​I read in an article that only 18% of Americans speak a foreign language, which was pretty low in comparison to Europeans and Africans. Of those 18% of Americans who do speak a foreign language, I can’t even begin to guess how many are black, but I’m pretty sure it’s a low number.

With black women being the largest demographic of higher education seekers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, knowing an additional language will give you a competitive advantage. If you want to make yourself, your product or your services more marketable, multilingualism is a must. Here are the top 5 languages for black professionals and entrepreneurs to know in order to stay relevant and take advantage of the global market:

  1. Mandarin is spoken by more than 1 billion people, making it the most widely spoken language on this earth. China (where the majority of Mandarin speakers live), is expanding and investing in various ventures (including in Africa). It is becoming a major player in the world economy.
  2. German is the most widely spoken native language in Europe, meaning that the majority of European residents speak German as a native language. In addition to Germany (Europe's largest economy), German is also spoken in other countries such as Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg as well as in parts of other countries such as Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy (Tirol), etc. It’s even spoken in Namibia (a former German colony)! While English is usually a basic requirement for most jobs in Germany; employers are still interested in finding employees who are proficient in German. Many executives even prefer to do business and partner with those who speak German fluently.
  3. Arabic is spoken by almost 300 million people in the world. Of those Arab speakers, the executives behind oil businesses and real estate are the richest people in the world. Although some of them speak English, many only speak Arabic. Learning Arabic would be a great way to open the door to doing business with some of the richest people in the world.
  4. Spanish is spoken by more than 35 million people in the U.S. and there are 425 million Spanish-speaking people worldwide. It is the second most popular foreign language, and the 4th widely spoken language in the world. There are so many countries in the world that speak Spanish, including Spain, parts of the Caribbean and throughout Central and South America. It is an unofficial second language in the U.S and the most requested language skill in many of the U.S. job postings.
  5. Portuguese has the most potential to become the lingua franca in Africa and South America, according to UNESCO. In addition to Portugal, Portuguese is also spoken in Brazil (Brazilian is not a language, guys). This is a country that has positioned itself for superpower status with its fuel independency. Brazil has also attracted the eye of businesses after being the host of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. If you want to do business in a country with development potential, such as Brazil, you will definitely want to speak the language. Especially because most Brazilians don't speak English well.

If you don’t know any of these languages, then you definitely should look into learning one of them. Especially, if you are looking into doing business in a foreign country or with foreign clients. It will give you an edge over competitors, expand your pool of opportunities, and increase the amount of clients you can bring value to. Even if you learn another language not listed here, just the additional language will open up doors for you that you never even knew existed.

Do you know any of the languages above? Has it helped you? If so, comment below!




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