Language fashions

There seem to be fashions in which languages people choose to learn and in which languages are in demand by employers. Some languages, notably French, German and Spanish, are perennial favorites, at least in English-speaking countries. Other languages may enjoy popularity for a while, then are displaced by different ones. In the UK there are increasing numbers of people learning Chinese and Japanese, and Spanish is also gaining more followers, particularly among adult learners. In the USA there is currently a significant demand for people with Arabic language skills.

During the Cold War, many of the inhabitants of Eastern European had to learn Russian at school, a language few of them felt much affection for. Since the collapse of the USSR, other languages have become popular, particuarly English and German. And according to Radio Polonia, Russian has been making a come back in Poland recently.

Which languages are popular in your country?

Sources: www.cilt.org.uk, www.vistawide.com

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This entry was posted in Language, Language learning.

11 Responses to Language fashions

  1. Ashëa says:

    I live in the US in the state of California. Spanish is by far the most commonly studied here due to the large population of Latinos. I attend an art school that teaches Spanish, French and Italian, and they intend to add Japanese to the list for the sake of all the 3D animators here. Japanese has become increasingly popular in the Pacific states.

  2. TJ says:

    Here of course the most popular one is english, as a second language. When I learnt few german, seems that my friend some times tend to say some german words for me even though sometimes they dont know whats the real meaning of it actually!!!

  3. In Texas, it would definitely be Spanish. Seeing as how some 35% of the population is Spanish-speaking anyway, that’s not too surprising.

  4. Suze says:

    I went to school in British Columbia and inevitably the #1 foreign language in school was French. #2 was German, although my school also offered Chinese and Punjabi (both large communities in Vancouver, but I don’t remember anyone outside the communities taking the languages).

    My father was of Polish origin, and in recent years I’ve made a few visits to Poland. English is by far the #1 foreign language in Polish schools, and for #2 you could essentially draw a line down the country running north/south through Warsaw. East of that line it’s Russian, west it’s German.

  5. Jared says:

    I live in the US, Washington State, and Spanish is very popular here. Since Hispanics are a pretty big minority in this country, this makes sense, and Washington is a coastal state with a large immigrant population anyway; I’d guess Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Asian languages are popular as well, since Seattle is known (in some circles at least) as the Gateway to Asia. It has a fairly large Asian population at least

  6. Benjamin says:

    In Germany, English is the language that is learned most, since everyone has to learn it either as the first or second foreign language. Second is most probably French as the typical second foreign language in school. Then come Italian and Spanish, as possible third foreign languages.

    That’s what I know from my school, in other regions, e.g. near the border the respective neighboring language might be common as well. Thus I’d say, that in the eastern parts might learn a slavic language like Polish or Czech, while in the northern regions it’ll be Danish or Dutch. However, I don’t think that in any way these languages are more popular than French.

    Apart from that, you can also feel a tendency to far eastern languages in Germany. I myself am going to study Sinology/Chinese and some of my former class mates learnt Japanese in evening classes. Yet, everyone is declared as crazy, when trying to learn Chinese/Japanese, because it’s said to be hard. And well – it is! ;-)

  7. Mike says:

    In China, Korean is becoming steadily more popolar, along with Japanese. For the increasing population of Koream merchants, students and immigrates, Korean is proving to be the third, perhaps second important language.

  8. Zachary R. says:

    Well, it’s really hard to tell for a multicultural country such as Canada. English and French are without a doubt the main spoken languages. There is no problem with spoken English, but French isn’t as appealing to English speakers, since there isn’t a huge necessity for it (especially in the West). But French isn’t a foreign language, so apart from that…

    Where I am from (Ontario), Spanish would be dominant, since it is picking up momentum in the United-States. It is a language that is widely taught in schools as a third language. Other than that, Mandarin and Cantonese are the other most spoken languages, since there are strong Chinese communities and a lot of new people wanting to learn them through special language schools.

  9. Sam says:

    I live in a city in Ohio with a large Italian-American population, so Italian is popular in high schools and adult education classes. Spanish is still the #1 choice in schools, with French being a fairly distant second choice.

  10. Barbara says:

    I agree. I live in Poland and I met a lot of young people learning Russian lately. However, English is still dominating other languages. Since I know Russian, sometimes I translate on http://www.translatorsbase.com for free (there is a free translation section) just for fun, and I noticed that the number of requests is still increasing which means that this language becomes more popular and used by people.

  11. T-Moor says:

    Well, in Uzbekistan after gaining independence in 1991 from the USSR the most popular language was English, but now after our re-established relations with Russia, the Russian language is coming back. It is widely used among the high officials and elite of the country, there are even Uzbeks, who can’t speak Uzbek, but have the Russian as their mother tongue.