In a series called “Which is the Best Language to Learn?” Intelligent Life Magazine asked six authors to write about which language they thought was the best to learn.
The Economist correspondent, Robert Lane Greene, said overall, he’d put his money on French. “…If I was asked what foreign language is the most useful, and given no more parameters (where? for what purpose?), my answer would be French. Whatever you think of France, the language is much less limited than many people realise.”
Greene argues that the French smartly capitalized on their former colonial empire by establishing La Francophonie, an international organization with 56 member countries and 19 observer members. Even though French is the 16th most spoken language in the world, the Francophonie preserves the prestige of French and drives elites everywhere to keep learning French.
His last point is that, although many languages are spoken by more people (he cites Mandarin, and even Javanese and Telegu, which rank above French), their use is limited to a country or two.
As we saw writing The Story of French, French is taught in almost every country in the world. The only language that surpasses it is English. As international languages, English and French are in a league of their own.
What do you think is the best language to learn?
Presently, over 6000 readers have voted for what they think is the best language to learn.
Speakers of the Esperanto language have mobilized and collected 26% of the vote; Lusophones come in second place with 18% while French is in 4th place with 13% of the vote, right behind Chinese.