What language is most useful to know in the United States? Besides English.

Simple question. What language is most useful to know in the U.S? I minored in Spanish in college, so I'm bilingual. I want to learn another.

I'm deciding between Italian because its beautiful and I have Italian heritage or Mandarin because 20% of the world speaks it.



What do you suggest?

  • Italian
    Vote A
  • French
    Vote B
  • Arabic
    Vote C
  • Mandarin
    Vote D
  • Other
    Vote E
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
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Updates:
For everyone that only read the question, I ALREADY speak fluent Spanish. So thanks for your useles comments:) just kidding.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Welli was going to say Spanish, but you know that already lol. other than that...

    This list says Chinese after Spanish then french after that: link

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Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 24

  • I think mandarin is pretty useless actually. Sure, there are a lot of Chinese, but whenever you meet one, they are immigrants and speak the language of the country they live in. So unless you are planning on spending a lot of time in China, I don't see why you would want to learn it.

    Whether the US likes it or not, the border states are already bilingual, English and Spanish. So Spanish is definitely the best second language in the US. As for the third... Arabic? I'm pretty sure that between English and Spanish, Italians can understand you. So can French people, although they are probably to stubborn to try. German or Dutch are bullsh*t to learn, because they all speak English, so do the scandinavians.

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  • Haha! Thanks everyone. :)

    I'm Chinese, and I speak English, Chinese, and a little bit of Burmese. I consider this a compliment that so many people want to learn Chinese. I don't know why it is called Mandarin. I think it makes more sense to call it Chinese.

    Chinese is very deep. LOTS of thought was put into each character, and each character (word) consists of smaller parts that can have so many meanings, and, when combined, have an even deeper meaning.

    Chinese philosophy is very deep and very similar to western philosophy, although there are many differences. For me, Chinese philosophy, combined with Buddhism, really helps me become a better and wiser person. Here is one example:

    "The Master (Confucius) said: "Put me in the company of any two people at random - they will invariably have something to teach me. I can take their qualities as a model and their defects as a warning." " (Simon Leys, 7.22) In using this, I've learned to learn from other people's good points, and to learn to not do/have other people's defects.

    Any questions?

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    • Like I said, 20% of the worlds population speaks Mandarin Chinese, so I think it would be super useful to learn! I love traveling and would like to go to China one day, but first I have to learn the language!

      There are so many different languages of china, which is why most people say Mandarin rather than Chinese.

    • Show All
    • I don't know what you're referring to... I'm going to learn Mandarin Chinese. I don't know if it's just called Chinese in China.. But we call it Mandarin or standard Chinese. I'm American.

    • I'm referring to what we call our own language in our own language, if that makes sense. Like we call English "English". But yeah, usually people just call it Mandarin.

  • First would be Spanish second would probably fall under Mandarin. My friend speaks it fluently although is very shy about speaking it outside her home... I wish she would teach me a little.

    I think your better off learning a language you have a passion for so go with Italian. My grandparents are full Italian and speak Italian. I'm currently learning Farsi.

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  • The best markets are in Asia. So I'd say Japanese would be the best to learn. Though, it depends on where you intend to work if the US market in your industry goes completely down the tubes. My ex, my current girlfriend, and all their friends and family live in Cagayan de Oro. So while I'm not real likely to find a job there, I wanna learn Cebuano just so I'm not completely lost in conversations.

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  • Clearly that would be entirely dependent on where you want to go.

    Personally, I learned French and German at school, as they were the only foreign languages offered - I did live in France for a while (and spent time in Quebec), but I have no desire whatsoever to visit Germany / Austria / etc, so it was fairly pointless me learning that language.

    If you already speak Spanish, Italian ought to be very easy to learn, as they are quite similar.

    I'd quite like to learn a Scandinavian or Slavic language myself.

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  • Spanish considering how you share a border with Spanish speaking countries.

    Other than that, mandarin would help in a business sense with russian coming next.

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  • Out of those most useful one is probably either Mandarin or Arabic and they're also the most exciting languages out of those. Also you already know the most beautiful of the Latin languages.

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  • By far, the most useful non-English language to know is Spanish...if I had to pick a third most useful language here, I would say an Asian language such as Mandarin, Korean, or Japanese.

