Which Are the Most Studied Foreign Languages in America?

Traditionally, Europeans are more inclined to study and actually speak a second language due to the cultural diversity on the continent. But what about our American cousins?

Which Are the Most Studied Foreign Languages in America?

Most Americans tackle a second language during university studies. But what are their preferences when it comes to this topic? Counting more than 350 languages spoken on US soil, they are actually fifth in the worldwide statistics, as Papua New Guinea takes the prize for the most multilingual country. 

So, what are the most studied languages in America, or the US, to be more precise? Read on and find out! 

1. Spanish 

spanish flag
“Spanish flag” by Mikhail Nilov©

It’s only natural that Spanish would come in at number one as Mexico is right next to the US. Again, unsurprising is the fact that over 50% of university students choose to study in Spanish in order to hone their language skills. Seeing as not everybody in the US is fluent in English, learning this language actually improves the chances of finding a better job in the competitive job market and allows communication with more members of one’s community. 

As the official language of 21 nations, it would be a great idea for a traveler to start learning Spanish as soon as possible. Since we’re on the topic of learning on the internet, you must also know that Spanish is the third most utilized language online, after English and Chinese. English speakers usually pick Spanish as their secondary language because it’s easy to learn – with only approximately 600 hours of study time required. Want to sound like a native? Here are 17 Spanish sayings that will help you achieve that! 

2. French

eiffel tower paris
“Paris, Eiffel Tower” by Eugene Dorosh©

Apparently, you’re not really a romantic if you don’t see French as the language of beauty and love. Americans seem to agree, also associating class and culture with French people. There’s no wonder then that Paris is still on top of the dream destinations for Americans traveling to Europe! Keep in mind that French is the only other language, apart from English, that is spoken on five continents. Wanna join in the fun? Learn French online

Back home, French is mainly spoken in Louisiana and Maine, which has to do with the history of the states. If you thought about Cajuns, you’re on the right track! Americans usually prefer to learn French in order to increase employment opportunities and enjoy the rich culture and traditions. Cajun seasoning may have something to do with their decision, but we’re not sure. If you struggle with pronunciation, we can help you with this quick guide

3. German

german flag
“German flag” by Ingo Joseph©

Why learn German? Well, for starters, both English and German are West Germanic languages, which means the process will be easier than if you tried to learn Romanic languages. Americans picked up on that, as German is also the second most used language in the science community, after English, of course. 

Taking into account that German is also an important business language, it’s no surprise that most of the students study German in order to work in Europe. 

Word of caution, in terms of vocabulary, German might surprise you, to say the least. There are a couple of incredibly long words that are a nightmare to pronounce. Take for example “Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften”, a word that means insurance company that provides legal protection. If that didn’t discourage you, why not start learning German?! 

4. Italian 

italian car
“Fiat” by Jonathan Bean©

Again, not really a shocker since there are large communities of Italians scattered in the US, most notably in San Francisco and Boston. American gangster movies are famous for their portrayal of Italian-Americans and Italian-American culture is basically a staple of American life. Not to mention the fact that many Americans are direct descendants of Italian immigrants, so they learn Italian to communicate with nonna. 

Italian is actually one of the top ten foreign languages spoken in the US today and if you are a culinary aficionado, you already know that pizza for Americans is as traditional as apple pie. Sure, it’s not the same pizza as in Naples, but some of the best Italian Restaurants are actually found in the US. 


If any of these languages piqued your interest, you should start using Mondly on your computer for free, or better yet, download the app and start learning on the go!

One comment on “Which Are the Most Studied Foreign Languages in America?

  1. It is incredible to see how European languages have such an importance for American language lovers.
    Being a french native, I have always heard that a french accent or french is deeply appreciated in the US.
    Though, I also heard that french tend to be complicated to learn for English speakers.
    Hopefully, the love for a language will be a motivation big enough to learn one of the 4 languages listed above.

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