Most Spoken Languages in 2020 and Why You Need to Know Them

Certain languages are gaining popularity on a global scale and at a rapid pace. Some of these languages are making grounds due to the emergence of new economies or a shift in the global business environment. With language learners growing along with the shift in the global political and economic landscape, there is a constant reshuffling in the list of most spoken languages worldwide.

Here’s our list of the most spoken languages we can expect in 2020.

1. French

Most Spoken Languages in 2020 & Why You Need to Know Them
French has often been referred to as the language of the future. The romantic language is gaining popularity once again with populations across Europe and Africa taking up French as an additional language in universities and schools. There has been a significant rise in the number of professionals learning French, especially in the African continent. The latest prediction is that French will be spoken by 750 million speakers by 2050. French is preferred by English speakers as the script is the same and that makes learning French less of a challenge compared to languages such as Hindi or Arabic. With non-native speakers outnumbering native speakers. French is a language that is touted to be amongst the most spoken languages in 2020.

2. Arabic

Most Spoken Languages in 2020 & Why You Need to Know Them

The Arab world is fast emerging as an economic powerhouse, with massive foreign investments from countries directed to the Middle East. With a young native population and copious amounts of ex-pats from all over the world, countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have gained global significance over the past years. This is predicted to grow over the next few years with Dubai hosting the World Expo in 2020 and Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA world cup. The Arabic language is spoken in these countries along with other countries in the Middle East such as Oman, Kuwait and Jordan. Arabic is also spoken by countries in Northern Africa such as Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt amongst others. There are 57 countries where Arabic is spoken, so your options are plenty! Given the wealth of Arab nations and their predicted growth over the next 5 years or so, Arabic will definitely be one of the most spoken and important languages to learn in 2020 and beyond.

3. Spanish

Most Spoken Languages in 2020 & Why You Need to Know Them

Another romance language, Spanish has speakers in Europe and Central and Southern America. We have already distinguished the subtle differences between Castilian and Mexican Spanish. It is assumed the influence of Spanish pop music has had a role in spreading the language across the globe in addition to migration and other factors. With 329 million speakers and the number growing, Spanish is second only to Chinese mandarin when it comes to the language with the most growth. Learning Spanish for an English speaker is easy as the average time expected to grasp the language is between 22-24 weeks. With the number of native speakers second only to Mandarin Chinese, Spanish is predicted to remain in the list of most spoken languages in 2020.

4. Urdu and Hindi

Most Spoken Languages in 2020 & Why You Need to Know Them

Urdu and Hindi are closely related to each other, with speakers of either language able to understand each other easily. The speakers of Urdu and Hindi are concentrated in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. India has been labeled as a country with one of the fastest-growing economies, expected to surpass China in the coming years. With the script being different from European languages, it is a challenge to learn the language compared to French or Spanish. However, if you know just conversational Hindi or Urdu that itself is extremely beneficial. Rarely in business do they use Hindi/Urdu in written communication – English is usually the preferred choice. There are about 250 million speakers of Hindi and Urdu combined, with a number expected to grow as the most international business shift to affordable markets of India and Pakistan to conduct their business. Companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook have significant investments in India and Pakistan, making Hindi and Urdu a key language in the near future.

5. English

Most Spoken Languages in 2020 & Why You Need to Know Them

A language that needs no introduction, English is the world’s lingua franca. It has been in the past and will continue to be, in the years to come, one of the most spoken languages in the world. With 1.2 billion speakers (natives and non-natives), English is a language of global significance. An official language in many countries as well as being one of the official languages of global bodies such as the United Nations, English language speakers continue to grow. Countries in Africa, Asia, and South America are expected to add to the number of non-native English speakers, making English one of the most spoken languages in 2020.

6. Mandarin Chinese

Most Spoken Languages in 2020 & Why You Need to Know Them

With 1.2 billion speakers presently and the number fast-growing, Mandarin Chinese is expected to hold the top position as the most spoken language in 2020. The Chinese economy has been relatively unaffected by the current economic slowdown and is touted as one of the powerful economies in the world. With growing economic and political influence, Mandarin Chinese has native speakers in China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos amongst others. Mandarin Chinese has the dubious title of being one of the harder languages to learn, with at least 88 weeks needed to learn the language. Combined with the unique writing script, learning Mandarin Chinese will require you to put in the extra time and effort.

These are just some of the languages expected to take the spotlight in 2020. Learning a language is exciting and gives the brain a workout, in addition to helping you advance in your professional life. Learning a language of relevance, such as those mentioned above, will be beneficial in more ways than one.

Browse through our list of languages and get started on your journey now!

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Joseph Yaghi
By Joseph Yaghi

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