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Language Most Useful?

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
As an undergrad, what is the best language to start studying right now?

Chinese? Spanish? Japanese?

Discuss please.
post #2 of 66
arabic or russian if for "business"-y purposes huge growth potential already starting to be actualized, a lot of money and natural resources from these regions as well as a lot of investments going in that direction at the same time, relatively small number of people who study it (in comparison to chinese and spanish; on top of the tens of thousands of native chinese/spanish in US colleges) to a smaller extent, i might add portuguese and maaaaaybe vietnamese
post #3 of 66
post #4 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by kxk View Post
arabic or russian if for "business"-y purposes
huge growth potential already starting to be actualized, a lot of money and natural resources from these regions as well as a lot of investments going in that direction

I'm also thinking of learning another language. I love languages and am good at them. I love the little Arabic I know. But Arabic or Russian over Spanish and chinese? Living in the US?
post #5 of 66
Thread Starter 
I'm actually going medical. I've got about a year of Spanish..........but I'm just wanting to learn a language for the fun of it.
post #6 of 66
Since your in/going to medical any language would be useful. Depending on your community where you work the surrounding languages in that community would be most beneficial.
post #7 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by kxk View Post
arabic or russian if for "business"-y purposes
+ 1. I'd say Russian, then Arabic or maybe even Persian. If it just for fun, travel and work abroad opportunities then Portuguese or Bahasa Indonesian/ Malaysian.
post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinW View Post
+ 1. I'd say Russian, then Arabic or maybe even Persian. If it just for fun, travel and work abroad opportunities then Portuguese or Bahasa Indonesian/ Malaysian.

This is actually pretty good for me. I love to travel to Eastern Europe (for fun) so Russian would be helpful. Also I have a background in Arabic and already speak an Arabic-like language so that should be easy to pick up.

What sources do you recommend? Rosetta Stone?
post #9 of 66
Russian or Arabic, like everyone else is saying. Mandarin is basically useless to learn in a business setting because the vast majority of Chinese in business already speak english and won't want to speak to you in Mandarin anyways. French and Spanish are both nice but not as useful as Russian/Arabic in my opinion.
post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington View Post
Russian or Arabic, like everyone else is saying. Mandarin is basically useless to learn in a business setting because the vast majority of Chinese in business already speak english and won't want to speak to you in Mandarin anyways. French and Spanish are both nice but not as useful as Russian/Arabic in my opinion.

This is actually good to know. I've always wanted to learn Arabic but ended up taking German classes and was thinking of learning Spanish because Spanish is useful in the US.
post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington View Post
Russian or Arabic, like everyone else is saying. Mandarin is basically useless to learn in a business setting because the vast majority of Chinese in business already speak english and won't want to speak to you in Mandarin anyways. French and Spanish are both nice but not as useful as Russian/Arabic in my opinion.

Doing business in China requires Mandarin
post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragon8 View Post
Doing business in China requires Mandarin
+1 Am surprised this wasn't mentioned til post 11. To the OP - if your motivation to learn a language is primarily personal interest, I'd stick with one of the Latin derivatives. You get Roman letters (unlike Russian or Arabic), you get an alphabet (unlike Mandarin), and if you attain a certain fluency in one you can pretty much understand and be understood in most of the others. Spanish will give you upside with Italian and Portuguese, so it's a 3-fer. If you're not interested in Spanish, try Italian - which is always fun, and Italians love whomever makes even a modest attempt at their language. On the other hand, if by "useful" you mean the ability to communicate with the most number of people, then you're back to Mandarin.
post #13 of 66
With a business perspective in mind, the most marketable language today is Chinese. No discussion.
post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by medtech_expat View Post
+1

Am surprised this wasn't mentioned til post 11.

To the OP - if your motivation to learn a language is primarily personal interest, I'd stick with one of the Latin derivatives. You get Roman letters (unlike Russian or Arabic), you get an alphabet (unlike Madarin), and if you attain a certain fluency in one you can pretty much understand and be understood in most of the others.

Spanish will give you upside with Italian and Portuguese, so it's a 3-fer. If you're not interested in Spanish, try Italian - which is always fun, and Italians love whomever makes even a modest attempt at their language.

On the other hand, if by "useful" you mean the ability to communicate with the most number of people, then you're back to Mandarin.

well you don't really need to learn Chinese characters to learn Mandarin.

I learned it pin yin, and was conversationally pretty decent way-back-when (I've basically forgotten it all now), but on the whole: plus one to the people saying Mandarin and plus one to the people saying "you need Chinese for business in China". Yes, you will get by without it, yes, a lot of people will speak to you in English, and then they will turn and confer with their colleagues, and you will have no idea what they are saying. This is not ideal.
post #15 of 66
Let's see. Location: Florida. Purpose: fun. Hmm. That's a toughie.
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