Russian or French?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dominordelingua, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. dominordelingua macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2008
    I guess I need a little advice in this area. I'm trying to decide which language I should begin studying, and which language I will get the most use out of. I have a few arguments for both.

    Reasons to learn French:
    • I have two family members that speak it fluently
    • Its probably the most universal and economical next to english
    • I've already mastered Spanish to a good degree and so learning French would go much easier
    • Whenever I plan on going to Europe, this will be a handy language to know

    • This is spoken by a small minority in my area, and probably would serve me little use locally but give me great mileage in foreign matters.

    Reasons to learn Russian:
    • I live in Portland, OR and there is a HUGE population from Russia/Ukraine
    • It would be such an advantage to have "Fluency in English, Spanish, and Russian" on my resume when it is in such high demand over here.
    • I can use it more frequently in work and social settings

    • Using anywhere other than here and in Russia is almost non existant (as far as I know...correct me if I'm wrong)
    • It might give great mileage here, but other than that, what other benefit will it bring me?

    So thats my struggle right now. Do I want a language can be of almost no use to me currently, but will give me an awesome advantage to the huge francophone world? or a language that will give me a faster amount of usage and great benefits here, but little benefit if I ever plan on moving from here or visiting Europe?

    If you have had any experience with learning these languages your input would be greatly appreciated. Also, I'm merely speaking linguistically. No remarks as to how rude the French etc. (whether that is true or not)

    Thanks for all you comments and advice.
  2. BoyBach macrumors 68040


    Feb 24, 2006
    What career are you in / do you plan to be in, or do you want to learn for 'fun'?

    If it's for your career, I agree with you and would opt for Russian. If you just want to learn another language for the joy of it, I vote for flipping a coin! :D
  3. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    I personally prefer French & currently am considering Russian but not sure whether it is really necessary in the end, It depends on your circumstances which you stated above so go Russian.
  4. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    Russian. In the future having that will open career opportunities way beyond those having French will present.
  5. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    I would say neither, as they are both useless languages throughout the world, except for the use of French in Africa. Japanese would be a better language to learn.

    That being said, Russian would be a fun language to learn because it will mess with you mind that the language even functions without conjugations, and will get you buy in many places that have Slavic roots, not just overseas, but also in the US/Canada, Vancouver, BC; Detroit, Toronto, and New York has large Russian populations, as does some of the central US cities like Fargo and Kansas City.

  6. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    The populations of the majority of eastern Europe and central Asian countries speak at least rudimentary Russian as a second language.
  7. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Um, Quebec?
    And where would you speak Japanese outside of Japan?
  8. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Really? Japanese wouldn't get you very far outside of Japan, and unless you want to visit or you're into Japanese culture, that seems like kind of a waste of time. At least French is an official language of 29 countries (even if most are in Africa), and about 25% of people in the EU can speak it.

    I'd vote for French personally, but I don't have much to back my vote up with against Russian and I'm pretty biased because I'm living in France until the end of the year. :p
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Quebec speaks a patois French that Parisienne French speakers look down on.

    And the Pacific Rim dictates a good choice for Japanese.

    But I would suggest Mandarin or Cantonese over both.

    Billions of Chinese can't all be wrong.

    Oh, and speaking Russian, although amusing for speaking "shoe" (al la Kruschiev) is the least valuable, IMO.
  10. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
  11. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    I honestly can't see why so many are down on Russian. When that country is one of the richest in the world on it's oil and mineral wealth companies will be crying out for Russian speakers. It's as safe a bet as Cantonese easily.
  12. dominordelingua thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Right now, I'm training to be an Ophthalmic Technician (the person who runs all the diagnostics before the doctor comes in). So I would have lots of contact with people in the community (English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese). The Russians do a nice job of assimilation though, but I still think it would be nice to learn a nice range of their language. I also learn language for fun.

    Thanks for your input.:D
  13. dominordelingua thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2008
    hmm...I really can't think of any. Can you elaborate on that somemore Queso?

  14. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    As the Russian economic growth accelerates propelled by their wealth of natural resources Russian companies will start doing the same as Japanese companies did in the 80s and Chinese companies are doing now, namely buying companies in the West. Someone is going to have to represent all these companies during the mergers and acquisitions phase, more people are going to have to work at integrating the companies with their new parents, and those that work within those organisations will find promotion easier to accomplish if they speak Russian.

