How to choose a language to learn

How to choose a language to learn

How many times have you promised yourself to acquire a new language (a basic level at least)? Soon we’re going to make new year resolutions. Why not think about language learning as one of them and achieve it?

If you already know what language to study, give it a go. In the following articles I’m going to share some useful tips with you. But if you doubt which language to start, try and find the answer in this article.

We’re going to discuss 4 points: popularity, difficulty, resources and goals.

Popularity

I know lots of people who follow this idea while choosing a language to learn. Well, as for me it’s not a crucial point. Nevertheless, if you plan to improve your career, not only in your country but also abroad, you need to know the most popular languages (of course, it depends on your job and your company collaborations with other countries).

English doesn't still go ahead of all. It’s the most popular speaking language in the world along with Chinese and Spanish now. But I should say a couple of words about English. No only it became the best communicative tool, but it’s also been used in all life areas. Go to any country, and English will open any door for you.

Here’s one of the top languages lists with a number of people speaking it (2014). "One of" because I have found several resources where the information differs a bit.

1. Chinese (Mandarin) - 1,000,000,000
2. English - 500,000,000
3. Hindi - 497,000,000
4. Spanish - 392,000,000
5. Russian - 277,000,000
6. Arabic - 246,000,000
7. Bengali - 211,000,000
8. Portuguese - 190,000,000
9. Malay - 159,000,000
10. French - 129,000,000.

If you start learning your first foreign language, choose English or Spanish and then one more from this list.

Difficulty

Of course, you’ll come across some difficulties while learning a language: English grammar, French pronunciation or reading rules, Arabic written language…Phew! It takes a lot of time and patience sometimes. But there’re always some hints to make it easier.

1) The closer a new language is to your native one, the easier it will be to learn it. For example, if French is your native language, try Italian. If your native one is Spanish, study Portuguese. If it’s Dutch - try Swedish or Danish. In any case, test it and see how it works!

2) Good news! If you already speak any foreign language, the next one will be easier for sure!

Resources

Decide whether you have enough resources to learn a language by yourself or with someone’s help. And prepare. If you need help (which is recommended at the beginning), make sure that you have language courses in your area. If it’s a rare language, a good idea is to try Skype. Use Italki or HelloTalk to find a native speaker. Skype lessons can be much better than traditional classes. When you get a good basic level, you may continue studying by yourself. But be attentive in choosing appropriate study materials and regular in your studies.

Goals

This one is the main point. While choosing a language, think over what you strive for. Career? Travel? Culture? Immigration? Anything else?

And don’t close the page now! What about your homework?))

  1. choose a language to learn next and decide what for
  2. think over how, where and when to study
  3. share your ideas and plans in the comments below
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