What are the Top 5 World Languages in 2050?

What are the languages that will be most widely spoken by the middle of this century? According to so called engco model of language forecasting the top 5 languages in 2050 are going to be

  • Chinese
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Hindi-Urdu
  • Arabic

I guess, there is no big surprise in this list in the end but those are undoubtedly the realities that children have to face when growing up and search their workplace in this globalized world, even more so than us today. It is expected that Chinese, Spanish and English will be the dominant languages in global commerce.

As a side note, there are also statistics that predict, the United States will become the biggest Spanish speaking country by 2050. This would also lead to Spanish being the second-most-spoken language after Chinese.

So what are the challenges? Of course, we need to prepare future generations who will be part of the workforce in 2050 for what we think the global landscape will look like by then. Unfortunately, most plannings in the education sector don’t go that far ahead. I feel, in many cases the state of affairs in the public school sector is even behind today’s realities, already.

What we will might see then are phenomenons similar to the run on German language classes we are currently seeing in southern European countries like Spain, Portugal, Greece or Italy. There are people waiting in line in front of the Goethe Institut in Valencia because they think learning German will give them the opportunity to find a job in Germany.

Therefore, I was astonished to learn that in the state of Georgia many schools now made learning Mandarin mandatory in public schools from pre-K through 12th grade. According to NPR “most of the 25,000 students are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced lunch, and about half don’t graduate.”

Superintendent Romain Dallemand argues that “Students who are in elementary school today, by 2050 they’ll be at the pinnacle of their career. They will live in a world where China and India will have 50 percent of the world GDP. They will live in a world where, if they cannot function successfully in the Asian culture, they will pay a heavy price.”

Of course, Dallemand gets some headwind from parents who would rather see their kids learn Spanish for the reasons I mentioned above. But Dallemand says that “it is important for communities to educate our children for their future, not our past.”

What do you think? Do you have children who have just started school? What languages do you want them to learn to be prepared for the future?

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