"Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own." ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
The world today has become a small place. Thanks to the means of communication and transportation. Today, people have moved out of their own countries, to other lands, in search of better prospects. If you look at any global giant in the corporate world, you will find employees belonging to different countries and cultures, working together in it. This intermingling has made one thing quite apparent - If someone wants to be successful today, he has to be a global citizen, someone who is aware of the various cultures, especially of the people he is likely to come in contact with, while working or traveling. And, the first thing that a person trying to know about a foreign culture has to do, is to learn the language.
There are more than six thousand seven hundred recognized languages in the world today. It is impossible to learn all of them. Also, many of these languages are spoken by less than thousand people! So, there is no point in learning such languages as their utility is very low. Thus, a person who wants to study a foreign language, should choose any one of the languages suggested below.
English is the language that businesses speak. It is the language of the Internet. In most of the countries, it is the main second language. Whether a person is traveling to a foreign country or interacting with people of some other country for business purposes, English is one language which will come handy at every step.
Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the United States. It is the language of business and commerce in about twenty countries. There are many jobs in the United States as well as in many other countries, which specifically ask for people who know how to speak and write Spanish. Thus, learning Spanish can be very beneficial.
The Chinese economy is booming and how! In the coming decades, it is predicted that China will replace United States as the world leader! Even if this does not happen, China will play a major role in the world economics and politics. This makes it the ideal time to learn mandarin Chinese, a language spoken by approximately 880 million people, which by the way is one fifth of the world's population!
French is counted amongst the top languages to learn, simply because it is a chief language in northern and western Africa, besides Europe. French is a second language in numerous countries. Anyone trying to understand European history and civilization, can benefit a lot by learning French. As many developing countries in Africa are expected to emerge economically in the next decades, learning French, which is a second language in many African countries, will be advantageous for corporate professionals.
Countries in Middle East are a major player in the world politics and business. Oil and Islamic terrorism - these two things will always keep the Arab world in the midst of the world politics. Arabic is spoken by more than 250 million people. It is an official language in about twenty countries. Many International organizations, including United Nations, recognize it as their official language. These are reasons enough to study it, along with one's native language.
Despite the breaking of the Soviet Union, Russia continues to be counted amongst the best economies of the world. Around 185 million people speak this language and besides them, there are millions of others, in all the former countries of the Soviet Union, for whom Russian is a second language. Most of the people, in these parts of the world, do not speak much English. This makes Russian a useful language to learn.
German is spoken by 120 million people. It is a language commonly used for doing business in many parts of Europe. Moreover, Germany is the third largest economy, after United States and China, in the world today. Thus, German is one language which can prove to be very advantageous to learn.
Besides the ones mentioned above, other languages that you can learn are Italian, Portuguese, Swahili, Japanese and Turkish. Each of these languages has its strengths and can be very useful to learn. So, choose any of these languages, join a class to learn it and then speak it, whenever you get an opportunity, to enhance your linguistic skills!