Have you always wanted to study a foreign language? Picking the right tongue is an important decision that can change your life for the better. With so many great options, How to choose a language to learn that is best for you?
It is one of the least discussed topics. Here, I will try to cover all the relevant criteria that can help your journey to fluency!
There are infinite reasons to learn a language.
While it is a challenging task, but there are several benefits associated with language acquisition.
Whatever may be your dream, speaking a new tongue can open the door to new possibilities as we advance.
Mastering a foreign language is not something that happens overnight.
Achieving higher proficiency in any language requires time, dedication, enthusiasm, motivation, and persistence.
It is a tedious process and demands much practice.
I have written several articles on which language to study.
So, here I will not tell you what language you should learn.
Instead, I am covering the vital factors you should consider before picking the right one.
Table of Contents
5 Ways to Decide What Language You Should Learn
What is best for you may not be suitable for others since everyone has a different purpose.
Likewise, there’s no better or best language to study.
The best one depends on your goal.
It would help if you based your judgment on objective and subjective criteria (that is, criteria that only matter to you, personally).
It is not possible to list all the criteria relevant to all readers of this article.
Here, I will focus only on significant factors involving How to choose a language.
1. Language Difficulty
Let’s face it. All languages are not equal.
Although none are simple, some are relatively the easiest languages to learn. In contrast, others require substantial time to achieve a higher competency level and get way harder.
Learning a language takes time, and it is not something that happens in a few days or weeks.
It is a complex process and demands serious commitment. There are, of course, many language techniques to make it manageable.
The language difficulty depends on several factors, including your mother tongue, interest, related languages that you already know, availability of study materials, and linguistic complexity.
Do you want something simple to start with before you go to the tough languages?
Are you a good language learner?
How much time you have to study a new language?
Do you have any purpose in mind that you can reach by learning a particular language?
Ask yourself these questions, analyze them, and then make the proper judgment.
For example, if your duration is only 1-2 years. Then, there is no point in picking difficult ones like Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Polish, Hungarian, Finnish, or Cantonese.
There is no meaningful return if you quit halfway.
Instead, it would be best to consider one of the straightforward tongues, such as Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish, that you can pick and understand without straining.
Some people also seem to have a knack for studying languages and are naturally good at it.
If you enjoy challenges, have enough time and zeal to continue, and wish to learn something unique, try Mandarin, Japanese, or Korean.
There is a close relationship between various languages because of the common root or family tree.
For instance, if you speak Spanish, learning Portuguese will be a breeze.
Similarly, as a German speaker, you will find it comfortable to learn Dutch.
Further, many researchers believe that children are better at language learning compared to grown-ups.
While it is correct to some extent, but most importantly, they have time in hand to accomplish language learning goals.
So, choosing one of the hardest languages for them might not be the wrong decision at all.
2. Availability of the Language Resources
Is there any tutor or language school in your city?
Can you most easily find books and resources right now?
Is there any center in your location that conducts foreign language tests?
Do you know people near you who speak the language?
Are you ready to shell out some extra money for expensive classes?
Every language is useful in some ways, but you can only pick what is feasible for you.
The availability of supports like audio lessons, books, instructors, speakers, language school, and video tutorial plays a vital role in the pursuit of language learning.
If you’re learning popular ones, such as German, French, Spanish, Japanese, or Chinese, you’ll discover an abundance of study materials everywhere.
Even in small cities, there are educational institutions that cater to the learners of these languages.
Now, think about one of the less taught tongues like Croatian, Dutch, Bahasa, Romanian, Bahasa, Filipino, Tibetan, or Scandinavian.
Resources are scarce for these less common languages. Moreover, even some in-demand foreign language courses are not available in every city.
Because of limited choices of books, language teachers, or even speakers, the language learning process becomes a challenging task.
You can quickly grow frustrated when you feel like your progress is stagnating for the shortage of adequate resources.
So, before you begin your journey of language education, contemplate the resources you can get.
Of course, you can also move to a different city or purchase a few products or services to achieve your aim, but that will cost you some money.
3. Cultural Aspect and language that interests you
Is there any specific culture that stimulates you to learn the language associated with it?
Perhaps Italian culture is something that intrigues you, and that is the reason for you to learn Italian.
It could be that you became attracted by K-Pop, K-Drama, K-Movies, K-Food and got the enthusiasm to learn the Korean language.
Probably, awesome Japanese animes fascinate you, and thus, you fancy Japanese to study.
Possibly you wish to travel to France and learn the French language because you love the sound of their words.
The accents are too mellifluous to miss. No?
There is a profound connection between culture and language.
Culture is the heart and soul of any language.
