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Old 07-10-07, 10:59 AM   #1
Rocky Mountain
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What language should I learn?

I've always wanted to learn another language, and I think it would look great on my law school application in two years. So which should it be? I took French in high school, but I've forgotten it now.

I don't want to go with something like Chinese or Japaneses, nothing too complicated. Since I moved from Texas, I no longer need to learn Spanish just to order a cheeseburger, or any other product that is sold by minimum wage employees.

Is there any one language that is widely spoken across Europe, other than English?

What software programs would you recommend? I know Rosetta Stone is a popular choice, but it cost $200! I tried an online demo and I was actually about to learn different phrases right away, so it must be worth it.

Three of my four grandparents were born in Germany, including my dad, so I am leaning towards German. But I think Italian would be cool too.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:02 AM   #2
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Mandarin. Don't learn Spanish because it won't make you stand out, unless you want to deal with immigrants all the time.

But since you refuse to learn something Chinese, I'd suggest Russian. They're going to take over someday anyway.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:03 AM   #3
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Klingon. Definitely Klingon.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:05 AM   #4
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Russian. The CIS is where it's at.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Mountain
I don't want to go with something like Chinese or Japaneses, nothing too complicated.

...

Is there any one language that is widely spoken across Europe, other than English?
Well if Japaneses are to complicated, maybe you could just start with 1 Japanese and go from there.

I would think German and French would be good language choices.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weeks
Mandarin. Don't learn Spanish because it won't make you stand out, unless you want to deal with immigrants all the time.

But since you refuse to learn something Chinese, I'd suggest Russian. They're going to take over someday anyway.
I'm just under the impression that Chinese would be extremely difficult. I do think it would be highly beneficial since I want to become a business lawyer. It would open a lot of doors.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BugsInMyTeeth
Japanese isn't all that hard to speak.. writing and reading?!? Errr fuggetabudit.
Reading, especially. You can always write in Hiragana and Katakana. Those are easy enough to learn. It's learning the several thousand Kanji that will kill you dead.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Mountain
I'm just under the impression that Chinese would be extremely difficult.
That's exactly why it would make you more valuable should you decide to learn it.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:10 AM   #9
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Learn Spanish. Spanish is the predominant language in the Western Hemisphere. Three countries speak English: Belize, Canada, and the US. 1.5 countries speak French: French Guyana and Quebec. One Country speaks Portuguese, Brazil. Everyone else speaks Spanish.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:13 AM   #10
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The opportunities in Latin America are amazing. Many of the nations are progressing very well now and so having the grasp of the Spanish language is a big plus. I read somewhere that being bi-lingual in Spanish is considered one of the best things on your resume.

Also, realize that the illegal immigrants are a fraction of the population - some of the richest people in the world speak Spanish.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by crtreedude
The opportunities in Latin America are amazing. Many of the nations are progressing very well now and so having the grasp of the Spanish language is a big plus. I read somewhere that being bi-lingual in Spanish is considered one of the best things on your resume.

Also, realize that the illegal immigrants are a fraction of the population - some of the richest people in the world speak Spanish.

Actually, The Richest person does. Some guy in Mexico just passed Gates in the latest estimates.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:18 AM   #12
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Spanish...not to mention once you learn a langauge based on latin all of the other latin languages become very easy to learn. I was able to get around Italy quite easily knowing Spanish. There is a lot of cross-over.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:19 AM   #13
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The first language you should consider is one you WANT to learn, you will have more motivation to keep at it.
Then again I have to support Spanish as a choice. You will have more chances in the Western hemisphere to use it and many european countries speak a smattering of it.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:19 AM   #14
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if you can get rid of your thinly disguised prejudice against spanish speaking people, i would suggest that. it makes no sense learning a language that you won't have the opportunity to practice on a regular basis.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squegeeboo
Actually, The Richest person does. Some guy in Mexico just passed Gates in the latest estimates.
Yes, I think he owns a big telecom company - but I might be wrong.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:26 AM   #16
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As for learning a language, supposedly Pimsleur is very good, at least conversationally. It's just audio CDs, so you wouldn't even need to be sitting at your computer to use it.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
if you can get rid of your thinly disguised prejudice against spanish speaking people, i would suggest that. it makes no sense learning a language that you won't have the opportunity to practice on a regular basis.
I only have prejudice against those people who work in customer service oriented jobs and don't speak English. I will keep Spanish as an option.

I would be able to use German regularly by talking to my grandmother. 92% of the population here in Colorado is white, so I really would not have an opportunity to use another language regularly. Its something I would have to be self-disciplined about and keep with it. Self-discipline is one of the reasons I want to teach myself another language.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:35 AM   #18
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How about Ryanese?
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Old 07-10-07, 11:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crtreedude
Yes, I think he owns a big telecom company - but I might be wrong.
I think its more like all of Mexico.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:37 AM   #20
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English...it's the only language that actually matters. Everybody will be speaking it in the future.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:41 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Mountain
I'm just under the impression that Chinese would be extremely difficult. I do think it would be highly beneficial since I want to become a business lawyer. It would open a lot of doors.
You're thinking of Chinese Algebra. That's really hard.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:45 AM   #22
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since you can't decide...why not study latin? it would be a good base no matter which direction you end up taking.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:51 AM   #23
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I have the same delimma.

I probably will work on Spanish, as in Texas, most everyone speaks it.
After that, its a toss-up between Russian, and Mandarin.
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Old 07-10-07, 12:15 PM   #24
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Chinese is hard, but not so much as people make it out to be -- the grammar, for instance, is quite simple. However, because it seems so fundamentally foreign to English speakers, it's also that much more rewarding when you do figure stuff out.

BUT do not go into it thinking that you will be able to speak and read comfortably after a few months (which you might be able to do with Spanish or French). Also, if you're non-Asian, be aware that no matter how well you speak and immerse yourself in the culture, you will always be an outsider. This may or may not be an issue for you -- it is for some, less so for others.

Japanese is far easier to pronounce, but the grammar is a pain. Reading is perhaps easier than Chinese because they do use phonetic alphabets (kana) along with Chinese characters (kanji). Same deal applies with the eternal outsider status of non-Japanese people.

If you're set on a useful European language, definitely go for Spanish. French, German, and Italian are wonderful languages, but they're relatively localised. That said, go with what you're interested in. It will make your life a lot easier, and you will be able to speak the language that much better.

As for Russian, I have heard much about how hard it is to learn. Can't say from experience if it's true or not.

Finally, look into an immersion program. Being surrounded by the language is by far the best way to learn it, IMHO.

In terms of usefulness in the future, I'd say Chinese (Mandarin) comes first, followed by Spanish and Arabic. Japanese and Russian might be useful, but less so.

My own plans are to continue working on my Chinese, and attack both French and Spanish. French because I believe that, as a Canadian, I should speak it; Spanish because my mother is originally from Chile, and I want to connect with my family there.

What do you want to do with your chosen language? If I may say so, learning a language to look good on a law school application isn't the best way to approach it.
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Old 07-10-07, 12:24 PM   #25
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I would suggest French. While France and French Guyana openly use it, it is used or accepted by the US, Vietnam, Canada, and other countries.
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