Top 30 Languages to learn for 2050

Map showing countries and autonomous subdivisi...

The Turkic linguation - to a greater or lesser extent mutually intelligible languages. However often not the preferred business languages of their regions, hence only 12th place in this economic utility-based prediction.

Here are my 2050 predictions, originally shared on :

1. Chinese (all types)
2. English (all types)
3. Arabic (all dialects)
4. Russian
5. Spanish (all types)
6. Japanese
7. German
8. French
9/10.Portuguese and Korean(if there is Korean unification, Korean takes the higher slot)
11. Italian
12. Turkish and mutually intellible forms of Turkic
13. Indic (all largely mutually intelligible types: Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, etc)
14. Dutch with Afrikaans
15. Bahasa (Malay with Indonesian)
16. Polish
17. Mutually intelligible Scandywegian
18. ex Serbo-Croat group
19. Hebrew
20 Phaasa Thai (all dialects, and with Lao)
21. Czech with Slovak
22. Swahili
23. Vietnamese
24. Ukrainian
25. Greek
26. Farsi (unless Iran ends up being on the receiving end of US “attention” in the way Iraq did, in which case I’d push it several spaces higher)
27. Romanian with Moldovan
28. Tagalog
29. Bulgarian
30. Armenian, unless it’s Pushtu.

Probably thirty’s enough.

This is by economic value, and the business and employment options that you would get from knowing the language. Populations speaking these languages as first languages would give an entirely different listing.

About David J. James

56 year old UK origin Chartered Accountant and business consultant who loves languages, literature, history, religion, politics, internet, vlogging and blogging and lively written or spoken discussion, plays backgammon and a few other board games. Walks and listens to Audible for hours a day usually, and avoids use of the car. Conservative Christian, married to an angel with advanced Multiple Sclerosis. We have three kids, two of them autistic, and we live in Warsaw, Poland. On the board of the main British-Polish charity Fundacja Sue Ryder in Poland, and involved in the Vocational Autistic School of "Nie Z Tej Bajki" in Warsaw. Member of Gideons International. Serves on two committees of the Chamber of Auditors in Poland, and on several Boards and Supervisory Boards. Has own consultancy called delivering business governance and audit/valuation solutions as well as mentoring. Author of the GoldList Method for systematic optimal use of the long-term memory in learning.

Posted on 24/02/2011, in Accounting, Business & Finance, Answers to your questions, GoldList Method, Languages and Linguistics, Learning Japanese and Chinese, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Loup Solitaire

    Population projections in 2050 give :

    1. Chinese (Mandarin) : around 850m to 1300m depending on the local languages strength
    2. Hindi (all dialects) : around 760m (if 42% of Indians rate is stable)
    2. French : 715m (official prediction, but highly depends of literacy rates improvements in French-speaking Africa)
    4. Spanish
    5. English
    6. Arab

    Chinese will be strong but it is not competing against English for international language status, it is competing against occident as a whole, as it is far easier to occidentals to learn English than Mandarin. Occidentals are more populous than Chinese, so it will depend on other Asian countries to tend to learn English or Mandarin, I see them learning Mandarin because China is closer geographically and culturally, and English is an exotic language to them, they’ve never been able to learn it correctly. This battle is kind of the telenovelas of the future years to come, passioning.

    For Hind, I doubt it will match Mandarin, except if the 42% ratio of Hindi speakers in India goes up and becomes a real national language, which is far from that currently.

    French may be big, it is currently the second most important language in the world in terms of culture (second Wikipedia in terms of content after English) and most learned language in the world after English, but its growth depends heavily on Africa’s development, and in 2050 will Africa be fully developped ? I’m not sure..

    English : should grow demographically and economically, but less than the rest of the world, English domination reached its peak and never go up again.

    Spanish has the potential to beat English, but it could take too long before Mandarin takes the lead.

    Arab… hum, I still don’t know if we can consider it as a language or several languages/dialects. Its wiki stats are currently under the other major languages (2.5 less users than French or German, and 2.8 less traffic than Portuguese), but it the language that has the best growth rate with Russian… So, that’s a mistery too me if the Arabic langue will be important or not.

    German : demography will be weak and they don’t have colonies, so I don’t think German will ever be important again, even if currently they’re reputed (industry).

    Same for Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Italian…


  2. How likely do you think Korean reunification and a US invasion of Iran are?


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