Once you are convinced about the benefits of language learning in India, it brings up the question “Which Foreign Language to Learn?”
Which one has more demand, offers a better salary, career prospects, and job opportunities?
Not sure how to choose which language is best for you?
If you are not able to decide what languages you should learn in 2020 and more suitable for the future, this guide can help you decide which one you should consider.
Studying a foreign language has numerous rewards! Not only it is interesting and exciting but beneficial at all ages.
We all have different reasons to learn a new language.
In an age of increasing globalization, it can benefit your career prospects, School and College education, emigration, studying abroad, travel, and pursuing your hobbies and interests.
“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”Sarah Caldwell
Choosing the right foreign language to learn is a very subjective thing and often very difficult to answer.
While any language will be useful for some language jobs or for some countries or where your interests lie, it depends on the purpose of the person learning the language.
Career choices in foreign languages is one of the vital motivation while selecting one.
It takes lots of time, effort, and persistence to learn a new language.
Therefore, It is always advisable to study a foreign language that has more career scope and demand.
Here are some essential pointers to consider.
Table of Contents
- Most Widely Spoken Foreign Languages
- Top 10 Foreign Languages to Learn in India
- Which Foreign Language to Choose?
Most Widely Spoken Foreign Languages
Top 4 foreign languages with the most speakers (Natives and Non-Natives) are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and French.
I have not considered Hindi and English since both are official languages of the Government of India. There is no national language, as declared by the Constitution of India.
German and Japanese are also popular in India since Germany and Japan’s economy are highly developed and offer lots of career possibilities in India and abroad.
Over the last few years, the demand for Portuguese, Italian, Korean, and Russian is also growing in India for multiple reasons.
Top 10 Foreign Languages to Learn in India
1. French (Français)
French is the most popular foreign language to learn in India.
Since French is the part of most School and College curriculum, More than 1 lakh students are studying French in Delhi / NCR only. Add other Indian cities, and the number will be staggering high.
French is also one of the best foreign languages to learn for jobs in corporate sectors in India.
Many multinational companies use French as their working language in a wide range of industries (fashion, education, banking and finance, export and import, traveling, retailing, education, automotive, luxury goods, aeronautics, etc.).
Learning French can be a career asset in several sectors.
The career benefits of French is immense.
With over 30 French-speaking countries, French is spoken across five different continents and is the second most studied language globally, after English.
2. German (Deutsch)
Even though German is not widely spoken, such as French, Spanish, Arabic, or Chinese.
It is still the second most popular foreign language in India after French.
The five main reasons:-
- i) The most spoken mother tongue in Europe. It is the official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and more.
- ii) Germany is an economic powerhouse. And the ability to speak German offers plenty of job opportunities in many big German companies such as Volkswagen, BASF, Daimler, BMW, Bosch, Siemens, etc. German is a top choice in the field of Science, Engineering, Automobile, etc.
- iii) The German language is part of an academic curriculum in more than 500 Schools and Colleges in India, including more than 250 Kendriya Vidyalayas alone.
- iv) “First Move advantage” – Like French, the German Government initiated to promote German in India several decades back. In 1957, the first “Max Mueller Bhavan” was inaugurated in Kolkata. The first German lessons in India were imparted in Pune and Mumbai in 1914 (more than a century back).
- v) Germany’s universities have an excellent international reputation and among the best in the world. Thanks to a wide array of scholarships, proficiency in German plays a vital role if you’re planning to go to Germany or Austria for higher studies.
3. Spanish (Español)
With 20 Spanish-speaking countries, It is one of the most widely spoken languages globally.
The Spanish language is the third most popular foreign language to learn after French and German.
There are multiple reasons to learn Spanish.
Numerous career paths like Travel and Tourism, journalism, foreign service, international business, jobs in BPO, translation, interpretation, language teaching, for which proficiency in spoken and written Spanish can be a valuable asset.
There is a growing business relationship between India and Hispanic countries, especially South and Central America. Besides, in the USA, it is the second most spoken language.
The popularity of Spanish Football, Music, and Movies are a few more reasons people opt for Spanish courses in India.
4. Japanese (日本語 / Nihongo)
Demand for the Japanese language is high due to growing India-Japan relations and Japanese companies expanding Indian operations.
Japan is synonymous with high quality and technologically advanced products.
Japanese is the most popular choice among East Asian languages in India.
Since Japanese has a reputation for being difficult to learn, thus, there is less competition for job positions with Japanese-speaking applicants.
If you’re looking for a foreign language that is highly paid in India, then Japanese is the language that gets you paid the most in India and abroad.
5. Mandarin Chinese (普通话 / Pǔtōnghuà)
More than a billion people speak Mandarin Chinese in the world.
The 21st century belongs to China, and knowing the Chinese language will allow you to compete effectively in the global economy of the future.
China has become an enormous market, and International businesses and companies are looking for people who can talk in Chinese and operate successfully in China’s cultural context.
