you’ll be picking languages that are both likely to be extremely useful. This is the case in terms of traveling, working abroad, and employment opportunities at home.
Having either of these as an additional language will supercharge your resume and open up roles that require bilingual abilities.
But let’s narrow it down further and identify the single most useful foreign language to learn. Ladies gentlemen, we are pleased to announce it’s….Spanish! Here are the seven reasons why:
1. Ease of Learning
Spanish is widely considered to be the easiest language to learn. This is primarily due to its being a highly phonetic language: it is written just like it sounds. This makes picking up the pronunciation relatively simple, too, especially given its consistent nature. If you know how a word sounds, you’ll be able to figure out how it’s spelled.
And if you’re wondering, ‘how long does it take to learn Spanish?’ then, quite possibly, much less time than you might think. With consistent time spent studying and practicing plenty of immersive learning practices, such as listening to Spanish music and subtitled television programs, you may find yourself speaking the language in as little as six months.
2. Spanish is Widely Spoken
How many countries speak Spanish? Spanish is the official language of twenty countries and is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with 471 million native speakers. It’s considered a world language, and in the USA, it’s the most commonly spoken second language. Simply in terms of the likelihood of encountering it, both in travel and at work, this makes Spanish one of the most important languages to learn.
Whether you’re traveling in Spain or South America, knowing the language, however proficient you are, means that tasks such as ordering from a menu when eating out or identifying the right train you need to take become much more straightforward.
3. Employment Opportunities
Spanish is one of the most valuable languages to learn for jobs, largely due to the number of countries it is spoken in and the fact that, in the USA, it is the most common second language.
With more and more Spanish and South American-based companies doing business with the USA or basing themselves in the country, having this language on your resume will doubtless be regarded as a bonus, if not a necessity, in a growing number of roles. It is estimated that the Hispanic population will have grown by 24% in the USA within the next thirty years or so.
If you become fluent in Spanish, you could consider roles like translator or interpreter, both of which are well-paying jobs that are universally in demand. Teaching, too, is an option, as is working within the foreign service department.
Bilingual teachers, nurses, doctors, and police officers are also sought after, and workers in the tourism industry who can speak Spanish are highly prized, especially as tourism in Latin American countries is growing fast. Having an employee who can speak Spanish, rather than being required to pay for the cost of an interpreter, is a massive bonus to most businesses.
4. Appreciation of Hispanic Culture
Spanish cinematography is regarded as one of the best globally; the richness of Hispanic culture and tradition is another answer to the question, ‘why is Spanish important?’ Reading one of the great Spanish works of literature or listening to Spanish music and enjoying it to its full potential is a great reason to learn the language.
If you live somewhere where Spanish is regularly spoken, either as a first or second language, simply being able to understand what’s being said around you - even if it’s only fragments - is a beautiful way to feel more at one with your city.
Spanish is also considered one of the most beautiful languages, with its culture reflected in its words, phrases, and how they are spoken. The intonation of Spanish makes for a language that sounds harmonious and melodic, almost as if it’s being sung. It has a pleasing lilt in the way that vowels and consonants flow smoothly together. The language is perfect for storytelling in its richly evocative phrasing and descriptive vocabulary.
5. Make New Friends!
Given that Spanish is the primary language of twenty countries if you’re planning on traveling to one of these locations, learning Spanish is a fabulous way to make new friends and connections while on your journey! Being able to converse in the native language of a country not only makes traveling easier - you’ll be able to decipher maps, read timetables, and deal with booking accommodation easily- but offers you plenty of opportunities to really get to know the country you’re visiting.
Making friends who speak the language is the perfect way to practice your new skill, too: conversing with people over drinks or while riding on a bus together is the best way to get fluent, fast - plus, you’ll have the chance to pick up some fun vernacular and slang phrases, too!
Being able to chat with locals means that you’re more likely to find the little ‘off the beaten path’ gems that will make your traveling experience truly unforgettable. Who knows, speaking Spanish might just mean you find a new bestie - or even romance! And I can’t think of a better reason for doing anything than that.
6. A Great Springboard Language
Why is it important to learn Spanish? Because becoming proficient in this language means that you’re likely to pick up another with ease! Spanish is one of the Romance languages that can all trace their ancestry back to the Roman soldiers who brought a ‘vulgar’ form of Latin into the countries they invaded.
This tongue then developed, over time, into distinctive regional languages. The main Romance languages are Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.
If you learn one of the Romance languages then you’ll probably pick up another one with relative ease, due to the heritage they share with each other. This collective history means that there are many similarities between the languages; you’ll find a level of familiarity in the overall structure, grammatical rules, and even vocabulary.
So if you’re thinking of learning multiple languages, then the best way to learn French could be to learn Spanish first!
7. Boost Your Brain Power
Learning a new language is a powerful way to boost your cognitive skills. The brain is a muscle, and, like any muscle, working it will make it stronger. Language learning requires concentration and problem-solving and memory skills, and you will find that all of these functions improve with regular study.
Learning a second language has been shown actually to increase neural pathways in the brain, and research has demonstrated that even decision-making skills are improved for those studying. The requirement to switch from one language to another is excellent for promoting the ability to effectively multi-task and improving the brain’s capacity for creative, ‘out of the box’ thinking in general.
A recent study has shown that learning a new language can provide significant protection against the development of Alzheimer’s, with the findings concluding that bilingual brains are much less prone to suffering the disease and, in cases where it does strike, its progress is significantly slower than that experienced by monolinguals. This is thought to be the result of how the brain develops to switch between languages.
Language Learning For Life
We’ve given our best shot at answering the question ‘what language should I learn?’ and the reasons why. Taking into consideration employment opportunities, enriching your travel experiences, and the positive impact it can have on your day-to-day life, then Spanish is, without a doubt, one of the most valuable languages to learn.
Study traditionally, on campus, or remotely around your work and other commitments. Practice immersive techniques to supercharge your learning and get you speaking Spanish fast: change the settings on your phone, for example, to Spanish, and get hold of some Spanish magazines to flip through.
Watching subtitled Spanish TV programs and movies is another fantastic way to help you learn the language while being thoroughly entertained.
Learning Spanish can mean saying hola! to a wide and rich world of opportunities and fun!