Most Useful/Popular languages for Careers
Chinese must be included because of the mass population of 1 billion+ in China.
In most countries like Korea, English must be included for learning purposes and because most of North America speaks it. Also for traveling it is useful.
Why French is so popular I don't know because only a few countries speak it natively like France.
Apparently Spanish is now a really popular language because now various countries keep it up and running.
Note: There are definitely more languages but this is a small convo. Thank you for reading!
France is spoken as a lingua Franca among many African countries because of colonization and the simple fact that is offers opportunities to receive an education abroad. In fact my sister wanted at one time to go abroad to France for college because some universities there offer free or cheaper but good education to students from abroad. (I don’t know much about it but I do know that Europe is very famous for their educational systems).
Spanish is the the second or third most spoken language in the world depending on if you include 2nd language speakers. I haven’t been to a Spanish-speaking country but I’ve certainly had to use it a few times just on the streets and in stores! Also Arabic is very valuable to learn because it’s apparently one of the hardest languages to speak and it’s spoken by just about as many countries as the ones that speak Spanish. Honestly if I’d choose any job I’d like to be a English-Spanish-Arabic translator just because those languages get a lot of demand for translation.
A company I worked for was doing business in Japan. If someone on the US side knew Jappanese they would have been the golden child. It seems to me that the key to career usability would be knowing two languages where there are few people, in your particular area of expertise, who can speak both languages. I have not seen this question adresssed in this way.
One study has compared earnings of US college graduates who can speak a foreign language vs those who can't. They find that those who can, earn on average about 2% more per year. By language they found that:
"The returns to speaking German are 3.8 percent, while they are 2.3 for speaking French and 1.5 for speaking Spanish."
See pages 11-12 of the study here: https://www.phil.frb.org/-/media/research-and-data/publications/working-papers/2002/wp02-16.pdf
Based upon exports, largest trading countries are China, USA, Germany, Japan, South Korea, France (from Wikipedia).
So I guess learning Chinese, German, French (Japanese, Korean) would be useful for work
Most widely spoken languages in the world would be Chinese, Spanish, Arabic.
Spanish is widely spoken in South, Central and North America - and parts of Europe. Useful in farming industry.
Mandarin Chinese is spoken in Mainland China, Taiwan and probably parts of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Maybe useful in manufacturing industry.
Arabic is spoken in Northern Africa, Middle East, Eastern parts of Africa and so on. Maybe useful for working in the oil industry.
I am learning French mostly for business. The US (and my company) does a tremendous amount of business in Canada and I spend a fair amount of time in Quebec Province. Most people in Montreal and Quebec speak French and English, but they generally prefer French. Just making the effort to speak French is appreciated. When you get into more rural areas of Quebec you will find more people that don't speak English (my experience anyway).
I would probably do well to learn Mandarin as well, but that would probably mean that I would be spending more time in China which I don't care for due to the pollution. I will probably move to Spanish next.
I can only say why French appeals to me. I love it because when I heard it I wanted to understand it. I've never had that kind of reaction to any other language. It's a strange feeling to be willing to start from square one. French is alot of ppl second language because it empowers ppl to embrace another culture.