What Language Should You Learn This Year?

If you’re a native English speaker, you might wonder foreign language would benefit you the most to learn. Are you a career-minded professional looking for ways to pad your resume? Or are you interested in culture and looking for a new skill to add to your learning list?

Either way, achieving fluency in a foreign tongue opens the door to a world of new possibilities. From making travel easier to boosting your job prospects and enhancing your cultural understanding, new language enrich your life. If you’re asking, “what language should I learn?”, consider the following five options.

1. Mandarin

China is rich in culture and tradition, but you may want to learn Mandarin for another reason altogether — business. If you frequently negotiate real estate deals, this is one of the best languages you can learn for your job. China is the largest foreign investor for New York City real estate.

You may also wish to master this tongue if you run a small business. One significant factor hindering U.S. startups from growing quickly and moving forward is hiring offshore contractors. The communication barriers create hurdles that impede the flow of the well-oiled machine you hope to run. Why not learn the language to eliminate this roadblock?

Whether you want to travel to China and communicate more easily or you’re hoping to build your professional resume, Mandarin is one of the most useful languages you can learn.

2. Spanish

Even in many areas of the U.S., you’ll find signs and instructions en Español. Spanish is the fourth-most spoken language in the world, with more than 400 million native speakers. It serves as an official language for more than 20 countries and is incredibly useful to know for business.

Do you enjoy Zumba? The high-intensity cardio dance fitness program often features Latin jams in the choreographed routines. You can learn to understand the lyrics so that you don’t sound as silly trying to sing along to “Despacito.” Whether for fun or for a cultural education, Spanish is one of the best languages to learn in 2020.

3. Arabic

Are you up for a challenge? This language features a right-to-left writing style, unlike the left-to-right version westerners know and love. The cognitive repositioning required to learn Arabic makes it an exciting language to learn for English speakers who want to bolster their cognitive abilities.

4. Brazilian Portuguese

If you’re already bilingual in Spanish or Italian, why not set out to learn Brazilian Portuguese? This tongue is one of the nine easiest languages for English speakers to grasp. It’s also the most commonly spoken language in South America. If you dream of venturing that side of the equator, it will certainly come in handy. It’s also a beautiful, musical language to master.

5. Russian

This classic tongue shares much in common with the other Slavic languages, so if you master one, learning Slovak or Polish will be a snap.

Approximately 300 million people worldwide speak Russian, and it’s one of the official languages of the United Nations. If you plan to apply for an international position, it’s one of the top languages you can learn for new job opportunities. Additionally, many American families adopt children from Russia. You’ll want to be able to greet your new family members in their native tongue.

Tackle One of the Best Languages to Learn in 2020

If you’re wondering what language you should learn for 2020, draw inspiration from these unique options. Whether you hope to master a new tongue for your career or for personal pleasure, you’ll broaden your horizons in no time.



Alyssa Abel is an education blogger with a special interest in study abroad, language learning and cultural education. Read more of her work for students and educators on her blog, Syllabusy, connect with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.