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The most useful languages other than English for world travellers are those that are:

1. used by at least a significant subset of people

2. throughout a large area

3. where English isn't widely used.

Depending on the region of the world in which you are most interested (and leaving aside the varying difficulty of learning different languages),that would include:

* Spanish (useful throughout Latin America -- even in Brazil spoken Spanish is widely understood, and knowledge of written Spanish is adequate for understanding much written Portuguese)

* Mandarin (useful throughout East Asia, and to a lesser degree in many other places)

* Russian (English is not widely spoken in the former USSR, and some people speak Russian in surprisingly many other places)

* Arabic (used as a second language by the literate classes throughout the Islamic world, even where Arabic isn't the primary language)

Other less widely useful possibilities (either less widely spoken, or spoken in places where English is more common) would include:

* French (mainly useful in west and central Africa, but losing ground rapidly to English)

* Hindi or Urdu (useful in a large region of South Asia, but in most of that region it's relatively easy to get around in English)

* Swahili (ditto in eastern Africa)

* German (the lingua franca and most common second language of much of central Europe, having largely displaced Russian in that role over the last decade)

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Q: What are the most useful languages in the world?
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