Survey results, my preferences, and list of the most popular languages in the world.

Q1: Can you speak a foreign language? (Sample size=430)

Yes, conversationally 6.5%
Yes, just simple phrases 25.8%
Can hardly speak 67.7%

Q1SQ: What languages can you speak? (Sample size=139, multiple answer)

English 92.1%
Chinese 5.0%
German 5.0%
Korean 4.3%
French 4.3%
Italian 2.2%
Indonesian 2.2%
Spanish 2.2%
Thai 2.2%
Filipino 2.2%
Russian 2.2%
Other 1.4%

Q2: Do you think people who can speak a foreign language are cool? (Sample size=430)

Yes 68.1%
No 31.9%

Q2SQ: What do you think is the coolest spoken foreign language? (Sample size=293)

English 64.8%
French 13.0%
Italian 5.1%
German 5.1%
Spanish 2.0%
Latin 2.0%
Arabic 1.4%
Chinese 1.4%
Korean 1.0%
Thai 1.0%
Russian 1.0%
Portugese 0.7%
Other 1.4%

Q3: Have you ever been abroad? (Sample size=430)

Yes 72.3%
No 27.7%

Q3SQ: Which was a problem when abroad, talking or reading and writing? (Sample size=311)

Talking 70.1%
Reading and writing 12.5%
Neither 17.4%

Source: What Japan Thinks

My preferences based on how the language sounds:

1. Japanese
2. Korean (I also love Jamo design)
3. Mandarin (Chinese)

List of the most widely spoken languages in the world:

Highest Estimation

Language Total Speakers (million) Rank
English 1800 1
Chinese (all dialects) 1300 2
Hindustani[1] 905 3
Arabic (all variants) 873 4
French[2] 600 5
Spanish 500 6
Russian 285 7
Portuguese 230 8
Bengali 230 8
Indonesian/Malay 200 9
Punjabi 191 10
German 185 11
Persian 144 12
Japanese 130 13
Italian 120 14

Usual Estimation

Language Total Speakers (million) Rank
Chinese (all dialects) 1036 1
English 618 2
Hindi[1] 487 3
Spanish 376 4
Arabic[3] 285 5
Russian 278 6
Indonesian 234 7
French 213 8
Bengali 207 9
Portuguese 203 10
Japanese 127 11
German 91 12

Source: List of languages by total number of speakers (Wiki)


8 thoughts on “What is the Coolest Language According to Japanese?

  1. well it seems like the japanese thinks speaking western foreign languages are cool. but for me the first language that i would like to learn is (of course) japanese. i’m just so overexcited now cos i would be learning it in my course next year.

    i can see why chinese is the first-ranked among the most widely-spoken cos there are just so many dialects. in malaysia alone there are… more than 10 i suppose. they’re all so different (but i can only speak 2)
    but is indonesian/ malay really ranked ninth? i thought not many people know bout it. but if its true then i suppose it would be useful to me

    1. Yes, Japanese is a very cool language 🙂

      A part of language usage is the population of its native speakers, and Chinese are quite prevalent 🙂 Indeed, there are many dialects of Chinese 🙂

  2. It seems the “highest” estimation includes those for whom the language is a second language. Worldwide, English is much more popular than all of the dialects of Chinese. Few people outside China speak the languages, whereas English is necessary to survive to many non-English speaking countries.

    1. Both highest and usual estimation are for total number of speakers, regardless of origin and their native language. The usual estimate is somewhat conservative and close to Ethnologue results. The highest estimate might provide a more accurate representation, but I don’t know how it was measured.

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