Which romantic language should I choose?

So you want to learn a foreign language but you’re not sure which one. You have managed to narrow it down to one of the romantic languages so that’s a good step but maybe you still can’t decide.

Well hopefully this breakdown will help you choose which romantic language to learn. Even though they are all great languages in their own right there will be one that works better for you and hopefully we can help you decide.

What are the romantic languages?

To start off there are five major romantic languages, and they are Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French and Romanian. It is important to note that there are other romantic languages but they are less widely spoken and often just used in specific regions of countries. Although they are just as valid, you would be less likely to learn them unless you had a reason, like if you were moving there.

With that in mind we’ve decided to focus on the five most widely spoken romantic languages. We’ll look at each of these languages in turn and try and work out which one is best to learn.

Factors that may influence which language you choose

What country are you from?

What country you’re from can really influence what language you’d like to learn. For example if you’re from the USA, then the language that makes the most sense would be Spanish as there are a lot of South and Central Americans living in the USA.

But if you’re from the UK, you may prefer to learn French as it’s taught in most state schools and is seen as one of the closest countries to the UK.

If you’re Swiss German, then maybe it would make sense for you to learn French or Italian.

Why do you want to learn a foreign language?

This is a very important point when you’re choosing which language you want to learn. If it’s purely for your own enjoyment and fun then think of which country you would like to live in or visit. For example, if you’ve always wanted to go to South America then Spanish could be the language for you.

Or if you’re not that interested in travel but you find history really interesting, you might enjoy learning Italian. Or maybe you love Les Mis and you think French culture seems sophisticated then pick French.

If you’re not learning for a specific job or because your partner is from that culture then I would pick the language that had the most appealing culture to me.

If you are learning because you want to work abroad it might be worth researching jobs in your industry in the different countries first and seeing what your options look like. You don’t want to choose Italian then realise the salaries are too low in the science industry.

The Romantic languages

Spanish

Where is it spoken: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain Uruguay, Venezuela

How many native speakers: Estimated 477 million

It’s the language with the second most native speakers in the world.

Official UN language

Official EU language

Benefits:

  • With Latino culture becoming more and more popular in the USA, there are more Spanish books, musics and TV shows to help you learn than other languages.
  • It’s also becoming such a popular language to learn that you will have more people available who want to practise with you.
  • If you want to use Spanish for work there are lots of countries who speak Spanish to trade with so Spanish speakers are useful in a company.
  • Probably the easiest romantic language to learn

Cons:

  • Because Spanish is so popular and there are so many people who can speak both Spanish and English it won’t make you that competitive in the job market. Obviously you’ll be more competitive than someone who just speaks English but as far as second languages go, Spanish is quite a common one.

French

Where is it spoken: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Haiti, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Switzerland

How many native speakers: 75 million

Official UN language

Official EU language

Official language of the olympics

Benefits:

  • With globalisation there are lots of emerging markets in Africa and as more businesses deal with these countries, companies will find French speakers very useful.
  • It just is romantic. This may be a biased view but there is something romantic about the French language, the sound and the literature.
  • The film industry is better than in other countries where they speak romantic languages. So the films you’ll be watching to learn will probably be of a higher quality and just a bit better.

Cons:

  • Other languages are beginning to overtake French in relevance in the modern world. Languages like Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese are becoming more popular in business and more relevant in pop culture.

Portuguese

Where is it spoken: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé e Príncipe

How many native speakers: 205 million

Official EU language

Benefits:

  • Just like with French, Portuguese is a useful language due to the emerging markets in Africa and Brazil. It could be language of the future in terms of business and trade.
  • A lot of native English speakers choose Spanish, so if you speak Portuguese, this gives you a skill that not that many other people have. It could make you more appealing in terms of jobs.

Cons:

  • Less people learn Portuguese so you have less people to practise with.
  • Less resources to learn than with Spanish or French.

Italian

Where is it spoken: Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City

How many native speakers: 59 million

Official EU language

Benefits:

  • For me out of all the European countries, Italy has the greatest pull. It has the history from the Romans, incredible food, amazing wine and beautiful countryside. The country really has it all. And it is a country I would want to visit time again.
  • Most English speakers already know lots of Italian words due to restaurants and loan words.

Cons:

  • Italian is becoming less prevalent in the world and may not be as useful for the job market.

Romanian

Where is it spoken: Moldova, Romania

How many native speakers: 24 million

Official EU language

Benefits:

  • Very very few native English speakers can speak Romanian so you would have an advantage in certain job markets
  • As Romania isn’t a common language to learn, the reaction you would get from the locals if you could speak it would be amazing and you would get an insight into the culture that others wouldn’t be able to.

Cons:

  • You won’t have much opportunity to use it outside of Moldova and Romania
  • You also won’t have as many people to practise with
  • You won’t have any many resources to learn with

My Romantic Language Choice

My choice as you will know if you read my DELE article is Spanish! Though after writing this article I feel like the next language I might want to learn will be Portuguese.

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