There are currently a remarkable 7,097 living languages in the world today, according to Ethnologue. It’s worth letting that sink in for a moment. 7,097 different ways you can communicate with someone.
The largest alphabet in the world belongs to the Cambodian language Khmer. While according to a U.S. Census Bureau report, there are over a staggering 350 languages spoken in the USA!
The continent with the most languages is Asia with around 2,300. Followed by Africa, and then the Pacific region in third. The figure has been steadily rising, as we increase our understanding of languages being spoken in regions that were previously unknown or not fully explored.
According to a New York Times piece on endangered languages, one language is becoming extinct at a rate of one every two weeks.
University students looking to add a new language to their studies. Experienced professionals looking to boost their career prospects, and indeed those considering a career in the interpreting and translation industry, may be wondering, what are the languages most valued by employers?
Today we will delve into the future of languages post Brexit, citing a British Council report. We will reveal the top 5 most sought after languages after English and consider which ones you could learn yourself! We will also take a look at the languages of the future.
The report reaches its conclusion considering the, ‘outlook for the supply and demand for language competence in the years ahead, and looks at the linguistic dimension of a variety of economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational factors, scoring languages against these’.
So, without further ado. The most in demand languages in the UK job market are –
5 – German
In fifth place is Europe’s largest economy and the largest exporter of British goods. So a fantastic language to learn if you are looking to enter the international trade and investment job markets. The council report finds German is the tenth most common language on the internet, with more than 84 million users.
4 – Arabic
The official language of a whopping 28 countries, with just under 300 million speakers worldwide. According to the council report, six Arabic speaking countries appear among the UK’s top 50 export market in goods with this expected to grow.
3 – French
The language of love is spoken in nearly 40 countries, and was previously the world-dominating language (until being surpassed by English). France is the UK’s second most important non-English speaking export market. With Belgium and Switzerland also contributing to the £69 billion worth of business in goods and services the UK does, according to ONS.
2 – Mandarin
China is the world’s second biggest economy and currently the UK’s sixth largest non-English speaking export market. With a value of nearly £17 billion in 2015 according to ONS. With the UK intending to leave the EU and develop new international relationships beyond Europe, this would be an excellent option for those in, or looking to enter the business world.
1 – Spanish
Ranked in number one place. Spanish has official status in 21 countries. Mostly in the Latin region and is the most commonly spoken language after Mandarin. With a combined population of over 185 million people, Chile, Colombia and Mexico have all been identified as opportunity markets for the UK. Also the three countries all have low proficiency in English, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. Spanish may well be a good start depending on your motivations for learning. The British council study found that Spanish is ‘useful’ for 34% of UK businesses.
These five appear some way ahead of the next five, which are: Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese and Russian.
The report argues that, investment in languages is key if the UK is to thrive internationally. It also highlights the benefits of the interpreting and translations services DA Languages provides.
So whether you’re just taking an active interest in languages, looking to take the step and start learning one, OR are a business owner looking to increase sales by breaking into new markets. We hope this blog helped!
If you’ve any queries about the topics discussed, feel free to reach out and Contact Us for other queries!
For linguists who’ve worked with us, we’ll be featuring this article, along with a few others, in June’s edition of The DA Languages Monthly Report, so stay tuned!
Written by Andrew Tattersall