This follows on from a travel conversation a group of us had in a hostel in London. Assuming I am travelling randomly between countries and continents, which two languages in addition to English would provide the most usefulness in any given country?
I suspect Spanish (North America, South America) and French (Europe, Africa) but with the base understanding between French and Spanish maybe the time would be best spent learning another language?
This question is a real puzzler since the following constraints apply
- Length of time required to be "functional" in the language (cost-time trade off)
- Chance of reaching proficiency within any meaningful timeframe (Mandarin)
- Regional dialects destroying proficiency (Arabic)
- Easier Secondary languages underpinning the society (Arabic versus French argument)
- Similarity of Language families (Romance) leading to wasted effort (Italian v French)
- Utility of the Language (German versus English when English is understood)
- Enjoyment is a minor consideration
Happy to consider any other thoughts but it is a really interesting topic for consideration if you are linguistically minded.