It is nearly impossible to learn a new language properly without knowing the culture, customs, tradition, and history of the region from where it originated.
For many people, distinct culture is just plain delightful.
The language that you love is the one whose culture amazes you so much that you’re ready to dedicate most of your time to learning and spare no cost.
To sum up, you should follow your passion for a language and explore your interests and aspirations. The best language might be the one you always admired.
4. Moving abroad for study, work, or immigration
How to Choose a language to learn is a tedious task. However, it would be easy to pick if you have any specific destination.
Consider where you see yourself in a few years.
Are you thinking of immigrating to Canada?
Then take the French TEF or TCF test to gain bonus points for Quebec or Canada PR.
Perhaps you’re working in an import-export house that deals with sellers from China.
In that case, you already know learning the Mandarin language can increase your pay and allows you to travel abroad.
Maybe you want to join any university in Germany for M.S. and desire to make yourself more employable after the program?
Well, then learning the German language is a logical option!
Who knows, tomorrow, you might receive an assignment in Moscow. To get that, you need to have an elementary-level acquaintance in the Russian language.
To put it briefly, you must look at the various reasons and plans from a learner’s viewpoint.
Your most beneficial language will differ from others.
Suppose your target country for jobs or study requires knowledge of any specific language. In that situation, you should select that language irrespective of its popularity.
It can be one of the possible criteria for how to choose a language.
5. Career and Job Opportunities
For all the questions related to language choice that I received, nearly 50% were regarding career options and jobs requiring languages.
There was a time when people used to learn as a hobby or going abroad.
Today, more students are thinking of careers in foreign tongues.
As globalization marches on, language skills are a valuable add-on to have on your resume, especially in some industries that deal with businesses with international footprints.
And if your sector or company does a lot of work in a particular region, pick that one.
You can’t certainly know in advance where your life or career will take you.
You will still be in a better situation to benefit from global job openings if you know a different tongue.
Choosing a language that explicitly matches your existing academic qualification looks better. It can sometimes help you bypass language prerequisite requirements.
For example, the Engineering and Automobile sectors mix well with German or Japanese. Chinese is the number one choice for Indian SMEs dealing with China market.
If you wish to learn the Turkish language for whatever reason, let your mind and heart believe it, embrace it, and then make it happen.
Likewise, since most outsourcing works come from the USA; therefore, Spanish is in high demand in the BPO industry.
The students in the aviation and tourism industry favor French. There is also a growing demand for Arabic learners who are searching for jobs in Middle-east.
The list is never-ending!
Some languages are more attractive to employers than others.
Besides English and your native tongue, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Chinese are popular among recruiters.
While knowing these languages won’t promise you a job will give your C.V. a much-needed competitive edge.
And, depending on the position, often a higher salary and incentives.
Many organizations also hire candidates with eloquence in the less spoken tongues because of their work or near-term expansion.
Since there are fewer applicants with such rare language abilities; thus, your chances of becoming the “anointed one” for the work is almost, if not, a guarantee.
Final Words on How to Choose a language to study
Mastering a language is never easy, but the advantages associated with it make it a worthwhile endeavor.
How to choose a language and the reasons behind it could be lying within you.
Think about all the scenarios — your future career path, interest, and aspiration.
If you carefully break down the importance and availability of each language you’re fascinated with. In that case, it will indeed become apparent which is the most suitable fit for you.
Remember, what is right for me might not be best for you. Only you can decide your destiny.
Some criteria, circumstances, factors, and reasons discussed mentioned above will help you decide.
If you’re still unsure and perplexed, you can always ask me in the comment section below.
Sir, I’m looking forward to making a career in foreign languages. Not yet decided which language yet. But some folks are advising me that soon Artificial Intelligence will take over the translation industry and then there’ll be no need for translators/interpreters. What are your thoughts on this?
Also, if I wish to go into academia, then which foreign lang would have the most vacancies in Indian universities/schools? Suppose I take up Japanese for its worth in corporate but if I change my mind and pursue a PhD in Japanese studies then post Ph.D. there’ll be very few options as vacancies in Japanese are very few. I’ve heard French is taught widely in colleges. So considering academia, which languages are safe to take up?
Sorry sir for such a long comment but I’m too much anxious about my career.
Also Sir, do you take career counseling sessions too?
That’s nice. Due to language complexity, AI can never replace human translators. Words with dual meanings, honorific, context, geographical, and cultural aspects are impossible for a machine to translate accurately. Human translators are more credible and effective, and the ‘personal’ factor will consistently outperform technology.
The choice of language is extremely subjective, and that’s why I don’t recommend any particular one unless the aim is precise. Yes, I offer personal career counseling. You can find all details and take the service → Career guidance.
