The Six Languages to Learn

The Six Languages to Learn
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 6, 2007

There is debate about which languages to learn, these six would be a good start of the 6812 or so languages out there to be annoyed you cannot understand.

I really need to stop reading the online Encyclopedia as it is amazing how little I know about the plant earth. Yesterday, I was all excited browsing around on the Francophone page and thinking about Anglophone and Anglosphere and all sorts of fun maps and things, when I ran across what the United Nations considers the Six Official Languages

The UN has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
Stop Quote

Therefore, to continue with my lesson in Humility and other self-floggings, I decided to try to find a map of all 6 bigger language groups.

So what do I learn about, I now am more positive I know very little, I only have about 1.5 percent of the six big language managed, what a drag, just when I was thinking I knew something, I get slapped back down to reality, the world is bigger than me.

When I see the big picture, the small picture fades away.

This is the Francophone world or the countries that have a big influence by the French Language.

English world or the Anglophone or Angloshere.

The Chinese are coming, do not ignore them, this is a culture that is ancient and thriving.

Arab or Arabic Culture and language, they had a bigger influence in history and not are sort at a standstill. Dubai is trying and Jordan is trying they seem somewhat hogtied by their terrorist problem. The have too much money, however do not seem to put the pieces together.

Probably the last on the list of my want to learn languages sort of like learning to not smile. Some people say, I should do this, I think more about what I should not do, and am happy to remove some off the list of should.

I think Russia has white girls, you know how long it been since I hung around with white women. I keep thinking about the Beatle and back in the USSR… I do not know Russia.

Spanish, I know Spanish.

Ok I get a 1 for Spanish and I am one-half for French, I am only a 1.5 out of a number of 6, so back to work.

The Six Languages to Learn


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At first glance, I noticed and am sort of surprised that three countries with significant populations and economies are excluded on the UN official languages maps.

Germany (German), Japan (Japanese), & Brazil (Portuguese).

There's a push to make Hindi the seventh language, but not these other three?

World Population Rank:
Brazil #5
Japan #10
Germany #14

GDP Nominal Rank:
Japan #2
Germany #3
Brazil #14

I suppose if I looked real close I'd find others. I also think that those 3 languages don't really span multiple countries quite like the 6 languages shown do, and might be a reason they aren't so "official".



Surely you get 2.5 because you speak English?

Ash, you are right, 2.5.

Germany is almost a zero on the need to learn languages of the world. Japan the same.

Portuguese though is big, but really comes under the French and Spanish or Latino influence.

The Sphere of Influence of these languages and the fuzzy nature of language is here. The UN has the right languages.

Hindi is huge, but the India people want to speak English so why make it more complicated. Japan is a very racist country, they do not go spread out like the Chinese.

Hmmm China Town...

This list is pretty good if you wanted to talk in most countries on the planet. But really English is great except for French Africa.

German is big in the USA because 23-6 percent of the country is German. However, the rest of the planet does not have German on the list of languages to Learn. French is lucky because of Africa and really French needs to remain as it represents Africa.

All of Asia is studying English as a second language. Here in West Africa the youth are switching to English as they see that French is to universal language of business or commmerce, English is the language of the world.

All the Spanish people learn English as a second language. German is good in Germany, not much more, a couple of colonies in Africa.

Hi Andy,

Just wanted to say I love the blog. I'm new to this myself, but I enjoy reading your analysis.

Although population-wise German might not be a useful language, the business climate is ripe in that area of central Europe. Switzerland, Austria and Germany all have bustling economies--but I'm biased I guess.

I want to learn so many languages. I guess French is up next for me.

Anyways, keep up the good work. Check out my adventures in Germany if you ever get bored.


If I was in the Auto Industry I would learn German, Portugese and Japanese. I am the job of wandering the planet and these are correct.

But I think the huge money is to get in on the ground floor of the new China and India.

Note, Arabic would be better to learn to write it than to talk it, as I believe it all stays the same in writing, but the spoke is different.

As best I can see there is more Islamic signs and Arabic here in Togo and Togo was a former half colony of Germany.

This is for muse, for FUN, I found a dictionary of Ewe, I may learn some Ewe to talk with the locals here in Togo.

I speak English and soon French, with French, English and Spanish I have little need to learn more.

Chinese would be good though, the Arabs these English.

That's a good point about Europeans drawing support from Muslim nations. I wholeheartedly agree.

While Europe has much to offer, some of the unfounded criticism of the US takes us a step in the wrong direction, I feel. But it's all good for developing stronger dialogue I suppose.

Thanks for visiting the can pretty much count on me being a regular around here now. I hope you'll come back


In defence of German: German is the 3rd most popular foreign language world-wide (after English and French). It is the most popular foreign language in Japan and the second language of the internet. Finally, it is one of the most "neutral" of studied foreign languages (i.e. two speakers communicating in German, it being a native language for neither one).

I think a very good complement to this kind of sites is to practise with a real teacher like in Linkua, live language tutoring. Classes are done via videoconference

I have seen the map of anglophone countries. But I want to let you people know that, Cameroon speaks English and French. My country speaks both English and French on equal proportions. We are a bilingual country. So you should add Cameroon on the list of english speaking countries.

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