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A new language…


Being an American I’ve had the luxury of never having to know a second language because I wanted to travel to the neighboring town to buy something or to do work. From what I understand, Europeans don’t have it so easy. With all the countries being fairly small and crammed together residents must deal with many different languages frequently (or so I’ve heard).

When I was in high school I took one semester of Spanish. I didn’t like it. I felt as if my brain just didn’t want to accept a new language and cramming it in just wasn’t working. I’m not sure if this has changed but I think I’d like to learn a new language, now. Maybe it is my involvement in the Fedora Project which has people from all over the globe working towards a common goal. Maybe it is my extreme curiosity of what other people are talking about in their blogs on Fedora Planet.

So with that being said, what language should I learn? I was leaning towards German but I don’t have any rational to explain my choice. Any pros or cons to any particular language?

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  1. 2008-05-01 at 23:06 EST

    If you’re planning to learn a comercial language I’d say you should stick to Spanish or German… But if you’re just curious on how it feels to understand a language different than yours I’d say it wouldn’t matter the language of your choice.I’ve been studying English since I was 14 (I’m 18 now) and although I’ve never taken a class I think I’m able to understand (both written and spoken) English very clearly (I don’t master the language, though :)… I think it’s not as difficult to learn a new language as people usually think. Get to learn a new language opened up my mind and I’m going to learn a third language as soon as possible :DBtw, I’m Brazilian.

  2. 2008-05-01 at 23:20 EST

    Are you doing this for fun or for business? If it’s for business, I agree with Ivan, you will want either Spanish or German, although I also include French on this list. In the EU, French, German, and “European” English form the unholy treaty that is used in business and government.If you’re looking for the intellectual challenge, have a look at these:Finnish – The conjugation system is entirely different, and yet systematic, very geek approved.Mandarin Chinese – Also good for business, it stimulates other parts of the brain, learning to understand both the written characters and the use of ‘tones’ in the language.Swahili – or another Bantu language. Very useful in Africa, and again, it has many new linguistic features to challenge your brain with.Or just pick a culture you find some affinity to, somewhere you like to hang out and want to be your main vacation spot. Then learn the language(s) spoken there.

  3. 2008-05-02 at 07:53 EST

    Hi, I’m from Denmark (Small country just north of Germany).”From what I understand, Europeans don’t have it so easy. With all the countries being fairly small and crammed together residents must deal with many different languages frequently (or so I’ve heard).”I’d say it depends on where you are, and what you’re gonna do. I can take a trip to Sweden and Norway and speak Danish to the people there and generally they would understand me quite easily (Although I suck at Swedish or Norwegian :P). And if I want to take a quick trip to Germany to buy something at the border, I can do without knowing German.However if I wanted to go to school in say Germany, France, Czech Republic, the Netherlands etc. learning their language is almost required. not necessarily by law (Although that can happen), but by circumstances. Also, I personally see it as disrespectful to other people to go their country and expect them to speak one’s own language.”When I was in high school I took one semester of Spanish. I didn’t like it. I felt as if my brain just didn’t want to accept a new language and cramming it in just wasn’t working. I’m not sure if this has changed but I think I’d like to learn a new language, now. Maybe it is my involvement in the Fedora Project which has people from all over the globe working towards a common goal. Maybe it is my extreme curiosity of what other people are talking about in their blogs on Fedora Planet.So with that being said, what language should I learn? I was leaning towards German but I don’t have any rational to explain my choice. Any pros or cons to any particular language?”I speak Danish and English fluently, however my German sucks, and the reason is, I was forced to have German classes at school for years, and I just hated it (No offence to any Germans), not because German is necessarily a bad language, but because if you’re forced to learn something you’re not particularly interested in, and you rather do something else, it’s not fun at all and a big time waster (Especially since there is almost no practical motive for a Dane to learn German at this stage of education IMO).If you want to learn a second language, I think it’s paramount to pick a language that you both have an interest in, or fascination with (Even if it’s very tiny) and also a practical use for. Otherwise you’re gonna get stuck very very quickly. Also I think the best way to go about doing it is to take it as fun, and play around.It is my personal goal, to be fluent in day-to-day Japanese by 2018. First of all, I love Japanese anime, and I don’t like dubs and subtitles can be quite irritating at times. So there’s a very rational and practical motivation for me to learn Japanese. I have also been very fascinated by Japan in general for many years now, and often when I learn something new about their language, I find it to be really cool and interesting, like when I pick up some new neat command prompt trick in GNU/Linux or *BSD. This also helps me in remembering the new stuff I learned.Just my two cents, I wish you the best of luck with whatever language you pick! :) – Troels Just, Denmark.

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