Academic Resources

Foreign Languages
Why is it important to study foreign languages?
  1. Helps develop cognitive skills - In short, learning languages helps you do better in your other classes. Learning languages helps increase listening ability, memory, creativity and critical thinking - all of which are thinking processes that increase learning in general.
  2. Exposure to a global perspective - Learning languages exposes people to other ways of looking at the world and the many people and cultures within it.
  3. Enhance your career potential -There are many job opportunities available for people that can speak foreign languages. These include corporate jobs, mechanics, social workers, medical professionals, teachers, etc.
Fact: Becoming fluent in foreign language takes years. Children tend to absorb foreign languages more easily than older students and adults.

Rank, language Countries Population (in millions)
1. Chinese, Mandarin Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, S. Africa, Taiwan, Thailand 1120
2. English Australia, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, The Gambia, Guyana, India, Ireland, Israel, Lesotho, Liberia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, S. Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, U.K., U.S., Vanuatu, Zimbabwe, many Caribbean states 480
3. Spanish Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Rep., Ecuador, El Salvador, Eq. Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Togo, Tunisia, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela. 332
4. Arabic Egypt, Sudan, ALgeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lybia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, UAE, Oman, Iraq, Lebanon 235
5. Bengali Bangladesh, India, Singapore 189
6. Hindi India, Nepal, Singapore, S. Africa, Uganda 182
7. Russian Belarus, China, Estonia, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, U.S., Uzbekistan 180
8. Portuguese Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, France, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe 170
9. Japanese Japan, Singapore, Taiwan 125
10. German Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Czech Rep., Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland 98
11. Chinese, Wu China 77.2
12. Javanese Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore 75.5
13. Korean China, Japan, N. Korea, S. Korea, Singapore, Thailand 75
14. French Algeria, Andorra, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Laos, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Vanuatu, Vietnam 72
15. Turkish Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, Uzbekistan 69
16. Vietnamese China, Vietnam 67.7
17. Telugu India, Singapore 66.4
18. Chinese, Yue(Cantonese) Brunei, China, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam 66
19. Marathi India 64.8
20. Tamil India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, S. Africa, Sri Lanka 63.1
21. Italian Croatia, Eritrea, France, Italy, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland 59
22. Urdu Afghanistan, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, S. Africa, Thailand 58
23. Chinese, Min Nan Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand 49
24. Chinese, Jinyu China 45
25. Gujarati India, Kenya, Pakistan, Singapore, S. Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe 44
26. Polish Czech Rep., Germany, Israel, Poland, Romania, Slovakia 44
27. Ukrainian Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine 41
28. Persian Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Oman, Qatar, Tajikistan, U A Emirates 37.3
29. Chinese, Xiang China 36
30. Malayalam India, Singapore 34
31. Chinese, Hakka Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama, Singapore, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand 34
32. Kannada India 33.7
33. Oriya India 31
34. Panjabi, Western India, Pakistan 30
35. Sunda Indonesia 27
35. Panjabi, Eastern India, Kenya, Singapore 26
36. Romanian Hungary, Israel, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine 26
37. Bhojpuri India, Mauritius, Nepal 25
38. Azerbaijani, South Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey 24.4
40. Maithili India, Nepal 24.3
41. Hausa Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo 24.2
43. Burmese Bangladesh, Myanmar 22
44. Serbo-Croatian4 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia 21
45. Chinese, Gan China 20.6
46. Awadhi India, Nepal 20.5
47. Thai Singapore, Thailand 20
48. Dutch Belgium, France, Netherlands, Suriname 20
49. Yoruba Benin, Nigeria 20
50. Sindhi Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Singapore 19.7

Source: Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor. © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. Includes corrections made by: Copyright © 2000 - 2005 Photius Coutsoukis (All rights reserved).

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