In Britain, Chinese is now seen as the most useful second language to speak in today’s world
English, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French are all runners up.
And these facts are seeping into public opinion. When asked which second language is the most useful to speak in today’s world, Chinese is chosen by 40% excluding ‘don’t know’ (13%) – far ahead of the rest.
Spanish is also incredibly ubiquitous: it has 406 million native and 60 million second language speakers. It is seen by 19% as the most useful language, followed shortly by French (15%).
While previous YouGov research has found that French is the most widely spoken second language in the UK (15% claim they can hold a conversation), it is beaten by Spanish as the language perceived as the most desirable for a child to speak. 26% of people excluding 'don't know' (11%) would like their children to speak Spanish, more than Chinese (24%) or French (23%).