Since very few people speak Chinese in India, proficiency in Chinese may give you an edge when competing for a vital position in any firm.
Beyond above mentioned five most popular foreign languages in India, the following five other useful foreign languages are Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Arabic, and Korean.
6. Russian (русский / Rússkiy)
The Russian language is popular in India for a very long time.
However, the demand has declined in the last decade or so. It is spoken by over 300 million people around the world.
It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the largest native language in Europe.
Due to the historical and friendly relationship between India and Russia, It has a myriad of opportunities in Engineering, Science & Technology, Oil & Gas, defense sector, etc.
Russian language gives access to rich Russian literature and scientific literature of the country and is a barometer of Russian soft power.
There was a time when the Russian language was prevalent in India (in top 3) and was taught in several cities and a host of universities.
However, the loss of Russia’s superpower status was accompanied by a loss of interest in the Russian language in India.
The Russian government has started giving adequate attention to teaching the Russian language in India.
Will, the scope of learning Russian, will become widespread again?
Only time will tell. With the growth of industry and opening up of the private sector, the need for translators and interpreters who are proficient in Russian is evidenced in most Indian cities.
7. Portuguese (Português)
The Portuguese language is the 6th most spoken language in the world.
The demand for Portuguese is multiplying due to the rising strength of Brazil’s economy & the growing relationship between India and Brazil.
All the eight Portuguese speaking countries, including Portugal and Brazil, offer a distinct stake for Indian interests.
And together, they represent eight valuable votes and a lot of influence on the global stage.
There is increasing demand and scope for Portuguese Language Experts in India in various industries like Finance, Exports, Accounts, Technology, Technical Support, IT/ITES, Tourism, and Education.
8. Italian (Italiano)
Italian is the eighth largest economy and ranks as one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Italian is the most romantic of the romance languages.
Several International Italian companies like Banco, Fiat, Benetton, Gucci, Lloyd, Ferrari, Marconi, and Pinnacle have set up their businesses in India and looking for those who speak Italian.
There are lots of Italian language specialist jobs in India.
The scope of Italian in India is increasing at a steady pace. If you want to make your career in this beautiful language, then go ahead.
The future of the Italian language looks bright. Italian is also relatively easy to learn for Indians compare with other European languages like French or German or Russian.
9. Arabic (عربى / Al-‘Arabiyyah)
Arabic is the 5th most spoken language in the world.
Over 300 million speakers speak as of their native language, which is beneficial in Western Asia and North Africa.
It is one of the UN’s six official languages. It is widespread in 26 nations and, indeed, a global language.
The Arab world has untapped economic potential and extremely rich in natural resources.
Proficiency in Arabic opens opportunities in business, government, nonprofit, education, and beyond.
There are many job opportunities in Arab-world and other countries as well.
Like 10 million Indians, If you are planning to move to Middle-East countries like UAE, KSA, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, etc., learning Arabic is the right thing to do.
10. Korean (한국어 / Hangugeo)
Korean is the official language of South and North Korea. South Korea has a strong growing economy and the 7th largest export economy in the world.
The interest in Korean courses is rising northward in India due to the tremendous demand for Korean specialists in many International Korean companies such as Samsung, LG, Kia, Hyundai, Posco, Lotte, etc.
There is also growing demand due to K-drama, K-pop, and K-movies.
It increases your potential market and job possibilities not only in Korean companies but also in companies deal with businesses in South Korea.
The reason is the excellent pay package and comparatively lesser competition.
If you decide to go with Korea, take the TOPIK test to earn an international certification.
Which Foreign Language to Choose?
Some languages are valuable because they are challenging to learn, and the number of people proficient in the corresponding language is very low.
Other languages are fueled by purposes like emigration to a particular country, Diplomatic reason, learning for the hobby, or looking for job opportunities to a specific booming industry or country.
Many other foreign languages are less taught languages for varied reasons.
Nordic languages like Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian are the most natural tongues for English speakers to learn.
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese are the most straightforward language to acquire for Indians if we compare it with French, German, or Russian.
If you are exploring an uncomplicated international language to study with an excellent career scope, Spanish is the best choice.
If your Job or Business tends to require a knowledge of any specific language that is not popular, that would be a completely different ball game.
Otherwise, the practical use and benefits you get out of it are not as high as say, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, or Chinese.
All languages are important.
Therefore, always choose the language as per your career goal or interest, and not going with the most popular and obvious ones. You will never regret learning a foreign language.
Many learn a language for the sake of learning it. In that case, people search for the easiest language to learn.
It is one of the main reasons why most people fail to learn a language.
Language learning takes time. I’m not talking about weeks or months but several years.
Choosing the right foreign language is very important. It would be challenging to change the language midway.
Read, think, observe, and decide which foreign language to learn.
If you want to learn, Whatever your reason – as long as you have a purpose – you’re more likely to reach your language goals.
If you’re still unsure, you can read — Which Foreign Language to Learn in 2020?
You can always drop a comment below this post.