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The German language

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 
I've decided to pursue a minor dream of mine and take German next semester. I have 5 years of Latin under my belt, but it would pay to have something a bit more useful in my repertoire.

As I understand it, German is the most widely spoken language (sans English) in Europe. Can anyone comment on its usefulness? I'm sure we have some fluent/near-fluent speakers here on SF.
post #2 of 106
I met more Germans who spoke French than vice-versa. French was the most common language I came across other than English, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. I guess it depends on where you want to go in Europe!

Also, I think Irish would be most useful.
post #3 of 106
Are you going to use the German language to seduce young women?
post #4 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Connemara View Post
I've decided to pursue a minor dream of mine and take German next semester. I have 5 years of Latin under my belt, but it would pay to have something a bit more useful in my repertoire.

As I understand it, German is the most widely spoken language (sans English) in Europe. Can anyone comment on its usefulness? I'm sure we have some fluent/near-fluent speakers here on SF.


You would probably need to speak German for your eventual star turn in a Scheiss film.
post #5 of 106
time to unpimp ze auto.
post #6 of 106
I guess Mandarin or Spanish would be the most useful. I like Spanish but don't like the idea that I almost have to know it due to politics.

If you want to learn German, learn German, Germany is probably not a bad place to live. Before English, I thought French was the language to know, and before that Latin? I know Eastern Europe speaks a lot of German since some of their economies, like Croatia and Slovenia were tied into the deutschmark at one point.

Personally, I have always thought Gaelic would be super cool to learn and have always wanted to learn Welsh Gaelic ever since I heard my grandma's friends speaking it.
post #7 of 106
When I was in Macau, I thought Portuguese was a nice language.
post #8 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing View Post
When I was in Macau, I thought Portuguese was a nice language.

I pick up Italian and Spanish words when listening but it sounds like Russian to me for some reason.
post #9 of 106
i find both german and portuguese to be rather unpleasant to listen to.

if you want useful, learn japanese, chinese, spanish, arabic, italian or french. i say italian or french because knowing them impresses young impressionable women. i say arabic because the day after 9/11 the c.i.a. posted job ads all over the internet, paying top $$$ to anyone who spoke arabic.
post #10 of 106
Dutch sounds cool too. The only Asian languages that I can stand listening to are Korean and Japanese.
post #11 of 106
my mom's from germany, so I've spoken it since boyhood. One thing I can say is that an understanding of German's complex, labyrinthine grammar, the structure of which resembles a Lego castle, will certainly prove an asset to a speaker of any language in the building of complex sentences which continue on forever and ever, with clauses and other sub-sections arranged throughout.
post #12 of 106
I think learning an Asian language has helped me a lot. Before, since I didn't practice Spanish much aside from reading yahoo.es, I had a hard time with direct objects, etc that are out of order in relation to English. Since Korean has all the word orders are completely backwards, my Spanish improved a ton because my mind was used to having to think in a different order. Also, if you don't know basic English grammar, learning a foreign language is nearly impossible. I learned all my English grammar in my Spanish classes I took as a kid.
post #13 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector View Post
Dutch sounds cool too.

As someone who works in the Acquisitions division of Harvard Library's Germanic Department, I come across most of the northern European languages on a daily basis. Speaking Norwegian and German fluently, its easy to decipher Danish, Swedish and Dutch, Icelandic is considerably more difficult, but doable. When I get a shipment from Hunagry or Finland, I pretty much just fake it.


That said, dutch is the craziest sounding shit I've ever heard. Dutch seems to have a pronounciation exactly like English's, which I attribute to the long history of back-and-forth between Holland and England. When you see a Dutch word, you can phontecially figure it out and you'll be right (they may enunciate differntly, but they pronounce the constituent parts the same.) Dutch seriously sounds to me like a native english speaker making up a germanic language as they go along
post #14 of 106
German is best reserved for intimidating discussions about elegant engineering, mathematics, military campaigns, and philosophy. Actually, I believe that in the inter-war period, anyone who wanted to pursue a career in any of the above (maybe except military) had to learn German since all the academic writings were published in Germany.
post #15 of 106
german is a hell of alot less useful than it was 20 years ago - now, most of central europe doesn't speak any german. speaking german well is very difficult, speaking it poorly is pretty easy.
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