Top 3 Useful Foreign Languages for Business Excludes Spanish

Sep 1, 2011 11:16am

What are the top three most useful languages for business after English? Surprisingly, Spanish didn’t make the cut despite being the official language of 20 countries and spoken by over 329 million people, according to Bloomberg Rankings.

Not surprisingly, Mandarin Chinese is the most useful language for business after English, spoken by 845 million people in the world’s second-largest economy, China.

French (no. 2) and Arabic (no. 3) follow, with Spanish ranking fourth.  Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Italian, Korean, and Turkish followed.

To create the list, Bloomberg Rankings identified the 25 languages with the greatest number of native speakers, then narrowed the list to the 11 official languages of  G20 countries, excluding those that designated English.

French is spoken by 68 million people worldwide and the official language of 27 nations. Arabic, which is spoken by 221 million people, is the official language in 23 nations, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg notes their list differs from the top foreign languages studied in U.S. colleges in 2009 from the Modern Language Association, published in December 2010.

Spanish topped that list with 864, 986 enrollments, dwarfing French which followed next with 216, 419 (no. 2), German (no. 3), American Sign Language (no. 4), Italian (no. 5), Japanese (no. 6), Chinese (no. 7), Arabic (no. 8), Latin (no. 9) and Russian (no. 10).

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