Best secondary language besides spanish

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Which secondary language is the best to know besides spainish

French
21
39%
German
9
17%
Italian
2
4%
Other (provide details)
22
41%
 
Total votes: 54

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ssbookyu123
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Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby ssbookyu123 » Sat May 30, 2009 8:59 pm UTC

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.
Last edited by ssbookyu123 on Sun May 31, 2009 10:43 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spainish

Postby Bobber » Sat May 30, 2009 9:25 pm UTC

It's pretty much impossible to give an answer to this question without some more background information on the learner. Where do you live? What career do you hope to pursue? Are you just interested in language generally? Do you want to use it when you travel? Are you planning on becoming a polyglot and want to know the next step after Spanish?

Answer some or all of these and help people answering you.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spainish

Postby tgjensen » Sat May 30, 2009 9:28 pm UTC

english lol

Um, I'd probably say chinese. That one seems to be on the rise.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spainish

Postby gmalivuk » Sat May 30, 2009 9:41 pm UTC

What kind of real-world relevance are you talking, here?

In any case, probably *not* French, German, or Italian. Especially not German or Italian. How many countries are those spoken in, really?
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Re: Best secondary language besides spainish

Postby sje46 » Sat May 30, 2009 9:46 pm UTC

I'm thinking French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian perhaps. But really, Spanish is probably the most useful language in the world besides English, but I could be wrong.

If you want to learn a lot of languages, and wish to know your first step, Latin and Greek would probably be good ideas. Perhaps German as well, but I'm not sure about that.

Also (I don't want to be this guy, but I don't want you to be embarrassed later), it's spelled "Spanish". :)

I wish you a lot of luck with whatever language you choose to study.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spainish

Postby Kizyr » Sun May 31, 2009 3:06 am UTC

...I really can't resist saying this, sorry...

English. I suggest placing some extra focus on punctuation and capitalization rules while you're at it.

Besides that, if you want a practical language, then pick whatever is most commonly spoken in your area. In the US, that tends to be English first, Spanish second, and then a whole host of things depending on where you are. (Chinese, Korean, French, German, Tagalog, Somali, and Kurdish to name a few that could've been useful for me.) KF
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Re: Best secondary language besides spainish

Postby Silas » Sun May 31, 2009 3:51 am UTC

Well, pretty much all of the obvious choices have been mentioned (Hindi/Urdu and Japanese should probably be on the short list, too). But what you have to consider is that, except for English and, to a lesser extent, Spanish and French, any language you learn is going to start to define your specialty. Taking up any other language will help prepare you to work or travel where it's spoken.

But learning the language is probably the easiest part of becoming a regional specialist. Learning, say, Russian, is peanuts to figuring out how things work in Russia: whose approval you have to get to build a factory, the tricky laws and regulatory whims that trip up foreigners, etc. Better, then, to think about what kind of work you want to do, and where you want to do it, and, afterward, decide what language you can learn, to make it a reality.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby tetromino » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:36 am UTC

You are still in school, correct? In that case, you should start learning a language with a non-Latin alphabet, a complex grammar, and not too many English cognates. That way, you will be exposed to the sorts of crazy possibilities that exist in other languages (making picking up another language in the future easier); plus, if you are going after a language very different from English, your best hope is to start young, while your brain is still somewhat soft and malleable.

So I would suggest Japanese, Russian or Arabic.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby fyrenwater » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:19 am UTC

Mandarin. It's the way of the future!

No, really. If the predictions are correct, China will be the next superpowerful country. It'll be especially important for business and political relations. It's also an interesting language and impresses a lot of people.
...It made more sense in my head.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Eruantale » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:10 pm UTC

As was said before, it depends on what you want to do with the language. I am working towards a linguistics major and deciding what other languages to pick up other than Spanish has been tough. I've taken five years of Latin, which doesn't have much practical application, but has been tremendously useful in quickly learning other Romance languages such as Portuguese, French and Italian. I was considering an intensive study of either Hindi or Mandarin, but while these are some of the most widely-spoken languages in the world, I wouldn't see them as particularly useful in the United States. Indians living in the United States, for example, often practice better English than most Americans I know. One Indian friend I have speaks Tamil as her first language but says that English is usually spoken at business meetings back in India due to the wide range of dialects spoken by the business associates. If you want to travel, however, you might want to keep these languages in consideration.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby AtlasDrugged » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:12 pm UTC

The obsession with Romance languages + German in Western education systems, as evinced in this thread, is very troubling. Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic are all more valuable (albeit much more difficult) than <insert language of random European country>. Mandarin is by far the hardest but probably the most useful over the long term.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Joeldi » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:The obsession with Romance languages + German in Western education systems, as evinced in this thread, is very troubling.


