I hardly need to explain how important it is to learn foreign languages. It’s necessary if you want to have a decent, well-paying job of the non-cookie-cutter variety, to travel, and to discover and understand foreign countries, cultures, and individuals.
However, there are about 3,000 languages spoken in the world today, and obviously, you’ll never have enough time to learn them all. Which begs the question: What languages should you study? Doing so is a commitment requiring an enormous amount of time and at least some money (if not lots of it), so you should consider carefully where to invest your time and money for the maximum possible return.
The answer is that, unless you live and will continue living, for the foreseeable future, in an area where speaking the neighboring are’s/country’s language is a must (e.g. to get a decent job), you should only study languages that are spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world. You should NOT waste your time on languages that are spoken in only one country with a mid-szed or small population (e.g. Italy, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Finland). Those countries, to put it bluntly, don’t matter except as holiday destinations – and most people in those countries already speak English better than you do (unless you’r a native English speaker).
I’ve been learning French for a few years now and I’m improving everyday. I’m already wondering what language to study after I learn French to a highly-advanced, nearly-fluent level. I’ve considered two: Spanish and German.
Germany is Europe’s largest economy and the most important member of the European Union. But it has no influence beyond the EU. Germany is of little importance on a global scale. It has only 90 million native speakers, all of whom reside in one of the five contigous Western European countries where it’s the official language: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. (It’s also official in South Tirol, a part of Italy bordering Austria.)
That’s it. German is sparsely spoken anywhere else.
By contrast, Spanish has 470 million native speakers who live on four different continents: Europe, North America, South America, and Africa (a few African nations have Spanish as their official language). In fact, Mexico alone has more native Hispanohablantes (Spanish speakers) than there are German native speakers in total around the world! Espanol is also more popular as a second language than German. It’s the official language of every South American country except Brazil and French Guiana (an overseas territory of France), most of Central America, and increasingly widespread as the first language in the US, especially in the border states, because of uncontrolled immigration into the US from Latin America. It’s also one of the five official languages of the UN, whereas German is not.
In the future, the importance of Spanish will only grow, while that of German will only shrink. Latin American countries are now experiencing a demographic boom. Here are the total fertility rates of some of the world’s largest Hispanohablante nations and of Germany (child per woman):
Germany, 1.43; Colombia, 2.07; Argentina, 2.25; Ecuador, 2.29; Mexico, 2.29; Venezuela, 2.35.
The German people are simply dying out; the Colombians, the Argentines, the Ecuadorians, the Mexicans, the Venezuelans, and Hispanic Americans are multiplying.
A few graphs will illustrate the point. Here is Germany’s population structure graph (credit: CIA World Factbook):
As you can see, the largest demographic groups in Germany are people aged between 45 and 49, 50-54, 60-64, and 65-69. Within the next 20 years, those people will be dead or retired and living in assisted living homes because there aren’t enough children in Germany to take care of them. Does it really make sense to learn their language? Or would it be wiser to learn the language of growing Hispanic populations in the New World?
Below is Argentina’s demographic pyramid (credit: CIA World Factbook):
This is a true pyramid. In Argentina, children vastly outnumber the elderly. The three largest groups in Argentina’s population are little children aged 0-4, 5-9, and 10-14. They comprise a full 24.9% of the populace. Youngsters aged 15-24 comprise another 15.7%. So over 40% of Argentina’s population is under 25 years of age!
But Argentina is not the most populous Hispanohablante country. Mexico is – and its population is booming, as the below graph, again courtesy of the CIA WF, shows:
Like Argentina, Mexico has a true demographic pyramid. The biggest demographic groups in Mexico by age are thopse aged 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, and 15-19 in that order. In Mexico, the younger the demographic group, the larger it is.
27.9% of Mexicans are under 15; another 18.1% are aged between 15 and 24. Which means that a full 46% of the entire population of Mexico is under 25 years of age!
The Germans are dying out (and being replaced by Turks). Latin Americans, especially Mexicans, are multiplying.
German is a language of the past. Spanish is one of the languages of the future.
Not only that, but Latin America is also home to thousands if not millions of amazingly beautiful, sexy, feminine women who would make for a great marriage material. By contrast, Germany has only a handful of beautiful women and is one of the most leftist, political-correctness-infested, and feminism-infested countries in the world. (Which helps explain why Latin America is experiencing a demographic boom, while Germany is dying out.)
No wonder why Latin American women routinely win global beauty pageants (that includes the reigning Miss Universe). How many beauty crowns has Germany won?
So if you were wondering what language to study, there’s the answer.
Every man, in addition to learning English, needs to master the other Big Three European languages: French, Spanish, and Russian. Being able to speak all three will immediately give you access to over 1.06 billion native speakers and every multinational organization around the world. And if that ain’t enough, it will also make it easier to learn other languages from the same families: Romance and Slavic.
Forget about German. It’s a dying language – just like Germany is a dying country.