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If you had to choose... [Game]

Let's say that you can learn any language instantly for some miraculous reason. The catch is, you can learn only 15 languages. This doesn't include your native language. You decided to learn a certain language from every major language group plus a few extra. What languages would you choose and why?

The groups: Romance, Germanic, Slavic, Uralic, Semitic, Bantu, Sino-Tibetan, Turkic, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, 3 language isolates, any one language in the Americas and a random language from any family.

Honestly don't be afraid to do your research and explain why you would or wouldn't choose a particular language. Remember the choices don't have to include your native language.

August 25, 2017


  • Romance: Spanish, because I love the Spanish culture and Spanish speaking countries
  • Germanic: German, I've had two Germanic languages forced down my throat, German is the largest that hasn't been.
  • Uralic: Northern Sami, because of Lapland and it's the third official language in Finland
  • Slavic: Slovak, it's the best sounding Slavic language in my opinion and the country isn't bad either.
  • Semitic: Arabic, one of the major languages of the world
  • Bantu: Makhuwa, I had to choose one and Northern Mozambique would be an exotic place to visit
  • Sino-Tibetan: Mandarin, the most spoken language in the world
  • Turkic: Uzbek, to get more out of Samarkand if nothing else
  • Indo-Aryan: Maldivian, the script and the ocean
  • Iranian: Kurdish, one of the largest minority groups where I live
  • Isolate 1: Basque, a European isolate is a rarity and it combines nicely with my love for Spain
  • Isolate 2: Mapudungun, there aren't that many isolates that aren't endangered and while I would like to see them preserved, me learning one on the other side of the world doesn't make much of difference, so I'm picking one that is somewhat healthy and I'd like to visit Chile someday
  • Isolate 3: Korean, see above, by far the largest option
  • Americas: Quechua, how many times do I have to mention Spanish and South America? One of the largest Native American languages and grammatically interesting.
  • Random: Greek, the history, the country, pretty much everything


Love this idea! Wish it was real!

1: English, as it is the second most spoken language. Indo European

2: Mandarin Chinese, as it is the first. Sino-Tibetan

3: Spanish, as it is the third most spoken. Romance

4: Brazilian Portuguese. Romance

5: Italian. Romance.

6: Guarani. Random.

7: German. Germanic.

8: Japanese. Japonic.

9: French. Romance.

10: Afrikaans. Indo-European.

11: Romanian. Romance.

12: Russian. Slavic.

13: Swedish. Germanic.

14: Vietnamese. Austroasiatic? No idea what that is, I just looked it up.

15: Arabic. Semitic.


Okay here's my list just because I can:

Romance: Spanish. It's widely spoken and you can understand many other Romance languages knowing one. (sorry Italian, although I can pretty much understand quite a bit of Italian just by knowing Spanish)

Germanic: Swedish. <3

Slavic: Czech. It sounds really nice and I like the country.

Uralic: Hungarian. For the same reasons as Czech

Semitic: Arabic. Because it's pretty!

Bantu: Zulu. Because of the sounds and also it's actually pretty useful.

Sino-Tibetan: Mandarin. Because Taiwan.

Turkic: Kazakh. It seems pretty interesting.

Indo-aryan: Hindi. Because it's spoken by a lot of people.

Iranian: Farsi. I just love the way it sounds!

Isolate 1: Korean is my top pick.

Isolate 2: Japanese! :)

Isolate 3: Greek. I like Greek things, including the history.

Native American: Mohawk is by far my favorite.

Random: Welsh. :D

  1. Italian because it's nice, and I speak Spanish as a native.
  2. Icelandic. Its vowel system is crazy!
  3. One of the Serbo-Croatian languages. I can't decide which one.
  4. Finnish. <3
  5. MSA.
  6. Swahili
  7. Tibetan. Imagine being able to crack that insane writing system. Plus I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
  8. Kazakh. Маған қазақша ұнайды!
  9. Hindi
  10. Pashto
  11. Basque
  12. Bolivian Quechua (It's my heritage language, does that count as one that I can't choose?)
  13. ?
  14. ?
  15. East Circassian (Kabardian) - Oh my god I love this language. But it's hell, so if I could instantly learn it, I would do it with no questions asked.


1-English 2-Japanese 3-Norwegian 4-Russian 5-Polish 6-Korean 7-Latin 8-Arabic 9-Danish 10-Finnish 11-Icelandic 12-Lithuanian 13-Belarussian 14-French 15-Spanish








Chinese (Mandarin)











Have I mentioned how much I love your challenges like this? Because I really do...

Here are my choices, which were incredibly difficult. I wouldn't have thought that it would be that hard to choose 15 languages, but there you go.

  1. Romance - Romanian (I'm not counting French as an option, because I speak it pretty fluently as a second language already)
  2. Germanic - German
  3. Slavic - Polish
  4. Uralic - Hungarian
  5. Semitic - Amharic (I love Arabic, but I'm fascinated by this one)
  6. Bantu - Zulu
  7. Sino-Tibetan - Tibetan
  8. Turkic - Turkish (this is only because I can't count Mongolian as Turkic, although they're related)
  9. Indo-Aryan - Punjabi
  10. Iranian - Persian/ Farsi
  11. Isolate - Japanese*
  12. Isolate - Korean*
  13. Isolate - Basque (ancestors from a long way back)
  14. American - Navajo
  15. Random - Lithuanian

I see that some people are defining "isolates" as single languages within a larger group like IE, in which case I'd trade off either Japanese or Korean for Albanian.


