Choosing a second language is an important decision. It could offer higher professional efficiency, expand career prospects, help in foreign trade and political relations, open up exciting job opportunities, and enhance self image and positivity. No wonder there are thousands of hopefuls from every walk of life queuing up for second language courses in every country. However, the factors affecting the choice of second language vary from one person to another. There are various reasons behind selecting a specific foreign language and these are often prompted by different career and social goals.
Popular Second Language Choices
The choice of a second language varies across the world. There are many people who want to study English as the second language as it is slowly emerging as the dominant global language for communication, trade and commerce, scientific research, fashion, sports and media, and almost every other aspect of life. Naturally, non English natives are in the fray to master the language and become an active participant of change. French, German, Italian, and Spanish are also very popular foreign languages learned by a good number of people. These same languages are now being offered as a part of the school or university curriculum and students are learning these as compulsory second languages. This helps students prepare for their future.
Easy Second Languages to Learn
The difficulty level is a deciding factor in the choice of the foreign language to study. There are different language families and they share certain similarities in syntax, grammar, and vocabulary. There are even a few common words shared among them. While easier foreign languages are most often picked up by learners, more challenging ones need deeper training and longer hours of practice. Some of the easier languages for a native English speaker are German, French, Italian and Spanish. English and German are similar, while learning French makes Italian less complicated. French and Italian belong to the same class of Romance languages. However, Italian is more prominent in pronunciation and phonetics.
Difficult Second Languages
Many of the Asian and South Asian languages are particularly challenging to master. Notable among these are Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic. Chinese splits up into different regional variants like Cantonese, Mandarin, and Manchurian. There are thousands of sounds and symbol based alphabets and it is one laborious task to earn a second language certificate or diploma in Chinese. Korean too uses pictorial scripts and taxes the brain of the learner. In a similar vein, Japanese is heavy and involves learning language and word signs. Learning Arabic is a whole new experience since the entire script runs opposite to many other internationally recognized languages. Mastering its pronunciations and grammar is also tricky.
However, the top Asian languages are touted as the languages of the future and if you want to study a foreign language for professional advancement, Asian languages are a better choice.
Those who haven’t yet decided which second language to study should take into account both their passion for the language and its practical applications. Their own learning capabilities also give to the second language learning success.