Best secondary language besides spanish

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Which secondary language is the best to know besides spainish

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Bluggo » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:06 am UTC

ssbookyu123 wrote:I want to take a secondary langauge that is not spanish and I need to know what would be the best to know in terms relavance in the real world please explain why the languge you chose is the best choice.

The real world is a kinda big place, so which language is the most relevant really depends on what kind of use you have in mind.

Also, there is the matter of the language difficulty: for example, Chinese would be an awesomely useful tongue to know, but if you go that route you have to keep in mind that it will take *a lot* more work than Spanish to master - I do not know how much true it is, but I heard people saying that ten years of Chinese study give you approximately the same level of proficiency of two years of Spanish study.

This said, I would suggest Russian.
It is spoken in a very vast, economically powerful region of the world, it has an impressive wealth of literature, and while not nearly as difficult as Chinese or Arabic it is different enough from English to keep things interesting.

Moreover, knowing it would make it easier to pick up other Slavic languages - essentially in the same way in which knowing Spanish is a *big* help in understanding French and Italian, albeit perhaps not up to the same degree.

Plus, many Russian people do not speak English, so knowing Russian would definitely be more useful than, let's say, knowing Hindi or Dutch.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby sparks » Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:30 am UTC

I suppose it depends on what you intend to do with them and with your life, your interests, etc..

That said, I would say Italian, French, German, Portuguese (hey, I'm biased here) or something along the lines of Arabic/Chinese, if you intend to get into any Economy-related fields. In terms of general career usefulness, I'd name those and mostly French/German, but in my opinion, languages should be learnt for more than writing business reports.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Bluggo » Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

As much as I am flattered by the high status that my mothertongue apparently has, Italian is probably not worth it unless one is interested in some specific topic (e.g., history of the Renaissance, or opera) or is already planning of moving to Italy.

We are not that many, we are not an economic powerhouse, and while our past cultural achievements were significant the current ones are not really that outstanding.

On the other hand, Italian is similar enough to Spanish that, if you already know the latter, achieving a reading and listening comprehension of the former would be relatively easy - but anyway, in order of importance Italian ranks well below Dutch or German.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Torinmr » Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:23 am UTC

Speaking from my very limited expertise as an American high school student, I would like to vouch for the usefulness of Mandarin Chinese. China is the most populous nation in the world, and in contrast to Hindi's role in India, Mandarin is spoken by the vast majority of China's population. China is the fastest growing economy in the world, and seems likely to match America in wealth and influence within my lifetime. Chinese has a great deal of utility because of its sheer difference from English; it opens the door to vast culture that is more or less completely alien to us English-speakers, and the use of characters is very directly applicable to Japanese and other Asian languages. As for everyday usefulness, I can say that where I live (a university town in the Pacific Northwest), I hear Chinese spoken on the street far more than Spanish or French or German.

I have a very limited basis of experience to speak from on the difficulty of learning Chinese: Dissatisfied with the selection of languages taught at my high school, I made the decision last year to enroll in an intensive introductory Mandarin course this summer at the local university. I started this Monday, and I'm finding it very enjoyable and not nearly as difficult as I've been led to believe. After just four days of studying 5-7 hours a day (including work outside of class), I can write about 40 characters from memory, and carry on a very simple conversation (Hello, how are you? What is your name? Are you a teacher? No, I'm a student. Are you an American? No, I'm Chinese- and so on.). Though the writing and pronunciation are very different from English, the grammar is drastically simpler than any European language.

The reason most people think of Mandarin as a very difficult language is because of the writing system, but I've found it to be very logical; the same figures appear over and over in different characters, and most of the characters are formed in very consistent ways. For example, approximately 90% of the characters in Chinese are formed by smooshing two simpler characters into one glyph: one of the characters will give a hint to the combined character's meaning, and the other a will give a hint to its pronunciation. For example, the character 妈, meaning mother, contains 女, meaning woman, and 马 (horse), which has a very similar pronunciation to 妈.

Of course, all of the above is qualified by the absolute vastness of my inexperience, but perhaps it can be of use to someone.

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