This post sets out to answer the question, what is the best language to learn? It will answer it clearly and objectively and I hope to open your mind when it comes to language learning.
Polish is the best language in the world to learn. I write this seriously as a professional linguist.
CW and the best language to learn
English is both a European language and a universal language.
Conventional wisdom programs most American to think you should learn Spanish for example. In Europe the mantra might be to study the German or French language.
Wrong. The best language to learn is not German or French or Spanish etc. Ignore conventional wisdom and the herd mentality.
Best language to learn
The best language to learn is not the answer you might think. Lets say you are a native English speaker, therefore, lets rule out English. If you are not a native speaker of English, of course the answer is English, do not waste your time learning French for example. Great language mind you but not the best language to learn. To learn German or French it is only useful if you are really into those cultures.
The best language to learn if you live in Europe:
- The Polish language – You can not even compare languages for both usefulness and uniqueness.
- Chinese (no explanation necessary, but in 100 years or so everyone will look like future people from south park.)
The best language to learn if you live in the USA:
- Your ethnic roots, Polish or Italian or Greek, for example.
This goes against conventional wisdom but is very important to understand my rational.
Why is Polish the best language to learn
Why do I recommend Polish as the most useful language? The whole world speaks English. This is the universal language for business. I have traveled the world to pretty remote place and never had a problem with English. Thank you MTV and Hollywood.
Therefore, why learn another universal European language like French or German or even Spanish, if it does not get you anywhere that English can not already do.
People that speak English as a native language and Polish as a second earn 38% more in the UK than those in IT and finance than those who know English alone. This is according to a EU based think tank. The reason are obvious, with the millions of Poles working in the UK there is a great demand on all level for this language.
Further, KPMG has asserted that Poland is one of the best places to develop and invest a business.
John Markman and Jim Jubak from MSN money, two top US investment managers as well as Templeton”s Mark Mobius recommends to explore emerging markets as this is where the real opportunities are in the future.
Go to Egypt or Greece for vacation, everyone is learning Polish or Russian as a foreign language, not Spanish for example. Go to the Austrian Alps skiing and signs are in Polish in the hotels. Forget Croatia in the summer it is a Polish tourist colony.
For there being so few Polish people they have had such a huge impact on history from the beginning in 966 to bringing down communism to disproportional number of Nobel prize winners. There is not way this nation is not the future. It is a great language to learn if you can get past the crazy grammar.
You say well I will double the number of people I can speak to if I learn Spanish. In my mind it serves no point unless you are passionate about this language. Why? I have traveled through South America and the Caribbeans and never had a problem with English. I am also from the US where large parts of the population is Spanish.
But I have never used Spanish. I study Spanish now because I like it, but not because it is useful. In fact, I have a Spanish website and really love this language, but it is not my first choice or the best choice if you were going to learn one more language. But to compare it is one of the easiest languages to learn.
Do not learn Spanish because you think it is some golden ticket, it is not.
Here is my rational, Polish is the top language because with Polish you will be an amazingly different. No other language can compare.
Polish is a unique language. It also the hardest language to learn. However, it will make you unique as is Ukrainian, Norwegian or even Romanian. It is also very useful as Polish people are everywhere, especially the UK, Brazil (1 million) Australia, US Poles are pretty much everywhere.
Polish people love to explore the world, not only for work, but like Wojciech Cejrowski, they are passionate all things cultural. I have been in the most remote places and met Polish speaking people, from South American jungles to Mississippi (now that is really remote).
Many businesses are outsourcing to Poland. Investment opportunities are in the new and emerging markets. Poland will be a net recipient of globalization for at least the next 15 years.
Poles are progressive. Do you think you can study French for a few years and be accepted by the French? No way. But Poland is a very progressive country and if you learn Polish, Poles will be more open then the French.
The best combination of languages to learn is – one universal language and one unique language
How do I know this and can go against conventional wisdom with confidence? I am an American and have been teaching languages in Europe for many years. My friends that have studied English and French or English and German get yawns from people on their CV when looking for a job or new opportunity. This combination of languages is nothing special. It is a generalist. However, my friends that know English and Polish or English and Norwegian, have doors open to them. They are experts and specialists.
One universal language like English and one unique language like Polish makes you stand out and shine if you are an English native speaker.
Language learning and relationships
Lets be honest and cut through the BS, countries like Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania and Iceland have the most beautiful women. If you were to learn one of these languages things might happen in terms of relationships.
If you are back in the USA checking your match.com account when you get home from the office hoping something will happen, guess again. If you are living in some exotic European country and speak their language, you might be surprised.
Best language to learn if you are a guy -A lot of my friends have made this comment: ‘there is no way I would marry a French or German or American woman’ . However, Polish women are the most beautiful women in the world. Hmm, I am living in Poland and I do not know if I want the rest of the world finding out about Polish women and then moving here, but it is true.
Disclaimer, I am also Polish in ancestry of course so perhaps I am partial.
Best language to learn if you are a girl – If you are a women, many women like Italian or Spanish guys, so these languages you might find more exciting.
I met an American girl in South America. She said she was 35 not married, a lawyer living in NYC. She said scr_w it and moved to South America, learned Spanish and got married. I do not know if she is still with this Latin musician but at least she had guts and dared to be different.
Should with languages is boring
My point is do not study a language that is common or you think you should. Have you ever noticed the word should sounds like the word S_ _ t. Never base your life on shoulds, especially other people’s conceptions. That is, do not listen to conventional wisdom as to what language you should speak.
Learn the language you have a connection to (ancestral), that is interesting for you. I think the less spoken languages will make you more unique and more interesting as a person, as a human. This is why I recommend you ignore conventional wisdom about the best language to learn in the world and consider what am conveying.
Best language to learn – I need your feedback
What languages have you studied and how has it affected your life? That is, what experience has this language brought you. Do you agree with my thesis that Polish (or some linguistically equivalent language) is the best language in the world to learn?