What is the best language for children to learn?

Dec 2011
What is the best language for children to learn?
The more languages your children learn, the better for their future

The younger we are when learning a new language, the easier it will be. The question is, what language should your child learn? In an increasingly globalised world, speaking as many languages as possible is important, particularly in regards to a number of career paths.

Luckily, children in the UK are already in a privileged position as English is the language for business and international relations. Up to 375 million people are native English speakers and a further 199 million have it as a second language, which results in more than 500 million English speakers around the world.

However, there are a multitude of additional languages. Actually, there are about 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. Don't worry though; your children don't need to speak them all.

Here is a list of some of the most important languages you child could learn:

This charming Latin language is widely spoken around the world. Its speakers include 65 million French people and 72 million bilinguals – French is spoken in some parts of Canada and many African countries.

As a Latin language, learning French can be a difficult at the beginning due to the different verbal terminations – English is much easier in this sense. However, not only is it a beautiful language, but it is also widely spoken in three continents around the globe.

Mandarin (Standard Chinese)
Up to 800 million people speak Chinese Mandarin across the planet, which makes this language the most spoken in the world. This should not be surprising considering that Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity.

Considering the economic growth that China is experiencing at the moment, Mandarin is also gaining particular popularity in the business world. Learning Mandarin, however, is a challenge that requires considerable time and effort. Because of this, the sooner your child becomes familiar with it, the better.

Right after Chinese, Spanish is the language that has the most native global speakers – up to 400 million. By learning Spanish you can also communicate in most Latin American countries as well as in the African region of Equatorial Guinea.

Despite being widely spoken, Spanish is not as widely used in the business world as Chinese Mandarin for example. Learning it is as difficult – or as easy - as learning French. The main advantage of knowing one Latin language is that it is much easier to learn a second one further down the line due to a multitude of similarities. Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian are the main Latin languages you should look to teach your child.

Although German is not a widely spoken language, it is important to know it on a European level. 101 million speak it as their native language, including in countries such as Austria and Switzerland.

Learning German could also look a bit difficult at first, but it should be easy for a young mind to eventually pick up. German will be always worth learning as long as Germany remains one of the main economic forces within Europe.