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Best of the future business languages?

  Tags: Business | Career | Usefulness
 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
39 messages over 5 pages: 1 2 3 4 5  Next >>
aquablue
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4576 days ago

150 posts - 172 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, Mandarin

 
 Message 1 of 39
23 July 2011 at 8:13pm | IP Logged 
Which languages of the following emerging markets would be most valuable to learn for
future business or job potential?   

I assume Chinese would be #1 at this time, but after that?

Arabic - UAE, Iraq, Egypt, N. Africa, etc.
Portuguese - Brazil - part of the BRIC
Hindi - India/Pakistan - BRIC
Russian - Russia, Central Asia - BRIC
Vietnamese
Malay/Indonesian
Spanish -- Mexico - crime infested country but potential economic powerhouse.

Arabic seems an odd case, given that it is important to learn 2 languages in one.
Since not one of those countries are in a position to be an global economic power house
outside of the energy economy (Saudi, Gulf) and several countries are war torn (Iraq,
Libya). However, there are the rich gulf countries but English is common there and I'm
not sure how useful Arabic is in the UAE for a foreigner.





Edited by aquablue on 23 July 2011 at 8:16pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Mandira
Triglot
Newbie
Norway
Joined 3068 days ago

8 posts - 8 votes
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, German
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 2 of 39
23 July 2011 at 10:14pm | IP Logged 
I certainly agree that Chinese should be #1 (hence I am learning Mandarin). As the standard of living (and so the average salary) rises in China, I believe Vietnam will be a likely heir to its current position.

I think Arabic would be very beneficial provided you work with something petroleum related. The same partly goes for Russian, although I think Russian trade is more diverse than just oil.

Although I believe India will become very important the future, I have less belief in learning Hindi. Since many Indians have other mother tongues, and most people you are likely to conduct business with may speak English very well, I think English will be far more useful. Also, keep in mind that the 25+ % of Indians who speak a non IE language will be more reluctant to speak Hindi than English as the they fear the language domination of the former while the latter is viewed as neutral.

Edited by Mandira on 23 July 2011 at 10:15pm

1 person has voted this message useful



kanewai
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/kanewai
Joined 3083 days ago

1386 posts - 3054 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Marshallese
Studies: Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 3 of 39
24 July 2011 at 8:56am | IP Logged 
I don't think I even believe in "Arabic" as a language anymore; it seems a bit as if we still called Spanish, French, and Italian "Latin."   But this is coming from me as a frustrated student of Arabic, not from any political or intellectual basis. With that, I think Levantine Arabic would be a strong contender if the Levant ever becomes open and stable. Which might be a long shot, but if Lebanon/Syria/Palestine/Jordan all transition to stable democracies then watch out. Egyptian? Maybe ... they were an economic powerhouse throughout most of human history. Maghrebi Arabic? nah. Gulf? I don't know enough.

I would add Cantonese to the list, take out Hindi (for the reasons noted above), and think that so few Westerners master Russian that it would be high on my list.

Spanish? Not sure. So many people are already bilingual that I think you'd have to have a high degree of fluency in order for it to really help you in business.
5 persons have voted this message useful



nway
Senior Member
United States
youtube.com/user/Vic
Joined 3609 days ago

574 posts - 1707 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 4 of 39
24 July 2011 at 10:05am | IP Logged 
aquablue wrote:
Which languages of the following emerging markets would be most valuable to learn for future business or job potential?   

I assume Chinese would be #1 at this time, but after that?

Arabic - UAE, Iraq, Egypt, N. Africa, etc.
Portuguese - Brazil - part of the BRIC
Hindi - India/Pakistan - BRIC
Russian - Russia, Central Asia - BRIC
Vietnamese
Malay/Indonesian
Spanish -- Mexico - crime infested country but potential economic powerhouse.

Arabic seems an odd case, given that it is important to learn 2 languages in one.
Since not one of those countries are in a position to be an global economic power house outside of the energy economy (Saudi, Gulf) and several countries are war torn (Iraq, Libya). However, there are the rich gulf countries but English is common there and I'm not sure how useful Arabic is in the UAE for a foreigner.

Your question and subsequent list are somewhat confusing. Your question refers to "the following markets", and then you list a bunch of languages — some followed by countries, but others, like Vietnamese and Malay/Indonesian, in isolation. So I'm not sure if you're looking for other emerging markets, or simply clarifying the utility of these languages for these markets.