Schools in Australia tend to teach Japanese, Mandarin, or in some cases French.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby sje46 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:The obsession with Romance languages + German in Western education systems, as evinced in this thread, is very troubling. Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic are all more valuable (albeit much more difficult) than <insert language of random European country>. Mandarin is by far the hardest but probably the most useful over the long term.

Many people have said these same languages. Romance languages have been focused upon because they are more likely to be helpful in Europe and America, and learning one of these can be a HUGE help in learning similar languages. IT all depends on what that person will do. As an American from New ENgland, it would be an excellent idea for me to learn Spanish, and maybe French. Not Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, etc. I don't think I have ever came across a person IRL who was speaking Hindi or Arabic, and I have come across people speaking Russian and Chinese very few times. Spanish and French? A lot more.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:48 pm UTC

Also, I wonder if AD is aware that most people on this forum are American, where Spanish is the second most spoken language in the country, and French is the other language that's official in a country that borders ours.

The question, which has already been asked, is "what do you want to do with this language". If you want to travel to many different countries all over the world, Hindi and Mandarin aren't actually that practical. If you want to study modern science or Western philosophy, French and German are essential for primary sources in the past few centuries. Russian may have less than those languages, but is still up there and would also be very useful if you're reading historical math writing.

So when you make a blanket statement like "Language X is more valuable than Language Y", you've really got to specify what you consider the most valuable uses of a language.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby AtlasDrugged » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

Yeah, I forgot to exclude Spanish (and Portuguese as well, given the increasing importance of Brazil). I have to question though how important French and German are to understanding, to use your first example, modern science (philosophy I can understand, although it requires a mastery of those languages to be able to derive any benefit from reading in the original language anyway), where the concepts being described in texts are mainly physical rather than abstract. While the usefulness of any given language is of course dependent upon the purpose for which you're learning a language in the first place, if I were a graduate right now I'd much prefer to be fluent in Hindi/Russian/Mandarin/Arabic.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Delbin » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:35 am UTC

I just want to add that France was a colonial power, so you can use French in a surprising number of countries (including asian ones.)

Edit: Oh, and english is an official language of India, no? So learning a language from there may be redundant.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Eruantale » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:43 am UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:The obsession with Romance languages + German in Western education systems, as evinced in this thread, is very troubling. Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic are all more valuable (albeit much more difficult) than <insert language of random European country>. Mandarin is by far the hardest but probably the most useful over the long term.


Though a few after you have argued, I would like to hear your personal defense as to why Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic are the most valuable (if you return, that is).
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Kizyr » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:30 am UTC

There's little point in learning Hindi unless you really do know you're going to be using it. I never learned Bangla (what my family speaks), and the only real incentive for me to learn it would be to communicate with my family--all of whom speak English anyway (including everyone who still lives in Bangladesh). ...well, it'd be more accurate to say that there's no inherent reason to learn Hindi as opposed to Bengali, Punjabi, Gujurati, Tamil... If you want something that's widely spoken in India, in terms of business and government, well, that'd be English.

Japanese is another thing I'd advise against unless you really think you'll be using it. I use it all the time myself, but the only times I've needed to use it has been in situations that I intentionally put myself in (e.g., studying abroad, taking it on myself to translate something, etc.).

Mandarin, likewise, is useful if you think you'll be using it. If you really want to go into the foreign service, or international business, then sure you can find a use for it.

Overall, the only language besides English I've found to be convenient to know is Spanish. Incidentally, that's also the only one that's ever benefited me at work as well. Though I don't learn languages just due to convenience. KF
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby AtlasDrugged » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:44 am UTC

Though a few after you have argued, I would like to hear your personal defense as to why Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic are the most valuable (if you return, that is).


If you're going into business (not small business, since Spanish probably is most useful then), those four become valuable simply because of the economic importance of the countries in which they are spoken. Employers also look very favourably on people who can speak them, Mandarin and Arabic especially.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Kizyr » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:13 pm UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:
Though a few after you have argued, I would like to hear your personal defense as to why Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Arabic are the most valuable (if you return, that is).


