Out of all the hundreds of languages and dialects there are out there, which ones are the most searched for? Who wants to learn what? We decided to carry out a study to find out. With the help of Google Trends as a measuring tool, we checked which languages are most searched for around the world in a selection of languages. The methodology is quite simple. We looked at data from 2011 to 2016 in the following countries:
- Spain, Mexico, and Argentina
- Germany and Austria
- United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.
We kept English out of the statistics since it always is the obvious number one, far ahead of all the other languages.
First let’s take a look at the Spanish-speaking countries
Language learning in Spain (Google Trends)
In Spain, German and French fight for the first place. German is usually ahead, however French wins on most Septembers. Italian is third with decent results while Catalan and Russian trail behind with similar numbers.
Language learning in Mexico (Google Trends)
In Mexico, French is number one with flying colours, only beaten by German in July 2014. German and Italian meet a similar popularity, while Portuguese is a bit behind. A peak in June 2014 (World Cup in Brazil) is worth mentioning. Finally, it is worth noting that Nahuatl made a comeback from late 2014 onward.
Language learning in Argentina (Google Trends)
In Argentina, Portuguese is strong! It is one of the most searched for languages, in spite of a decline since the beginning of 2015, letting Italian take the gold in the past 12 months and over the last five years on average. The many Argentinians with Italian origins must have something to do with it! French also ranks high, reaching a comfortable third place, while German and especially Russian are rather far behind.
Language learning in Brazil (Google Trends)
Brazilians have a clear preference for Spanish, an unbeatable number one across the whole timeframe. French is number two, with a peak in the early months of 2015 while Italian takes the third place. German and Russian are at the end of the race. All languages show a clear increase in July 2014. Likely consequence of the Football World Cup, Brazilians found themselves a passion for languages.
Language learning in France (Google Trends)
France is full of surprises! The most popular language to learn is Arabic, followed closely by Spanish and Russian as a third language. German and Italian, although more commonly taught at school, are way behind.
Language learning in Italy (Google Trends)
And now to Italy! In Italy, German has known a growing success over the last five years, peaking in summer 2014. French and Spanish are both popular languages there too sharing second and third places. A bit behind, Russian and finally Arabic, on the Google radar since mid-2013.
Language learning in Germany (Google Trends)
Germany – the country where everyone feels passionate about Spanish apparently! Spanish is a distant first, French being number two with a more than decent score. Italian and Russian share similar data while Arabic has the particularity of going from number five to number two since September 2015, for obvious political reasons.
Language learning in Austria (Google Trends)
Although one could expect Austria to have a profile similar to the German one, some differences can be highlighted. First of all, Italian is the most popular language to learn there, in spite of Spanish’s growing success. French and Russian only interest a minority of the population while Arabic is on the rise.
Language learning in the US (Google Trends)
The United States are not huge fan of languages but if anything, Spanish wins the popularity contest. French is the runner-up but still far behind, while Italian, German and Russian have tiny numbers.
Language learning in the UK (Google Trends)
The graph for the United Kingdom is bit different from the American one. French and Spanish share the first place (slight advantage to Spanish) while Italian and German are far behind in the lands of forgotten languages. Russian closes the list as number five.
Language learning in Ireland (Google Trends)
In Ireland, people want to learn Irish! Especially in September (back to school!) and January (new year’s resolution). French is the second language people search for, closely followed by Spanish and finally German, a bit behind.
Some expected results, some surprises – did you expect these graphs to look like those? What language are you learning at the moment and where are you from? We look forward to hearing from your language learning experience!