How to decide which language to learn

Learn languages February 18, 2020

Learning a new language can open up your world, allow you to meet new people from different backgrounds, and give you the chance to travel to new, exciting places. If you’ve already decided to learn a new language, you probably knew all that already! 

The tricky thing with languages, however, is to decide which one to learn next…or first, if you’ve never learnt one before. Whether you’re on your first or even seventh new language, it can be tough to decide which one’s right for you, and why to learn one new language over another. If you’re finding it difficult to decide which language you should learn next, don’t worry. We’ve prepared some simple tips that will help make your decision much easier!

Learn a language which is useful 

Usefulness is probably not the most exciting reason to learn a language, but it is a practical one! No matter whether your new language will be useful in your personal or professional life, it will definitely get you ahead in life. The important thing is to understand why you need to learn this new language. 

English is undeniably one of the key languages for just about everything: travel, employment, and international communication. But what if you want to learn something new? 

If we set our sights on global business, German is one of the most in-demand languages for foreign companies. With German industry dominating the EU, learning the language certainly isn’t a bad idea! If you want to learn a language to get ahead in your career, investigate the sector you’re interested in going into. Multinational companies will often look for languages like Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and of course, English. 

Learn a language which lets you explore the world

How can you learn more about a new language and culture – fast? Travel! It’s one of the best ways to get motivated when learning a language. Immersing yourself in a new country and navigating new situations every day can really help accelerate your language skills. Learning the local language will allow you to explore the country in a much more in-depth way, and get you off the beaten tourist track.

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So, where do you want to travel to next? Visit a country that excites you, that maybe you know very little about, and get to know its culture and local people through a language stay abroad

Learn a language which is ‘easier’ for you

Learning a language which is similar to your own, or which you’ll easily be able to practise daily, is a great idea if you want to see fast progression and learn in double quick time! Everyone learns at a different pace, but if you learn a language which is relatively similar to one you already speak, in theory it should be much easier – especially if it’s your first foreign language. 

If you’re not really interested in a language similar to your own, another way to decide is by looking at the resources you have available. Are there native speakers living nearby who you could practise with? Are there online exercises which you can rely on to help you learn? What about online apps, or local language lessons? Seeing what resources you have available to you in your day-to-day life and surroundings can really make an impact on deciding which language you should learn next. 

Learn a language which challenges you

On the flip side of the coin, there are those who like to learn a language because of the challenge it presents. Languages which are generally considered more difficult to learn will certainly help you stand out, perhaps in your friendship group (if you’re the type to relish bragging rights), or maybe even when you’re applying for a new job! 

Being challenged by a new language can be great motivation. Just imagine how amazing you’ll feel when you’re fluent in a language so many others have tried, and often failed at!

Learn a language which interests you 

Fascinated by K-pop? Enthralled by Spanish flamenco? Amazed by the bright colours of Bollywood? If you have any interests or hobbies which aren’t a big part of your country’s culture, then the best way to get closer to them is by learning the language! Imagine being able to read the manga you love in the original Japanese, or watching the latest K-dramas without the subtitles. 

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Your interest will accelerate your learning, and give you new insights into the world behind your hobby. You’ll be able to converse with international enthusiasts, too, and travel to see your hobby or interest in action! 

Once you understand your motivation for learning a language, making a decision will come naturally. If you really can’t decide between one or the other, prioritise your learning needs – you’re not limited to learning just one language in your lifetime! Once you’ve mastered one, you can move on to the next. If you’ve made up your mind, it’s time to move on to the next step, and start learning a new language! Why not dive straight in with a language stay abroad, and discover more about your ideal language in full immersion?

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By Emily Lawrenson

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