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February 2016

Most Spoken Languages of the Future

What languages will be most used in 2050?

If you’re looking to learn a language for work-related reasons, whether it be business or governmental, it’s possible to infer what languages might be the most widely spoken during the middle of this century. While 2050 seems far off, it’s really not. A child born in 2016 would be 34 by 2050, an age that would place him or her in the heart of adulthood. Looking around the world today, we can identify trends that can help us estimate the top languages of the future.

English

Whether or not one wants to believe it, English is the de facto universal language. Many children around the world learn it as a second language in, at the very least, primary school. With 840 million speakers worldwide (including those who speak it as a second language, according to a language reference by SIL International entitled Ethnologue), it’s the second most spoken language in the world today. It’s highly unlikely that by 2050 it should fall into disfavor, as it would be extremely difficult to get a majority of the world working on a replacement.

Mandarin

Wondering what the most spoken language in the world is today? It’s Mandarin, with over one billion speakers worldwide. While China has many dialects, Mandarin is the official tongue. This makes it highly popular as a language of study for businessmen. Trade within the Pacific is expanding, and China is undeniably the largest power in the region. Today, even American public schools are offering Mandarin on an increasing scale. As more and more Westerners learn the language and accept it into their culture, it will spread even further.

Hindi

A United Nations report in 2015 stated that the population of India would overtake China's by 2022, making it the world's most populous nation. Hindi is the most commonly spoken dialect of Hindustani in India. As the population and economy of India grows, so will its influence, especially as it serves as a trade alternative to dealing with China. India also produces a number of brilliant minds who make their professions in modern industries like engineering and computer sciences, a trend that will likely improve the country’s ability to innovate.

Spanish

Spanish is already spoken in multiple countries around the world, making it a great language to learn for travelers. As of mid-2015, the United States was discovered to have more Spanish speakers than Spain, making it the home of the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico (according to a study by the Instituto Cervantes). Currently, Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world with 490 million speakers worldwide. Its growth in prominence in the US, arguably the world’s most powerful country, will only increase its influence in the world.

Other important languages include Arabic and Russian, especially since the countries in which they are spoken are the focus of current events. How these events play out is hard to predict, however one thing is certain: by 2050, to our future generations, it will all be a matter of history.

What languages do you think will dominate the future? Leave a comment on Facebook and be sure to follow us with a “like”.

Picture: (c) Fotolia, leungchopan

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