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, the ability to speak a new tongue can open the door of new possibilities going forward.
Mastering a foreign language is not something that happens overnight. To achieve 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.
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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 both 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 easiest languages to learn, while others require substantial time to achieve a higher level of competency, 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.
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 lingo?
Do you have any purpose in mind that you can reach by learning a particular language?
Ask yourself these questions, analyze, and then make the right 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 if you 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 of 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.
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 one of the popular ones such as German, French, Spanish, Arabic, 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 languages. 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 certain 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 K-Beauty and got the enthusiasm to learn the Korean language.
Probably, awesome Japanese animes fascinates you, and thus, you fancy Japanese to study.
Possibly you wish to travel to France and learn the French language because you just love the sound of their words. The accents are too mellifluous to miss. No?
There is a profound connection between culture and language. The 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 in 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 MS 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, and to get that, you need to have an elementary level acquaintance in the Russian language.
Simply put, from the viewpoint of a learner, you must look at the various reasons and plans. Your most beneficial language will differ from others.
If your target country for jobs or study requires knowledge of any specific language, irrespective of its popularity, you should select that language. 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 for 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. Still, you will be in a better situation to take benefit of global job openings if you know a different tongue.
Choosing a language that matches explicitly to your existing academic qualification looks better, and sometimes can help you bypass language prerequisite requirements.
For example, Engineering and Automobile sector mix well with German or Japanese. Chinese is the number one choice for Indian SMEs dealing with China market.
If you wish like learning the Turkish language for whatever reason, let your mind and heart believe it, embrace it, 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. Currently, Besides English and your native tongue, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Chinese are popular choices amongst recruiters.
While knowing these languages won’t promise you a job, it 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 available with each language you’re fascinated with, it will surely become clear, 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.