The World’s Most Powerful Languages

Our world is based upon communication. The ability to speak to one another, to write letters and email, to express our hopes and dreams, our opinions and feelings is critical. We can’t do business together if we can’t communicate and we can’t build the type of world we want if we don’t share our goals and our fears. And so it’s important that we can speak to one another and therefore it’s important for us as a species to learn common languages. Thus we thought it was important to present this study on the world’s most powerful languages.

What makes a language powerful?
Powerful languages are ones which allow users speakers to use it as widely as possible, that facilitate business and earning a living, which covers culture and helps a person or company succed. Kai L. Chan, a Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative created the Power Language Index (PLI) as a thought experiment by asking himself, “If an alien were to land on Earth, what language would serve it best?”

To quantify the results he determined 5 important elements to rank each language’s usefulness.

1. The ability to travel widely
2. The ability to earn a livelihood
3. The ability to communicate with others
4. The ability to acquire knowledge and consume media
5. The ability to engage in diplomacy

The results aren’t really surprising but they are still very informative. English is the most powerful language followed by Mandarin, French and Spanish. Japanese and Hindi join Mandarin in being in the top 10 most powerful languages.