If you're going into business (not small business, since Spanish probably is most useful then), those four become valuable simply because of the economic importance of the countries in which they are spoken. Employers also look very favourably on people who can speak them, Mandarin and Arabic especially.

That applies to Chinese and Arabic, Japanese to a lesser extent (less now than 20-30 years ago), but not as much to Russian anymore (Russian is still valuable in international politics, though; and Arabic obviously is). That still doesn't apply at all to Hindi, however. If the reason for learning the language is business, then it's English that you'll be using, not Hindi--or the other dozen major languages in India. KF
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby BrainMagMo » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:24 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Also, I wonder if AD is aware that most people on this forum are American, where Spanish is the second most spoken language in the country, and French is the other language that's official in a country that borders ours.
The third most common language in America is ASL.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:09 am UTC

Probably because everyone who can use ASL also knows English?
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Eruantale » Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:08 am UTC

AtlasDrugged wrote:If you're going into business (not small business, since Spanish probably is most useful then), those four become valuable simply because of the economic importance of the countries in which they are spoken. Employers also look very favourably on people who can speak them, Mandarin and Arabic especially.


But wouldn't the people with whom you would be conducting business most likely have received a superb education and speak fluent English? I certainly agree that they would look extremely impressive on a resume, as they are difficult languages to tackle.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby happy-go-lucky » Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:14 pm UTC

It's not especially polite to assume that everyone will speak English. If you want to conduct business with someone then it's nice if you can speak their language, instead of requiring them to speak yours.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:22 pm UTC

English is an official language in India, though, so I think it's decidedly less arrogant to assume someone from there speaks English than it is in many other countries.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Kizyr » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:38 pm UTC

happy-go-lucky wrote:It's not especially polite to assume that everyone will speak English. If you want to conduct business with someone then it's nice if you can speak their language, instead of requiring them to speak yours.
gmalivuk wrote:English is an official language in India, though, so I think it's decidedly less arrogant to assume someone from there speaks English than it is in many other countries.

Considering that English education is mandatory in nearly every high school and university in India and Bangladesh (presumably Pakistan, too, but I don't have firsthand knowledge of that), it's rather arrogant to assume anyone highly-educated in India cannot speak English. If you're talking about just going around on the street, that's another matter.

Actually, it'd probably come off as more arrogant to just learn Hindi, and assume everyone in India speaks Hindi. KF
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Telestriation » Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:07 am UTC

I'd have to say, for my money, that either Latin, Greek, Arabic (Please pick a specific dialect, like Masri) , or French would be most useful, for the following reasons:
-Latin and Greek make up the basis of a hell of a lot of languages out there, and you get basic education in most Romance languages by learning Latin. Not to mention, it looks awesome on the resume to learn them. Also, lingua latinarum facile discere est. I really hope I got that right.
-Arabic is fairly good to know, since there are a lot of people who speak it. French is, as well, but is surprisingly less used. Despite the god-knows-how-many protectorates and colonies they had, only a few hundred million speak it, with the number dropping.

Meanwhile, in response to AD's statements: It's easier for them to learn the language of the world superpower, instead of learning all the languages of their neighbors. England and the U.S. were on top for most of the Industrial Revolution, with France taking a second or third place for most of that.

Edit: Forgot to mention this the first time, but I'm looking into learning a new language on my own/with classes. Were I, myself to learn a language, would Swedish or Italian be better? My logic is that, having already learned a large amount of Latin, Italian follows naturally. The problem lies in the fact that I have 3 Swedish friends, might live there one day, and Danish/Norwegian are pretty close. Quick answers, no need to take the poor kid's limelight anymore than needed.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Threb » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:50 am UTC

Telestriation wrote:Edit: Forgot to mention this the first time, but I'm looking into learning a new language on my own/with classes. Were I, myself to learn a language, would Swedish or Italian be better? My logic is that, having already learned a large amount of Latin, Italian follows naturally. The problem lies in the fact that I have 3 Swedish friends, might live there one day, and Danish/Norwegian are pretty close. Quick answers, no need to take the poor kid's limelight anymore than needed.