Want to know more about foreign languages.
Read this blog. You will find almost everything related to foreign languages. 😊
I have decided to pursue language as a career. After reading your article (and contemplating about all other factors) I’ve narrowed down my final choices to Japanese (because I have been fascinated with their culture and history for quite some time) and German (as it will provide me with good opportunities to study abroad in future). I haven’t been able to make a final choice. Kindly guide me.
If you have spent enough time on this blog, you might know that I don’t recommend which language one should choose. This is something only you can decide based on your understanding. Also, being a language-agnostic, I consider all languages are good in their own way.
Sir, I want to do a full-time UG course in DU in the Japanese language. So what’s the scope or career after doing this course. How can I get admission to the college? What’s the procedure and which college offers full-time UG courses in Japanese. Also, for the flight attendant job, between Japanese and German, which one is beneficial?
No DU college offers full-time UG degree courses in Japanese. You can either consider a part-time certificate, followed by Diploma and Advanced diploma, or go with one of the reputed private institutes. There are plenty of options in Delhi. Both German and Japanese are good choices. You can check some of the articles on this blog I wrote on career scope involving Japanese.
If I want to pursue medicine which language would be better? Currently keeping both options open Europe or US. Can you help?
In Europe, French and German are popular, whereas Spanish is more widespread in the USA. So, it depends. There is no one-language-the-fits-everywhere.
That is also a good choice.
I am extremely thankful to you for this post. I want to learn the Korean language. Can you suggest to me some appropriate resources for the Korean language in India and suggest to me Where can I practice whatever I’ll learn?
You can enroll in one of the learning centers. You get all resources there, from teachers and classmates to books and study material to learn and practice Korean. I wrote an article covering 31 places to learn Korean in India.
Hello Sir, can you please suggest some good institutes in India for the french language? Is french embassy also provide these type of courses!
Yes, L’Alliance Française is a cultural center of the French embassy. It is a good institute to learn French in India, and they have a number of branches in different parts of India.
Hi, thank you for this post, I am 34 years old and having 8 years of experience in bpo. I am quite confused about which language should I learn from a career perspective. I would be thankful if you guide me.
Many languages are helpful for a career. You can read this and a few other articles to help you make the right decision.
Hi, I am a bit confused between the Spanish and Japanese languages. I want to learn from a career perspective. If you can assist me further, which one is in demand.
All the top languages are more or less equally good, in my opinion. However, there are several reasons why people choose a particular one, and it differs a lot, depending on the goal. Due to this, I do not recommend any particular one. Only you can decide this.
Hi sir is there any age limit to learn these languages? A 48-year-old lady can learn German? If yes, then which is the best institute for her?
There is no maximum age limitation for learning a new language. The choice of an institute depends on the language and location. If you have something specific, I can recommend you some options.
I am a student of BBA. After my UG, I am deciding to learn Spanish. What kind of career opportunities will I be able to access?
There is an article on this blog that answers your question. Search with “career in Spanish.”
Good morning sir!! I am a little bit confused between the Japanese and French languages. Can you tell me which language is best for the career-making?
Both are fine, and one is not better than the other from a career perspective.
I just want to know that among Japanese or Chinese language experts, Which has a better future after covid. As a full-time language expert, Which has better job opportunities as well as high paying?
Please help me out.
I have already answered it. There is no particular one that is better than others. This is something, you have to decide on your own.
Hello sir, I have seen your guidelines which is very knowledgeable. I want to make my career by learning a trending language, but I don’t have very much knowledge about any language courses. So, can you suggest to me because I’m so confused to select any one language, but yes I want to learn?
There are many trending languages such as French, Spanish, German, Japanese, to name a few. But which one to choose is entirely subjective, and only you can decide. That’s the reason I wrote this article to help you make the decision a tad easier.
Thank you, sir, for your valuable post, which is a better option for engineering students, (CSE) Spanish or French as a second language?
Both are good choices. It is more of an individual perspective.
Wonderfull message about foreign languages and its importance. I have only one question, sir. Since I have relevant 9+ experience in shipping & logistics and am trying to abroad but no idea which country has easy access. So pls guide me if I learn any foreign language that will help in my career.
For that, you need to contact any overseas job consultant. With so many countries and their different languages, it would be tricky to suggest something meaningful without knowing the exact destination and goal. You can also consider Canada, and for that, you need French.
Hi sir, can I get a job abroad if I pursue master’s in Spanish or any other renowned language from a reputed university?
Difficult but possible. You need other in-demand qualifications and relevant experience to get a job abroad.
Your guidance is very useful. Main points before selecting foreign Language you covered, are acceptable and valuable. Thank you, sir.
I’m glad you liked it.