javier_getafe wrote:It seems to me that there is not a real battle. Really Spain is playing in the 'Serie A' as France don't.
Sometimes learn a lenguage is a fact a usefullness, other times is more a fact o feelings o tastes, indeed.
Well, it makes more sense to focus on the importance in each region, rather than globally. On some continents, it is the opposite.
And you are wrong, no offence meant. As far as reasons to learn a langauge go, both of these languages are not too distant both as far as the "fun reasons" go, but also when it comes to the "money earning reasons".
Whatever it was, it was nothing to do with the real numbers I have attached below:
First, we are going to have a look o this picture (2018).
Most spoken languages as mother tongue
Please, don't look for french, I'm afraid it is below 10 position.
Hoewer, it wouldn't be fair (or serious) if we didn't have a look on the next picture below:
Most spoken languages
You can now find the french in 9th position, with less than half of Spanish.
The battle actually doesn't exist and I'm afraid it is never gonna happen.
No offence meant, but this is simply wrong and useless to language learners for several reasons. I find choosing a language just on such tables to be highly misguided, even if we were assuming the learner wants "objective" criteria only and doesn't take into account their life, their regional situation, or their field of work at all. I believe very firmly that any learner choosing just based on the number of native speakers is doing themselves a huge disservice.
From what I've heard from people who have visited China and read on the internet, Mandarin is in some regions read and written but it is not the primary spoken language. And your quoted website at least takes into account that there are various "dialects" of Chinese, some pretty distant, so at least they are not putting "Chinese-1 billion" on the top. Yes, Mandarin is huge and will be on the top even if the reality is half the official number. But I think it is necessary to keep on mind that the official data cannot be trusted here, as they are an important part of the country's PR.
Arabic is more complicated as people don't really speak MSA and the dialects are often just as distant as if they were different languages (first hand observation). So, thinking one language will give you access to 292 millions of speakers is rather naive in this case. It's like saying that one romance language gives you the same access to the natives of them all. Yes, each of the dialects gives you access to an important amount of speakers, especially the big ones like Egyptian Arabic. But if we face the reality and judge the Arabic dialects more like individual languages, most will suddenly be more equal to Italian or Polish.
Sure, Hindi is well spread, but a large part of the population is fully bilingual. That simply means it is not the fourth most useful choice for a generic language learner. Most Russians may be monolingual, so the language truly opens you new connections. Most Hindi natives may be bilingual, so learning the language gives you less of "added value".
If we are looking at the objective critera, we are looking for languages that will make people earn more money. It is as simple as that. And for vast majority of learners not in the respective region, Indonesia, Bengali, Punjabi, or Hindi are simply not gonna improve the salary. It doesn't matter how high on the table they are. If we take away the emotional and educational reasons, as you suggest, people mostly care about how many rich people does the language gives you access to, about the business opportunities. Wherever we make the line between who is still considered a poor and who is already a rich inhabitant of this planet, languages like Bengali will suddenly be at the bottom of the "how many rich enough people speak the language" table.
And in such a case, French may suddenly be above Spanish or very close to it. In such a case, it would still be true though, that the number of african countries speaking French as one of the important languages would still not matter much. Neither would some of the latin american countries.