I'd go for Swedish, simply because you have friends to practice speaking it with. (unless you also know where you could find some Italians to talk to)

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Roĝer » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:57 pm UTC

Go for Swedish, because I'm learning it too now.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Eruantale » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:59 pm UTC

Telestriation wrote: I'd have to say, for my money, that either Latin, Greek, Arabic (Please pick a specific dialect, like Masri) , or French would be most useful, for the following reasons:
-Latin and Greek make up the basis of a hell of a lot of languages out there, and you get basic education in most Romance languages by learning Latin. Not to mention, it looks awesome on the resume to learn them. Also, lingua latinarum facile discere est. I really hope I got that right.


Agreed! Agreed! Except you should probably just say Lingua Latina...

Telestriation wrote: Forgot to mention this the first time, but I'm looking into learning a new language on my own/with classes. Were I, myself to learn a language, would Swedish or Italian be better? My logic is that, having already learned a large amount of Latin, Italian follows naturally. The problem lies in the fact that I have 3 Swedish friends, might live there one day, and Danish/Norwegian are pretty close. Quick answers, no need to take the poor kid's limelight anymore than needed.


I would start with Swedish since it is an entirely different language. As we get older it becomes increasingly difficult to learn new languages. If you wanted to learn both, Italian would probably be easier for you to learn later on in life than Swedish. As a side note, I personally believe that Spanish seems closer to Latin than Italian is. I don't know why that would be, just an observation.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Bassoon » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:41 am UTC

I have three. French is the first, due to (as someone said earlier) their great prominence in colonizing the world. The second, for the same reason, is Dutch. The third, of course, is Chinese.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:54 am UTC

Dutch is the thirty-seventh most commonly spoken language. Forgive me if I remain skeptical as to its utility.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Bassoon » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

*shrug*

Dutch is rather popular where I come from, and therefore you should learn it! so I feel I can only relay what I know. I think a good way to pick useful languages to learn is to buy a new piece of electronics or furniture and note which languages it uses. Those are the ones you should try to learn.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Bobber » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

Bassoon wrote:Dutch is rather popular where I come from
Would you just so happen to be living in The Netherlands?
If not, at least some Indonesian island with strong Dutch colonial influence.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:58 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Dutch is the thirty-seventh most commonly spoken language. Forgive me if I remain skeptical as to its utility.


Dutch is pretty similar to a lot of European languages. If you know Dutch and English, learning many Scandinavian and Central European languages will be pretty easy. Dutch is also mutually intelligible with Afrikaans.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:13 am UTC

For talking to all those people in South Africa who don't know a word of English?

And otherwise the same could be said of German, which is the 10th most commonly spoken language, as opposed to 100th for Afrikaans.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby You, sir, name? » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:41 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:For talking to all those people in South Africa who don't know a word of English?

And otherwise the same could be said of German, which is the 10th most commonly spoken language, as opposed to 100th for Afrikaans.


German is farther away from the Scandinavian languages though. I know Dutch speakers who say they can get the gist of written Swedish and Norwegian. The same does not go for German speakers.
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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Threb » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:29 am UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:For talking to all those people in South Africa who don't know a word of English?

And otherwise the same could be said of German, which is the 10th most commonly spoken language, as opposed to 100th for Afrikaans.


German is farther away from the Scandinavian languages though. I know Dutch speakers who say they can get the gist of written Swedish and Norwegian. The same does not go for German speakers.


I thought German shared a lot of its vocabulary with Scandinavian languages? (and even more of it with Dutch)

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Telestriation » Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:20 am UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:For talking to all those people in South Africa who don't know a word of English?

And otherwise the same could be said of German, which is the 10th most commonly spoken language, as opposed to 100th for Afrikaans.


German is farther away from the Scandinavian languages though. I know Dutch speakers who say they can get the gist of written Swedish and Norwegian. The same does not go for German speakers.


Uh... I can do that with most Scandinavian languages as is, in addition to the Romance languages. And German. Y'know why? 'Cause I know English and Latin. Again, Latin led to numerous languages, which led to numerous more.

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Re: Best secondary language besides spanish

Postby Silas » Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:32 am UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:I know Dutch speakers who say they can get the gist of written Swedish and Norwegian. The same does not go for German speakers.

I don't know what level of 'gist' Dutch speakers can get out of written Swedish, but I (a native English speaker with some Russian and German in school) can figure out what's going on in about every other (n=6) Swedish Wikipedia article- I bet you could do about as well. Dutch is not a great gateway language. It has weird phonology that obscures similarities to other Germanic languages and is so close to English that you're not getting much useful exposure to new linguistic concepts.
Felstaff wrote:Serves you goddamned right. I hope you're happy, Cake Ruiner


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