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  • 1. Spanish

    2. French

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  • You can get along with no problems by knowing just English and Spanish - if someone lives in the States and doesn't know any of those two languages then that person clearly is a complete retard and you wouldn't want to communicate with them anyway

    French can be useful if you're also going to visit Canada

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  • definitely Spanish

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  • Probably Spanish :l

    There was a reason that I barely squeezed a pass in GCSE French: I suck at all languages xD

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  • Mandarin world wide is the language to know.

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  • Spanish or Chinese.

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  • Whatever that drawl they speak in Texas is called.

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  • EspaƱol muchacho

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  • Japanese, french, korean is what I saw in a yahoo article not to long ago.

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  • Spanish

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    • Already speak it. This is why you don't just read the question.

    • I'm saying you really don't need to learn anything else then. At best Arabic cause that'll help you get government jobs if you want, but it'll likely send you to the middle east too. Other than that? Not necessary to learn those. Just learn them if you want to.

  • common sense! being able to speak with common sense is WAY more helpful

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  • Spanish. While French is a close second (due to New Orleans/Louisiana in general) Spanish is the number one language here in the U.S. other than English because of the Spanish speaking Mexico to our south. What would be cool is if everyone had to relearn Latin, the ORIGINAL language

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  • Spanish...duh!

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  • Espanol of course even though somehow you did not have it on your poll.

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  • Spanish and German would be the most useful where I live.

    If you live west, than mandarian. If you live North than french.

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  • Learn Mexican.

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What Girls Said 10

  • Definitely depends on where you are in the US. Spanish is very useful along the southern border and in NY. I live in Fresno, CA and you pretty much have to know Spanish here.

    Along the northern border (especially near Quebec) French is going to be your friend. Mandarin doesn't have very much use in the US unless you're going to be living in San Fransisco or New York and going to China Town often. Italian is another one that is pretty much only useful in New York. Arabic is also pretty useless here because most Arabic speaking people already have pretty good English.

    If you like discounts on stuff, learn Russian or Armenian. But on your list, French will be the best to learn by far.

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  • Spanish,

    Usually when I'm reading documentation I'm always seeing it written in Spanish has the translation.

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    • Aside from Spanish, I really can't say

    • I already know Spanish, which I said.. Lol but thanks for your input anyways.

    • I know I read the question only. If I were to say another language I'd have to say French.

  • It depends on what part of the US you live in, or what profession you are going into.

    German is handy in some places, especially if you do lots of overseas work for a business, as is Mandarin.

    Arabic is useful in other parts, (my first thought is oil or foreign diplomacy)

    The least useful of these I'd say is French, unless of course you feel the need to go to France, Canada, or the very deep south and want to be able to easily pick up on the local Cajun or French-Canadian dialect.

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  • Spanish

    After that, in terms of appealing to a wider crowd, Mandarin then Vietnamese are useful since those are the two biggest growing immigrant groups.

    In terms of business, french and portuguese. Most places who want someone who speaks Arabic/Farsi/Dari want a native speaker, not someone who took classes or went to college with the purpose of learning those languages.

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  • Spanish

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  • French and Spanish are common too

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  • Spanish

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  • Mexican

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  • Well, if you already know Spanish, I would say French would be the next most useful. Both Maine and Louisiana have French listed as an official language fyi and its one of the widest spoken languages. Actually, if you're fluent in English, Spanish, and French you can go almost anywhere in the world and effectively communicate with the people there. Italian is a great language, but ultimately pretty useless unless you are going to Italy soon. Arabic is a really good language to have mainly because of world politics right now. You can get some really well paying jobs if you're fluent in Arabic (I don't know if you even need that). Mandarin would probably be good to know if you're interested in the business world or Chinese cinema. I actually think if you're interested in learning an Asian language Japanese would be better than Mandarin. I mean Mandarin has the most speakers but most of those people are relatively cut off from the world. I feel like, at least in terms of usefulness in the US, you'll come into more contact with Japanese than Mandarin.

    Ultimately, any language is pretty good to learn. The more languages you can learn, the better off you'll be in my opinion. So I say pick a language that you'll enjoy learning and feel passionate about (though you sound passionate about learning languages already). You can always learn more in the future.

    Also, if you want to learn Italian, French, Portuguese, of German I'd recommend checking out this website link . Its pretty new so I'm sure they'll be getting more options in the future, but it has an incredibly effective way of teaching language. I started using it a couple of weeks ago out of curiosity (since I want to learn as many languages as I can in my lifetime) and was floored by it...and now I feel like I'm an advertiser for it or something so I'm going to stop now...

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  • Apart from Spanish, Mandarin.

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