There are many reasons why people decide to learn a new language. It may be for professional reasons, like moving to a new country for a job or having to interact with clients who speak a different language than you do. You might also pick up a new language because you’re a college student looking for some credits in a foreign language. You might even be thinking about learning a new language simply because you’re interested in languages or you’re marrying into a family that speaks another language.
If you have the privilege of choosing what language to pick up, it’s understandable if you’re overwhelmed. After all, there are approximately 6500 beautiful and unique languages out there just waiting to be learned. Here are 6 ways to help you decide what language you should learn.
Deciding What New Language to Learn
- Write down the countries you want to visit.
Creating a list of the countries you want to go to, can help you decide what language to learn. You can examine the list, see which country you can realistically visit first and then commit to learning that language. If you’re a college student hoping to study abroad, then your college should provide you with the list of universities and countries they partner with, so that all you have to do is pick whichever one you like. If you’re planning to visit the country for a short period of time, it may still be worth your while to learn the language. Learning the language before going to a country, even for a short visit, can actually be beneficial.
- Consider the languages you’ve already been exposed to.
Did you take French and Spanish in high school or college but can barely hold a conversation now? You’re not alone; that has happened to many of us. However, you still have some exposure and familiarity with the language. If you’re looking for a language to pick up, maybe pick up the one you’ve put down.
- Pick a language close to your native language.
It’s fine if you don’t take up a language that’s more difficult for you to learn, especially if you can only speak one language. You can start with a language that’s closer to your native language and should technically be easier for you to learn. For example, if you’re a native English speaker, maybe you could pick up one of the romance languages. Picking an “easier” language may give you the confidence to take on more “difficult languages” later.
- Pick a language you find interesting.
Maybe you have no interest in traveling, but you just really want to learn a language. Is there a language, that when you hear it, you just love how it sounds? Or a language attached to a culture that simply intrigues you? Studying that language is a great place to start. The fact that you’re interested in the language may make learning the language exciting and less like a chore.
- Pick a language that will help you professionally.
If you’re in a field (engineering, tech, Human Resources, Global Mobility, Global Sales) where a foreign language may help you stand out, then think long and hard about which language may be best for you. Look at what may be right for your sector or industry and not necessarily the language with the most speakers. Or, you may be moving abroad for your job, which likely means you’ll need to brush up on your English language skills, or even learn a new language from scratch.
- Pick a language that has resources available.
There are countless resources available nowadays for language learning. However, it’s important to identify how you learn and examine whether or not there are sufficient resources available to you. If you’re interested in having your employees learn a language because they have to relocate abroad or have them interact with clients who don’t speak their native language, Fluency Corp can help. We’re flexible and provide a wide range of resources to fit the language learner’s needs.
Picking the language to study is the first step. Language learning can be rewarding and exciting but it also requires a ton of hard work. At the end of that day, the ultimate decision is yours, make a good one!