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There are more than 7,000 languages in existence. That’s an astonishing number. It makes it surprising that so many of us are content to settle for one. It’s like having all of the world’s foods lined up in front of you and deciding you’ll eat the same meal every day. Madness, right?
But you’re not included in that analogy, are you? You’ve decided to expand your linguistic horizons, and we commend you for it. But deciding to learn a second language is only the beginning. You still have to choose the tongue you want to speak. This article will help you.
With thousands of different languages, your choices are limitless, but there are some practical considerations. While it can be wonderful to learn a more atypical tongue, commonly studied languages are often easier. That’s because there are more resources out there to help you.
Say you want to learn French. This is a language with 75 million native speakers, so there are plenty of tutors to choose from online, with varying fees and locations. This makes the experience as simple and convenient as possible. If you wanted to learn Saami, on the other hand, your search would be trickier. So, make sure there are suitable resources out there and available to you before settling on a specific tongue.
Mother (tongue) knows best
You might also want to think about the sorts of languages that complement your native tongue. Those that share similarities will be simpler and easier to grasp, meaning it will take less time to become fluent. This is handy if you want to put your newfound skills into practice at some point.
For native English speakers, Germanic and Romance languages are often the easiest to grasp. That’s because modern English shares many of the same linguistic roots, so it’s less like learning from scratch and more like adapting and applying what you already know to a new vocabulary.
The five easiest languages for English speakers to grasp are reputedly Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese. If you have any desire to travel around Scandinavia, this is great news for you.
What’s also important is the places you’d like to go to and the opportunities you want to have. Learning a new language opens the door to different cultures, so if there’s somewhere, in particular, you want to visit, consider mastering its mother tongue, especially if you’ll be going alone.
The world’s most commonly spoken first languages are Mandarin and Spanish, with 1.3 billion and 460 million speakers respectively. This means you’ll meet many people around the world who speak these tongues and will be able to communicate with those who are also fluent in them.
If, on the other hand, it’s Italy or Japan you dream of experiencing, maybe these languages are better suited to your ambitions. The most important thing is to learn a tongue you’ll one day talk, so try one that belongs to a country and culture you’d love to experience.
What are you waiting for? Go out there and broaden your linguistic horizons!