What do you focus on to acquire your second language?

JJ (Japanese Blogger)
3 min readMay 14, 2020

There are people who can speak multiple languages in the world. Especially, people living around Europe can speak a few languages because of similarity among languages. On the other hand, there are also many people who speak only their country language. For such people, studying second language is huge burden. It is said that it takes long time to arrive the situation that they can handle a language as the second one. There is also a report that 10000 hours or more are necessary to acquire the second language. Therefore, the important thing is to know how to choose the second language before they start to study it. If a person who want to study the second language has already found a specific language, she/he should study it without any worry. However, not everyone can be such good lucky. Many people worry because they don’t know how to find language.


As you may know, English or Spanish is often chosen as the second language by people who want to study it. Do you really know the reason of that? The main reason is because English or Spanish are used in many countries. As language is a tool to communicate, the fact that many populations are using a language is important. Although English or Spanish is certainly used in many countries, even if the viewpoint that the number of people using a language is focused on, are these still chosen?

The following table shows how many people are using each language and how many countries are using each language as official one.

Modified from https://www.ethnologue.com/guides/ethnologue200; and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_official_languages_by_country_and_territory

Not surprisingly, English is located on №1 from both viewpoints. How about Spanish? As you can see, Spanish is spoken by 538 million of people and 20 countries, and that means that it is not 2nd rank. If the number of countries is important to choose the second language, French or Arabic should be chosen. Also, if the number of people is important, Chinese or Hindi would become a strong choice. These results may be a quite different from what we are unconsciously thinking. These two viewpoints must be hints when we need to choose the second language. That is, “Do you want to talk to people in as many counties as possible?” or “Do you want to talk to as many people as possible?” If you face a problem about choosing the second language, please check that table again.


Lastly, for me living in Japan, if you could add Japanese into a list that you pick up (although Japanese is used in only Japan), I would be happy. See you again!!



JJ (Japanese Blogger)

I was born in Japan, and I’m working in Japan. My interest things are statistics, health and Japanese culture. I post news about Japan for travelers.