Currently, 40 per cent of the world's estimated 7,000 languages may go extinct, having less than 1,000 speakers.
Chinese is the largest language if we include only native speakers, but English is the largest if we include native and non-native speakers. English is the language of science, the internet and much academic research and is likely to remain important in the future.
People often think that languages like Russian, Arabic or Japanese are harder to learn, but it is subjective.
Words from different languages have the same etymological origin, such as 'brother' in English and 'Bruder' in German. But languages with different phonetics will be harder to learn. For example, languages such as Thai, Chinese or Vietnamese use tones to change a word's meaning. If you already speak a tonal language, it would be easier to learn another tonal one.
The key ingredient in learning a language is time—ideally, hundreds of hours. Then it would be best if you practise regularly.
Research shows the best approach to learn a language is being immersed in it - not just learning words and grammar. Reading magazines, watching TV and talking to native speakers will solidify the learning.
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