What Will the World Speak?
Across the world, a variety of languages are spoken today. However, projections for the next 30 to 50 years shows that dominant languages spoken today will remain dominant in the long run, with a realistic possible fluctuation in ranking. Moreover, globalization has massively shrunk the world, as organizations and corporations are no longer restricted to conducting business strictly within their countries of establishment. It has made the world a global village where different nationalities can collaborate efficiently.
The most important factor that significantly boosted globalization? Language!
The Role Of Language in Globalization
A handful of the world’s most popular languages such as English, French, Russian, Spanish and most recently Mandarin Chinese, have dominated communication and international dialogue for quite a long time. However, several other languages are on a steady rise to the surface to becoming languages of the future, motivated by their fast-growing popularity. While these languages of the future will pose a significant challenge for learners, it helps to consider which of these languages are directly related to your career or business. This is in a bid to ensure the best Return on Investments (ROI). Also, irrespective of whether you’re an entrepreneur or preparing for your future endeavors tilted towards starting a small business, it would be wise to consider making future plans with a serious recognizance of languages of the future. Your goals — your future business objectives in relation to your prospective clients, will help determine your language choices. Below is a provisional list of languages of the future.
A Projection of Future Global Languages:
1. Chinese – Mandarin
The Chinese economy is over the years, growing very rapidly, with most of its companies establishing presence in other countries around the world. Did you know that Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most spoken language as per the number of speakers? This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering China’s large population. Besides, 38 countries currently speak Mandarin Chinese, with a total of 1.296 billion speakers. Chinese poses a major challenge to learn, especially for English speakers. But it is greatly foreseen to be one of the major languages of the future. This is inspired by China’s gigantic economic forward shift, from a closed-door economy to being involved in international trade. It is speculated that China could become the world’s leading economy by 2050.
The English language can’t be omitted from this list, final or provisional. Today, about 118 countries speak English, either as their first or second language. Currently ranked among the top most spoken languages in the world with about 1.2 billion speakers, it is the global business language, making it comfortable fit in our list of languages of the future especially for commerce, trade, business and communication in general.
Previously confined to the Middle East/Emirates region, it is currently gaining popularity and among the world’s fastest growing languages. Spoken in about 58 countries as the first or second language, it is the 4th most spoken language globally, with an estimated 327.2 million speakers. Arabic’s prevalence is complemented by its status in oil and natural gas producing countries. As such, it is reasonable to say it is likely to be one of the languages of the future, used significantly by the global business community.
Portuguese doesn’t appear to make waves at all. So, its place in the languages of the future may come as a surprise. Brazil, however is growing rapidly, and speaks Portuguese. Brazil is a member nation of BRICS, countries that come together to work towards their future business growth and overall wellbeing. BRICS is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, headquartered in Shanghai – China. Today, Portuguese is the 7th most spoken language, with a staggering 386.5 million speakers. It is spoken in Brazil, Portugal, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Africa and in some Caribbean islands. These regions are expected to boost the use of Portuguese in the foreseeable future.
Currently, French is the world’s 14th most spoken language, with first or second language status for about 298.2 million speakers, spread across about 53 countries, especially in Northern and Sub Saharan Africa where France still has colonial and economic strongholds. France is currently ranked the world’s 7th biggest economy (2018-2019), with a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of US$ 2.9 trillion. Moreover, it is the world’s top provider of manufacturing services for numerous industries like cosmetics, luxury goods, railways, automotive and aerospace. In a nutshell, French is undoubtedly a language of the future.
6. Hindi – Urdu
Like China, India’s population continues to grow larger every year. It is demographically projected that India would become the world’s most populous nation in the future. With this population growth, it is but certain that it’ll go along with one of its most spoken language, the Hindi – Urdu. In Pakistan, a majority of the population speaks Urdu. However, about 695.8 million people speak Hindi, and considering India’s rich prowess in the information tech industry, it is gradually becoming a major business, e-commerce and trade center of the world. A worthwhile reason to consider taking Hindi -Urdu lessons in the future.