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How many people do you think these 3 languages reach?


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This is indeed a wrong concept, IMHO.

It really depends on where you go. If you are in Vietnam, you should learn Vietnamese.

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wushijiao

As far as Spanish, estimates are about 388,000,000 people, according to Ethnologue, 417,000,000 if including second-language users.

With Chinese (putonghua), it's about 800,000,000 million with more than 1,000,000,000 second language users.

English 1st 340,000,000/ 2nd 508,000,000.

So if you take those numbers:

388,000,0000

1,000,000,000

508,000,000

--------------

total: 1,896,000,000

or

about 31% of the world's total.

Of course, in the future Spanish is likely to increase somewhat. Chinese, or more specifically, putonghua, will increase in the PRC. It will also increase its 2nd language speakers as more people in Asia and the world study it. Yet the rise of English is what is really amazing. I'd be interested to see how fast English grows in the next decade or two. I bet the 2nd language speakers will grow to well over a billion.

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Those are actually the three languages I know, more or less, along with a smattering of French. They serve me well. Spanish is spoken in most of Latin America, and it is a place to start from when speaking other Romance languages, except perhaps French. A lot of people speak Chinese, obviously, so that is useful, too. Having said that, pazu is pretty much right about it depending on where you go. I learned Spanish because I lived in the Dominican Republic, and I learned Chinese because I wanted to go to China and I thought the language was interesting. English is probably best as a general-purpose language. After that pick what languages interest you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Agree with woodcutter, I was going to say the same thing: the simple fact is that if you travel round the world you *need* English.

Let's not forget that it's still the lingua franca in India, a country of 1 billionish, even if you're only talking about the educated people and the people who do business.

The idea that there are only 500 million 1st+2nd language speakers of English in the world strikes me as ludicrous. You have 300 million in America, then there's Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand - must be what, 400-450 mill already? Then add in the speakers in India. No idea exactly but it's got to be quite big. Then the huge swathes of educated people in Europe who speak English as a second language. The Caribbean, several African countries, the list goes on...

I'd guess a billion+ also.

I have smatterings of French, Russian and Portuguese (well the latter sadly defunct), so if I get some Chinese, and if I'd learnt Spanish instead of Portuguese, I think I'd be OK anywhere :)

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The three languages mentioned obviously have the largest number of speakers and English and Spanish are the most widely spoken in terms of geographical spread or number of countries. Mandarin may have the largest number of speakers but its use is more or less confined to China and Taiwan.

Worldwide there are probably about a dozen languages that dominate and are leading to the loss of minor languages. To the above three add Arabic, Russian, French, Portuguese, German, Indonesian/Malay, Russian, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali and Swahili. (Maybe another one or two for this list.)

I don't think there is any danger that English or Mandarin will "take over the world" but the above mentioned languages will increasingly dominate at the expense of other languages.

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Though there's a big increase of english dominance, can they really communite with each other well?

i met a group of internationals (korean, thais, australian, british) in Samui, Thailand just a few days ago, we all chatted in english. While i can understand very well about what my asian new friends talked about, some natvie speakers repeatedly asked 'Do u understand what they're saying?' Even funny, they also often can't understand the english spoken by a driver, and i took a strange position to 'translate' it to them.

How funny! It really emerges a new english language that is often with simple vocab, confusing grammar, slow in speech. You hardly find any assiminlations and have to be highly tolerant of wrong pronounciation to understand them.

This is the language, alike english, that gets real popular thoughout the world.

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Bamboo Grove

All countries have their own intonation when they speak other than their native languages. Here in Thailand it's called "Thinglish". For example in Thai language there is never a consonant after a diftong. So the words: like, lime, line, light, life, lie, lies, lights are all pronounced like "lie" (phonetically all the words in the example would be written "ai" instead of the "i", thus the diftong.

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Bamboo Grove

Native English to me is a very controversial thing. Just think about all the different accents in use. Somebody from Glasgow, Scotland and from Dallas, U.S.A. could well be speaking different languages. :lol:

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  • 5 months later...
Jack MacKelly

the thing about Spanish is that it has a long history and connections to other regions much like many other Asian or European languages. If you know Spanish there is a very good chance that others from Portugal, France or Italy may be able to understand you and many Spainsh speakers can also understand other European languages. Spanish is the real neo-Latin language derived from the Latin of Roman merchants, soldiers and travelers. The Castilian is a very strong language, the roots coming from the period of Roman conquest, it is the most widely spoken of the Romace languages and there is a strong chance that French people or Portugese will also be able to understand a good deal of Spanish.

Spanish are very proud of their language, in the USA some administrations have tried to push down Spanish in the past and promote English better but it hasn't worked, Spanish and other languages like Italian or Chinese stay strong in the US ethnic communities.

In Spain although the cities are often multi-cultural go outisde the major Capital and cities and almost nobody speaks foreign languages like English, German....Spanish looks like it will stay strong for sometime

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  • 2 weeks later...

Japanese is spoken in 60% of animations in the world. I'd say it's lingua franca of the animation world. Something like half the stuff on Cartoon Network was originally Japanese. That's why I'm studying Japanese.

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You should consider learning Russian. It's closer to its Indo-European roots than other languages in the same family like English or Romanian. This, admittedly, is not a very good reason to begin learning it, but it's interesting, isn't it? Besides, if you know Russian, it will be easier for you to learn other Slavic languages. Three genders, six cases, and oodles of fun. :D

PS: Sorry for participating in the resurrection of a fairly dead thread.

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Hmm, as a russian native speaker, I would advise one to consider learning russian only if that person were very fascinated with russia. It can also be a useful language to know, if one plans to live and work in one of the former USSR countries.

Other than that, I am not sure how practical it is to learn russian. It is a rich language, but as with any rich language, it's grammar is quite intricate. I would also add that russian is much more difficult to learn to speak than it is to read, whereas other languages might be the opposite.

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Sunyata, русский язык для тебя родной? Классно! Откуда ты? Я учу русский язык где-то 4-5 лет самостоятельно, честно, очень его люблю :D Хотя это правда, говорить по-русский намного труднее, чем читать на русском. Я сам говорю с очень сильным акцентом(почему-то говорят, что у меня "узбекский" акцент).

About learning it, it's true that it's not very practical. :( But...it's fun!

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Ух ты! Молодец, хорошо говоришь (ну, по крайней мере, пишишь :mrgreen: )

Я вообще-то из Петербурга, но сейчас живу в Америке. А ты откуда? Не из Узбекистана случайно? :D

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