    In contrast, French industry isn't expanding anywhere but into the British utilities sector.
  15. dominordelingua thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2008
    I totally disagree. Also, Russian does use conjugation, and not only do the verbs conjugate the nouns decline as well.
  16. dominordelingua thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Thats great to know! Thanks for the information, Queso.
  17. nakamuramori2 macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2008
    if i were u, i would like to learn french since you already have two personal tutors.
  18. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    Learn Russian the way they are going they are going to take over the world so you might as well prepare now.
  19. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030


    Apr 19, 2008
    Pandora, Home Tree
    Darn, I thought this thread was about salad dressing :(
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Actually, oddly enough I like this quote.

    Okay, it really depends on why you want to learn either or both languages. Do you love languages per se? Does learning a language come easily to you? Both languages are beautiful, and have lovely sounds. As it happens, I have studied both. Coming from a background where you have English (and you say, Spanish), French will obviously be easier to master to a degree of competence.

    Russian is beautiful, but it is not an easy language to learn. Not only is the alphabet different, but the grammar is very unlike that of English or French. Learning a language for purely functional reasons is difficult to sustain; you tend to need other reasons to learn it as well, because the way in which one learns a foreign language is not the way one learns, say, history, or physics, maths or philosophy. Language learning involves a lot of repetition, role play, and the frustration, initially, of accepting that you have the vocabulary of a four year old with the mental capacity of an adult.

    I'd say go with the one you think you will love learning the most. Neither language is going away anywhere; the other will still be there for you to learn whenever you wish to learn it.

    Cheers and good luck
  21. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    Personally, I'd learn French. It's spoken in many African countries (lots of wealth to be made in the business sector in the coming years there), not to mention that it's spoken by a significant portion of Europeans (even outside of France). It will be somewhat easier to learn a language with the same alphabet as well, plus, learning French makes it significantly easier to learn Spanish and Italian.

    I really enjoyed French, it was quite handy to know in France and in a few other European cities (it seems most people speak English, French, or German if they speak 2nd and/or 3rd languages). I found that by using just a small amount of French I was treated very well in France, even if the person I was speaking to was fluent in English, while some of my travel partners had a few bad experiences because of their lack of French skills. Without a doubt I would take another French course (if I had room in my schedule currently). I plan on taking the necessary courses and living abroad during graduate school so that I can get near the fluent level.

    Or you could just take a Chinese course, that would probably be more practical in a business environment with so much emphasis on development in China.
  22. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    It depends on how much time and how many brain cells you would like to invest into learning a language.

    French would take much less of your time and would be way easier on you.

    Russian is completely different and you should do it only if you like challenges.

    You should be able to draw slightly higher benefits from knowing Russian than French in a long term (provided, of course, that the Russian economy keeps growing to eventually present opportunities for jobs in Russia or prospects of business contacts in Russia). In the short term, French is probably more advantageous now (but as they say, "this may change within twenty-four hours" ;) ).

    So go Russian if you are adventurous and up to the challenge.

    Disclaimer: I am a native Russian speaker :cool: .
  23. dominordelingua thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Thanks for the encouragement. I DO love learning language, and I DO love both of these languages. In fact, a personal goal that I've come up with a few months ago is to be quadralingual by the age of 30 (currently 19). So with time I do plan to tackle both languages. There is just the lure of immediate need and on the other hand ease of learning.

    That was my initial reason for wanting to do French, was for its widespread popularity in economics and commerce and for the fun trips to europe I would like to someday go on. But sadly, there is no necessity for it here, it would be more of an accessory language while Spanish and Russian are more widespread and necessary.

    Спасибо nsbio. I really do like the challenge, after consulting all of the comments on this blog, I think my decision is to learn Russian. Russian will allow me to use and practice the language with the many natives here, and there is a very high demand for it in the job market here. French does come easier to me, but I think it won't hurt if I put it off for now. I think it only makes sense to learn the language of the people around me and one that I will get more use out of rather than learn a language that will help me much later in the future. I still love the French language, and will probably still handle it as a side project, but it will have to wait until after Russian.

    Thanks to everybody for their comments. Its really helped to sort out my thoughts. Continue to leave comments if you feel the need. I'll be checking back every so often anyway. Thank you, Merci, and Спасибо. :D
  24. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Желаю удачи and take it easy with водка! :D

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