A foreign language is a language originally from another country. It is also a language not spoken in the native country of the person referred to.
If you think English is enough to communicate with anybody in this world, you are sadly misinformed. Statistically, the highest spoken foreign language in the world is Chinese with 20.7%, followed by English at 6.2%. That means that 93.8% of people do not speak English. This makes it necessary to learn another foreign language if you have to step outside India.
In general, it is believed that children have an advantage of learning a foreign language over adults. However, there are studies which have shown adult students are better at foreign language learning than child students. It is because adults have pre-existing knowledge of how grammar works, and a superior ability to memorize vocabulary.
Reasons to learn a foreign language:
- When you learn a new language, a completely new perspective opens up for you to view the world. You learn not just the grammar and pronunciation but you see the history of the part of the world from which the language comes. You can appreciate other cultures when you learn a foreign language. Your adaptability increases and you become open-minded.
- By learning a foreign language, you have an edge over others in terms of employment and academic opportunities. Now, which language will give you that ability is something that you need to decide.
- Research shows that young children who learn a foreign language at school level have a better understanding of their own mother tongue and clarity of thoughts. In addition, they show remarkable improvement in their grades compared to those who do not study a second language. Hence, learning a new language hones life skills.
- Apart from business and educational reasons, knowledge of an extra language always comes handy while travelling to a part of the world that speaks that tongue.
Popular choices of foreign languages in India
The most popular choice in India seems to be French, followed by Spanish, German, Chinese and Japanese. Many schools offer French as a language option right from 9th standard, followed by German. Other languages are learnt as an optional either at the collegiate level or out of personal interest and professional needs.
Ease of Learning
Spanish is the easiest language because its syntax, grammar and even the words are similar to that of English. It is the third most widely spoken language next to English. 5.6% of the world population speaks Spanish.
French occupies the second place. The pronunciations can be tricky, but the syntax is similar to English. French is the second highest learnt foreign language in the world and first in India.
Next in line is German. Takers for the German language are far low when compared to French or English due to its complex syntax and applicability. 1.8% of the world population speaks German. Germans have seen to have no inclination to learn any foreign language. Perforce, foreigners working or studying there need to learn German.
Chinese comes from a very different language root and hence takes time to learn. To understand a new language, it must have some similarity with a language that we know. Chinese is mostly learnt by students, business professionals and translators.
Though Chinese and Japanese look familiar, they are very different when spoken. Of the lot, the Japanese is the most difficult language to learn. Since the language does not have any significant reach in Europe and the Americas, only executives and interpreters learn Japanese for their jobs.
If you want to enhance your life and equip yourself, learn a new foreign language.