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Which language should I learn?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by funk_engineer, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. German

    10 vote(s)
  2. Italian

    1 vote(s)
  3. Russian

    1 vote(s)
  4. Spanish

    16 vote(s)
  1. I was considering taking some foreign language classes to meet some general education elective requirements. I am an English-speaking American. I took 3 semesters of Spanish in high school, but I remember very little and since I've already taken some, they'd probably want to put me in a non-introductory class, and I don't know if I could handle that. (And I still can't roll Rs).

    I have been trying to decide between Russian, German, and Italian, so I need some opinions, preferably from English-speakers who learned one or more of them. Which language is the most difficult, and why? Which is easiest, and why?

    Also, if you have any other thoughts on reasons to take one or another, let me know. I've never been off of this continent and would like to visit other countries some day. I'd like to be able to better appreciate their literature, music, etc. (Say, understanding opera a little better, perhaps).

  2. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I say spanish. As far as ease it's probably the closest to English as far as learning the pronunciation and stuff. There are some tough grammar sections to learn but not THAT tough and lastly I think spanish is the most commonly useful foreign language to know in these United States.

    I really enjoy spanish too. Not sure why. Then again I live in a state with a pretty high latino population...I'm guessing that's not so in Indiana.

    I know this isn't one of the choices but my second nomination would be Chinese. They are developing into a massive superpower both economically and politically. There are so many american corps. doing business over there and Chinese could be extremely useful to learn, even moreso in the future. The grammar rules are pretty simple in Chinese but the pronunciation and written language are very hard for Americans to grasp at first (but get easier as you get the hang of it.)

    brad cook
  3. Id say Italian, because it sounds such a nice, atrractive language. And also, Italy is great place to go and visit if you do learn.
  4. I say German. From what I understand/been told, German is the easiest language to learn for a native born english speaker. A large amount of german words are very similar to english words, and there are only a few forms of past tense (whereas french has roughly a dozen).

    I know german well enough to read and understand a small amount of it, but not enough to write or say anything really complex (i really want to get up to that level though). But then again, I've only been taking it for 2 years in a highschool class.
  5. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    From the point of view of utility, I believe that Spanish is the most widely spoken of the three.
  6. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I say Spanish.

    I can't think of any other second language that would be as useful in the U.S.
  7. i want to take germen, but our HS's germen 1 and 2 teacher (same person) is a evil b****. I would love to learn Itailan, but its not offered.
  8. bentem


    Oct 18, 2002
    Rockville, MD
    i would probaly say spanish too, it can be very useful (if you end up remembering anything:D ).

    Unless of course you get stuck with a bad teacher, which makes everything difficult.
  9. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    estudia Español
  10. why not learn icelandic? :p

    þá mundirðu skilja hvað ég er að segja núna.
  11. Johnalex


    Jul 20, 2001
    South Carolina
    ok....I was in the same situation as you goign into college. I tought it would be intresting to take an off the wall languege. I ended up taking Japanese. I failed is miserably. It was rediculously hard and I would NEVER recomend it to anybody (sorry to any Japanese on the board.) I am now in spanish and love it. I wish I took it from the beginning.
  12. I second that, Senor Castelo: estudia espanol.

    PS do I have a biased opinion to Spanish, just because my teacher's a hot senorita?

    :bassist: Nathaniel.
  13. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Having learned both German and Spanish, I have to say Spanish is the easier of the two, by far. However, some folks do not have a facility for learning any foreign language and find that no foreign language comes easily.

    From a very practical standpoint, I think Spanish makes the most sense if you live in the U.S., but be sure the Spanish you learn is South American, Central American, Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban. If you learn Spanish as spoken in Spain, you may have difficulty understanding Spanish you hear on the street, in stores, and in tele-novelas.

    I agree with the person above who said Italian is beautiful. Indeed it is, but many highschools and colleges do not offer classes in Italian. Too, it may not be really useful to you unless you plan to visit Italy or live or study there.

    There is another point I feel is important to mention. I studied Spanish in high school and took German in college. But I didn't really grasp Spanish until I actaully lived in a Spanish-speaking country for eight years. There really is nothing like "total submersion" in a language to make you learn it. That means 24/7, newspapers, TV, radio, all communication in the language forcing you to hear it, speak it, read and write it, struggle with it and get used to it. Any other approach to learning a language is quite superficial and will take you much longer to learn.
  14. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Debes aprender espanol.
  15. Were there any reasons in particular you found one language harder than the other? Syntax, pronunciation, etc.?

    Thanks for all the responses, and keep them coming. I do like the sound of Russian, but I'm probably not going with that now because it's 4 credit hours instead of 3 and my schedule's already tight. (I may not be able to be in a jazz band next semester.)

    I want to have some knowledge of another language if I decide to travel sometime. I suppose it could help me professionally, too (as my user name implies, I am going into engineering), though not necessarily. If I decide against a language, I may try to get music theory courses (tough now, they fill up fast), though that definitely won't help me professionally.
  16. I'm in the same boat, I speak only English, and I need a language for next year, and I only have a bit of French. But living in Halifax, French or Arabic would probably be a lot more useful than Spanish (Halifax has a huge Arabic population, and almost no Spanish). I can take French, Italian, Spanish, German, Arabic, or Russian. I voted Russian because it sounds and looks so cool, but I'm considering Arabic for myself.
  17. Learn Spanish. German has so much grammar that the German government actually had to pass a law a year or so back to get rid of some of it.
  18. You should take what everybody in this country speaks, espanol compadre:)
  19. :D
  20. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    For a native English speaker I'd imagine Japanese would be harder to learn than say Spanish or German. English came from all those Western European languages, so there area bunch of similarites between them. Japanese on the other hand isn't like English at all. If it makes you feel any better Japanese people have a hard time learning English.

    In terms of job outlook Japanese might be a better asset than Spanish. While it seems like everyone and their uncle speaks Spanish in America, not many speak Japanese. If you go to work for a company that deals with the Japanese (and engineering firms definitely do) having Japanese on your resume will be a plus.

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