The 5 Fastest Growing Languages You Can Learn in 2024
There’s no doubt that English is a widely spoken and studied language across the world.
But its standing is challenged by other rapidly growing languages.
According to the Engco Forecasting Model, the five fastest-growing languages in the world share one core characteristic: they’re each projected to have the most speakers by 2050 based on population and economic data.
As new global markets emerge or established ones expand, the importance of being multilingual cannot be overstated. Meanwhile, languages spoken by increasingly populous or diverse regions open doors for new relationships and opportunities—if you have the communication skills to take advantage.
So if you’re asking yourself, “what language should I learn?” choosing a growing language may just be your answer.
In this post, I’ll walk you through five of the fastest-growing languages in the world and the benefits of learning each one.
1. Mandarin Chinese
Current Speakers: 1.1 billion
Mandarin Chinese has a reputation for being incredibly difficult to learn, which can be intimidating to many second-language learners.
What ups the intimidation factor for Mandarin is the language’s use of pictograms, rather than phonetic writing. But did you know that the language is actually much simpler grammatically than what English speakers are used to in their own language? For example, there’s no verb conjugation for different tenses.
Why should Mandarin’s growth matter to you?
In 2015, China overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. While that may freak some people out, language learners will recognize this as an opportunity to further both their personal and professional growth in one fell swoop. The enormous markets with which China enters the global economy span industries such as trade, international finance and international consulting, to name a few.
Finally, even as the technology industry booms and seeks to bridge language barriers with computerized translations, the CEO of one of the largest tech giants in the world still found it valuable to study Mandarin Chinese.
Have a look at this blog post explaining the basics of the Chinese language for complete beginners:
Current Speakers: 833.5 million
By 2030, India is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country. Hindi and Urdu are two of the country’s major languages and have been gaining momentum as languages to learn because of India’s emerging international presence in the literary, art and cinematic scenes, among others.
Why should Hindi-Urdu’s growth matter to you?
If you’re a lover of history, art or culture, Hindi-Urdu should be at the top of your list.
India has a turbulent history of colonialism and the impact of British rule on the country’s psyche will be evident to second-language learners who pursue further learning in the country’s native languages. You’ll gain a perspective on the country’s history that’s often barely covered or left out of Western curricula.
India’s art and traditions also hold increasing sway over Western culture, as this article from New Geography indicates. If you’re passionate about anything from yoga to Bollywood films, Hindi-Urdu is a good option.
And of course, as with the other languages on this list, India’s prominence as a world power makes it an attractive option for language learners who are interested in joining growing business markets at the front of the line.
Check out what other languages are spoken in Asia:
Current Speakers: 559.1 million
Time-tested and true, this is one language whose popularity won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and for good reason. Its relevance in the business world only continues to grow with countries like Costa Rica establishing themselves as top vacation and retirement spots for U.S. citizens.
The language spans two continents, the North, Central and South Americas, and the industries and fields that a Spanish speaker can go into or further their career in are innumerable.
Why should Spanish’s growth matter to you?
As hinted above, Spanish is a way to open new doors in a stagnant career! Many employers have recognized the usefulness and importance of Spanish, particularly in global business and consulting markets. The importance and value of an American employee who can fluently navigate English and Spanish cannot be understated, and the potential for international travel may increase with the acquisition of the Spanish language.
For example, those in the education or medical fields will find a need for their skillsets overseas!
Ready to give it a go? This blog post has everything you need to start learning Spanish:
Check out this video where you can learn about the most important languages of the next 30 years:
Current Speakers: More than 321 million
This one is perhaps unsurprising and already a popular choice for second-language learners around the world. But did you know that by choosing French you’re choosing a language that’s predicted to be spoken by 750 million people by 2050?
And those people aren’t just French.
It’s a common misconception that learning another language is only relevant if you plan on visiting or moving to the country for which it’s named (in this case, France). However, French is growing in developing regions like sub-Saharan Africa, and as language learning often goes hand-in-hand with wanderlust, French could just be the key that opens new adventures.
Why should French’s growth matter to you?
For the business-minded undergrad or working professional, French is a “truly global language,” according to The Economist, which can give your career a significant boost. You’ll have a common language with people from Vietnam to Morocco to Switzerland, and you’ll be equipped to converse with clients and business partners from both established and emerging markets.
If you want to learn French, check out this step-by-step guide:
Current Speakers: 274 million
You might not realize how widely spoken Arabic already is and it’s also been deemed the fastest growing language within the U.S. and even the fastest growing language on the internet.
Why should Arabic’s growth matter to you?
Learning a language is, by extension, learning about a culture. It’s impossible to learn a language to fluency without communicating with native speakers, listening to their media or reading their literature.
Did you know that Middle Eastern cultures, where Arabic is widely spoken, pride themselves on their hospitality and have a history of being gracious hosts? This is just one tidbit of many to take into account when considering learning Arabic.
Furthermore, because of the shortage of people in the Western world who speak Arabic, learning it can automatically make you a standout in any job market or field.
All of these facts marry to create an especially ripe stomping ground for multilingual business people, journalists and politicians—these are industries that’ll be key in the growth of Arabic in the coming years.
You can learn Arabic in your free time with these apps:
Whichever language you choose to learn (or for a really zany idea, try learning multiple languages at once!), taking the initiative to learn a second language is a wonderful opportunity to undertake a cultural study as well.
You can get started with a language learning program like FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Shared language is an incredible bonding agent between people, which is especially relevant to remember in a world as closely linked as ours is today.
In addition, taking the time to educate yourself on the fastest-growing languages in the world will help you take advantage of unique professional opportunities.
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)