Many developments of the past decade or so have contributed towards the continual ease of travel abroad; not just for pleasure, but business too, as globalisation has allowed companies to make links all around the world. Improved transport and advances in technology, the upsurge of budget airlines, and the increasing connections between businesses in the UK and abroad, have all helped to make the world more accessible.
With this in mind, it’s never been a better time to turn your attention towards learning a new language. The usual three languages that people in the UK may study growing up are French, German and Spanish; and whilst these are incredibly useful to know, it could be interesting to branch out and choose something more unique. Whether they’re worthwhile in a business sense, or just to explore a new culture and all it has to offer, we’ve compiled a few of the more obscure languages you might be interested in learning.
The role of the Portuguese language in Britain’s economic future is not to be underestimated. Despite the fact that its origins are in Portugal, the majority of Portuguese speakers live in other parts of the world, including Brazil and African nations like Mozambique and Angola. It is the official language of eight countries, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. It was also listed as one of ten languages identified as most important for the UK’s future by the British Council’s Languages for the Future report. As Brazil’s economy goes from strength to strength - and will only continue to do so as it gears up to host the 2016 Summer Olympics - there is renewed interest in the Portuguese language, as businesses see the opportunity to get involved in this rapidly emerging market. Stay ahead of the game and opt for Portuguese as your next language venture – it’s sure to pay off in the long run.
Whilst an uncommon choice, learning Gaelic will open you up to a treasure trove of heritage, culture and history. The official language of the Republic of Ireland, Irish Gaelic is still taught and spoken throughout the Emerald Isle. Although Gaelic may not be the ideal language to invest in if you want to open up future business opportunities, it’s invaluable to anyone with even a remote interest in the Celtic culture. The language is still full of life in Ireland, with its own television station; TG4, complete with its own set of celebrities, and is widely spoken in some of the most beautiful parts of the country, like Donegal, Galway and Cork.
Mandarin Chinese is the business language of the future. China is rapidly emerging from a period of stagnation, and is about ready to establish itself as the most important economic and geographical power in the world. Learning to speak Mandarin Chinese will not only open you up to communication with people from China, but also Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Learning this ancient language will help you to understand a nearly 5000 year old culture; China has one of the richest histories in the world, and since many ancient books, songs and folktales cannot be properly translated to English, they remain unread by the vast majority of the population. Mandarin will help you expand your cultural horizons, and be an impressive addition to your CV.
These are only a few of the many fascinating and useful languages that you can start learning today. From the critically endangered Dumi language, native only to small areas of Nepal and spoken by as few as eight people, to the Russian language, belonging to the largest country in the world- the variation of languages, and the culture that comes along with them, is endless.