I don't know much about most of these language families. I've only really studied the Germanic, Slavic, and Uralic families, other than that, my knowledge is rather limited. But I'll try :

Language families I know a bit about :

  • Romance : French, sounds nice and it's widely spoken ( Romanian was a close second )
  • Germanic : If Norwegian was more widely spoken and if everyone who spoke it didn't already speak fluent English, I would've went with it. But that's not the case, so I'll go with German instead.
  • Russian : Too much amazing Russian culture to not choose Russian.
  • Uralic : Karelian, ever since I've started my tedious journey of learning Karelian, my fascination for it has been ever growing.

Language families I don't know much about :

  • Semitic : Hebrew ( Amharic being a close second )
  • Indo-Aryan : Gujarati, I tried learning it once
  • Sino-Tibetan : Taiwanese, to understand all my weird Taiwanese bootleg games...

Language families I hardly know anything about :

  • Iranian : Kekish, I'm sure about this one.
  • Turkic : Turkish ( Kazakh being a close second )

I don't know much about isolates, so I'll go with the obvious

  • Isolate 1 : Korean ( I'd go with Japanese, but I'm not sure if it's an isolate or not )
  • Isolate 2 : Basque
  • Isolate 3 : Ainu

I'm clueless when it comes to indigenous American languages, but I guess I'd go with any of the Inuit languages ( mostly located in the North America Arctic ).

Random : I'll put Norwegian right here since I left it out before.


This is a fun game! Let's see.

  1. Romanic: French. I'm a spanish native speaker, I know Italian a little, so French is the language that I know less. Besides, its pronuntiation is so difficult! It would be great learn it instantly.
  2. Germanic: Norwegian. It's the reason why I joined this site. Someday I want to live in Norway. Cold winters, quiet people (I think haha), fantastic music.
  3. Uralic: Finnish. Because it's part of the scandinavian countries and it's a agglutinative language; you can express so many things with just one word! It was a difficult decision because I had to discard the Hungarian.
  4. Semitic: Arabic. It's spoken in many countries.
  5. Bantu: Chichewa. I know nothing about this family. I looked it up and I found that chichewa it's spoken in four countries of Africa.
  6. Sino-Tibetan: Mandarin chinese, a very important in this days.
  7. Turkic: Tartar. No reason behind.
  8. Indo-Aryan: Hindi. It would be very useful.
  9. Iranian: Persian. Same reason that Hindi and Arabic.
  10. Isolate 1: Mapudungun. It's a language that it should be teached in my country (Chile) but it doesn't. Colonization and evangelization left deep scars here and this is one of them.
  11. Isolate 2: Kawésqar (Alacalufe). An endangered agglutinative language of Chile. As scarcerer said before, "me learning one [...] doesn't make much of difference", especially with a language that it has less than twenty speakers. But at least I could left something to others can learn about this language.
  12. Isolate 3: Japanese. I would like to visit Japan.
  13. Americans: Quechua. Another one of my continent. Beautiful and quite spoken.
  14. Slavic: Bulgarian. No reason behind.
  15. Random: Hungarian. Because I couldn't choose it in the Uralic before.

It was a challenge to write this for two reasons. It was difficult to choose just fifteen languages among so many. And the other reason is because my english level is not so high yet, but this was useful as a fun practice!


Love this challenge. I grew up natively bilingual in two languages (which I will not name now) so I've got those to rule out.

  1. Spanish
  2. French
  3. Portuguese
  4. Arabic
  5. German
  6. Japanese
  7. Korean
  8. Russian
  9. Romanian
  10. Italian
  11. Catalan
  12. Greek
  13. Thai
  14. Turkish
  15. Vietnamese


I wouldn't take it. I enjoy learning a language as much or even more than knowing a language.

  1. Spanish

  2. French

  3. German

  4. Norwegian

  5. Slovak

  6. Romanian

  7. Armenian

  8. Frisian

  9. Kurdish

  10. Uzbek

  11. Lithuanian

  12. Hindi or Persian

  13. Romansh

  14. Albanian

  15. Tibetan


oooh this is interesting. romance: would say spanish but that is my native language, so french.

germanic: german! i'm already learning german currently.

uralic: hungarian, cause hungary is cool and finland does not exist.

slavic: i'd say russian as it is more useful, but i'm going to say czech because i would love to go to prague some day.

semitic: arabic, definitely.

bantu: xhosa

sino-tibetan: mandarin. i would love it if duolingo made a mandarin course. i really like chinese culture but mandarin seems pretty hard to learn.

turkic: turkish

indo-aryan: hindi.

iranian: persian.

isolate one: basque!! i am primarily of basque ancestry and would love to learn more about the culture.

isolate two: korean. seoul seems pretty cool. and if tensions with north korea get worse then korean may be useful.

isolate three: japanese. i know japanese is sometimes considered to be a part of the japonic language family, but i'm going to treat it as an isolate. i would love visiting japan someday.

americas: navajo.

random: plautdietsch, if you consider it a separate language from german. if not, dutch. the netherlands ♡

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