If your inter­ests span the globe, and you’ve read this far, you alrea­dy know the most use­ful glo­bal lan­guage. But if you want ano­ther tru­ly glo­bal lan­guage, there are sur­pri­sin­gly few can­di­dates, and for me French is unques­tio­na­bly top of the list. It can enhance your enjoy­ment of art, his­to­ry, lite­ra­ture and food, while giving you an impor­tant tool in busi­ness and a use­ful one in diplo­ma­cy. It has native spea­kers in eve­ry region on earth. And lest we for­get its heart­land itself, France attracts more tou­rists than any other coun­try — 76.8m in 2010, accor­ding to the World Tourism Organisation, lea­ving America a dis­tant second with 59.7m. Any visit there is great­ly enhan­ced by some grasp of the lan­guage. The French are nothing but wel­co­ming when you show them and their coun­try res­pect, and the occa­sio­nal frost that can greet visi­tors melts when they come out with their first ful­ly for­med sen­tence. So although there are other great lan­guages out there, don’t for­get an easy, com­mon one, with far fewer words to learn than English, that is almost cer­tain­ly taught in your town. With French, vous ne regret­te­rez rien.

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Which is the best language to learn ? – The Economist 1843