I'm assuming you mean the most useful languages for business from an overall "global" perspective. In that's the case, Vietnamese's inclusion here is contingent on it becoming "the next Japan", which is rather unlikely, even if it were to reach demographic parity with Japan (which may happen). Couple this with Vietnam's disappointing lack of investment reform, inability of the government to contain massive inflation, and a persistent trade deficit, and I do not see Vietnam following in the footsteps of China, let alone Japan (within the next century, at least). The same applies to Indonesia.

As someone already pointed out, English is more useful as a business language in South Asia than Hindi — not least of which because South India is experiencing greater economic success than the more agrarian North India. Indeed, Gujarat is India's most economically prosperous state, so if anything, it might even be Gujarati rather than Hindi (but I wouldn't count on either).

It's also interesting how you refer to Mexico as a "crime infested country", and yet say nothing of Russia, which faces a far worse crime rate than Mexico, not to mention rampant drug abuse and alcoholism — all coupled with a severely declining population (not because of low fertility rates, but because of high mortality rates).

As for Arabic, the UAE is a tiny "market", and all of North Africa (minus Egypt, which has massive unemployment and would run out of money and food if it weren't for foreign aid) has an economy smaller than Thailand's. As for Iraq, well, that's at least a good century from becoming a significant emerging market...

Anyway, the answer, as always, is that's it's strictly regional. If your emerging market of residence happens to be Poland, then you're obviously best off with Polish.

Edited by nway on 24 July 2011 at 10:07am

3 persons have voted this message useful



aquablue
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4576 days ago

150 posts - 172 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, Mandarin

 
 Message 6 of 39
24 July 2011 at 5:22pm | IP Logged 
So if you could rank them 1 - 5 for most important economic languages of the next 20
years (disregarding current business languages like German, Japanese), from the
feedback here, I'd say for an Anglophone the languages that offer the most growth
potential are:

#1: Chinese (Mandarin)
#2: Spanish/Portuguese (close, so they can be considered a tandem for learning
purposes).

#3/#4: Either Russian or Arabic

#5: ?? I'm not sure (Perhaps French (african growth), Indonesian/Malay, Vietnamese,
Cantonese, Hindi,?)

However the ranking changes if we look at today because Japanese and German would be on
that list.

Edited by aquablue on 24 July 2011 at 5:24pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



aquablue
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4576 days ago

150 posts - 172 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: French, Mandarin

 
 Message 7 of 39
24 July 2011 at 5:29pm | IP Logged 
kanewai wrote:
I don't think I even believe in "Arabic" as a language anymore; it
seems a bit as if we still called Spanish, French, and Italian "Latin."   But this is
coming from me as a frustrated student of Arabic, not from any political or
intellectual basis. With that, I think Levantine Arabic would be a strong contender if
the Levant ever becomes open and stable. Which might be a long shot, but if
Lebanon/Syria/Palestine/Jordan all transition to stable democracies then watch out.
Egyptian? Maybe ... they were an economic powerhouse throughout most of human history.
Maghrebi Arabic? nah. Gulf? I don't know enough.

I would add Cantonese to the list, take out Hindi (for the reasons noted above), and
think that so few Westerners master Russian that it would be high on my list.

Spanish? Not sure. So many people are already bilingual that I think you'd have to have
a high degree of fluency in order for it to really help you in business.


I didn't realize Arabic was so difficult to learn. That would make it rather like
learning 1.5 languages similar to learning Spanish + Portuguese but much harder? Are
the differences
between MSA and dialects that pronounced?

Edited by aquablue on 24 July 2011 at 5:41pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



nway
Senior Member
United States
youtube.com/user/Vic
Joined 3609 days ago

574 posts - 1707 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 8 of 39
24 July 2011 at 5:55pm | IP Logged 
aquablue wrote:
So if you could rank them 1 - 5 for most important economic languages of the next 20
years (disregarding current business languages like German, Japanese), from the
feedback here, I'd say for an Anglophone the languages that offer the most growth
potential are:

#1: Chinese (Mandarin)
#2: Spanish/Portuguese (close, so they can be considered a tandem for learning
purposes).

#3/#4: Either Russian or Arabic

#5: ?? I'm not sure (Perhaps French (african growth), Indonesian/Malay, Vietnamese,
Cantonese, Hindi,?)

However the ranking changes if we look at today because Japanese and German would be on
that list.

It depends on whether you're aiming for an aggregate or a per capita measurement.
On a per capita level, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Indonesian may very well provide one with better business returns than Arabic or Russian. But collectively, of course, more growth will happen in Russia and the Arab world — the difference is that this growth would be sustained by a larger number of people, but not a higher growth rate.

To use an example of the developed world:

Germany undoubtedly has a larger GDP than Hong Kong, but you're more likely to become a millionaire in Hong Kong.


3 persons have voted this message useful



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