1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

Language Most Useful?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by dmash, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. dmash

    dmash Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,372
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    As an undergrad, what is the best language to start studying right now?

    Chinese? Spanish? Japanese?

    Discuss please.
     
  2. kxk

    kxk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    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
     
  3. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,645
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    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?
     
  4. dmash

    dmash Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,372
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    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.
     
  5. dragon8

    dragon8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,613
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco
    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.
     
  6. JustinW

    JustinW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,199
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    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.
     
  7. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,645
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    + 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?
     
  8. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,811
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    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.
     
  9. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,645
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    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.
     
  10. dragon8

    dragon8 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,613
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco
    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
     
  11. medtech_expat

    medtech_expat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,019
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Paris & SF
    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.
     
  12. JhwkMac

    JhwkMac Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    With a business perspective in mind, the most marketable language today is Chinese. No discussion.
     
  13. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,179
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sunny Saigon
    +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.
     
  14. Mr. White

    Mr. White Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    801
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Let's see. Location: Florida. Purpose: fun. Hmm. That's a toughie.
     
  15. TheIdler

    TheIdler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,229
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Location:
    Spain
    Nobody I know who has studied Chinese or Arabic, no matter how useful it was, ever called it "fun". You're going to be a doctor, you're in the middle of Florida...Spanish is going to hit the sweet spot of useful and fun.

    FTFY:
    "you need Spanish to pick up hot Latinas in Florida". Yes, you will get by without it, yes, a lot of hot Latinas will speak to you in English, and then they will turn and confer with their hot Latina friends, and you will have no idea what they are saying. This is not ideal.
     
  16. Eason

    Eason Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,669
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    Bangkok
    Studying languages is for chumps, learn by immersion doing it. Leaning/speaking Chinese has been a blast for me, I honestly don't know how any foreigners can live in China without being fluent, you just miss so much.
     
  17. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,811
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Studying languages is for chumps, learn by immersion doing it. Leaning/speaking Chinese has been a blast for me, I honestly don't know how any foreigners can live in China without being fluent, you just miss so much.

    That's great advice for students.
     
  18. El Argentino

    El Argentino Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,987
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Where the Truckee waters flow
    (having learned spanish), I'd have to say Arabic, Farsi, Portuguese, or of course, Mandarin. Echo all the sentiments about business possibilities, as well as the above quote about learning by immersion. Best way to learn is to get pinned down in a real-life situation and speak your way out of it.

    I've got American friends that are bilingual in each, and constantly think that each of them are totally in shape to use their abilities business-wise in emerging third-world countries. Tons of money there, no doubt. I suppose Spanish too, but it's just so common now.

    Personally, I'd love to learn something like Catalan or Gallego. Just to do it.
     
  19. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    20,605
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    greater chicago
    for somebody whose going to be a doctor living in the US, I'd say spanish - as a matter of fact for anybody living in the US who wasn't in international business, I'd say spanish.

    for somebody who wants to do international business - I'd say learning a very little bit of 4 or 5 languages is much better than learning one language well. if you study arabic for a year, you probably won't get to speak very well, ditto mandarin. what you really need is to be able to talk to a taxi driver or a waitress, more than actually have a conversation.

    hindi is the worst language in the world to learn - every indian that you would want to speak to speaks english, and there are many dialects in india. on top of that, hindi itself changes from region to region, so you could put a hard year into studying it, and never find anybody who you can really speak with
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by