Which language should I pick next semester?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by gadgetgirl85, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    I have a choice of French, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish. What is the easiest one to learn? I know there is a thread on French and German but didn't want to hijack is thread :)
  2. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    None of them are all that easy, French and Spanish are probably the closest to English and would help if you were travelling to Europe (Spanish would help in the US too).

    But, in this part of the world Japanese is a handy language to know - it's not too difficult to learn to speak (writing is another story) - same deal with Chinese.

    Personally I would go with French because I just love the language.
  3. falcon1 macrumors regular


    Jul 22, 2006
  4. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
  5. gadgetgirl85 thread starter macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    Leaning towards Japanese for timetable reasons :cool: plus its meant to be really basic
  6. beatsme macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2005
    word to that...I don't know about Chinese, but there are 3 different ways to write Japanese, and none of them are all that easy.

    Depends on what your major is and where you want to work. If you want to work internationally, Chinese would probably be the one to know. They're probably (eventually) going to displace Canada as America's biggest trading partner. If you want to stay in the states, Spanish is the way to go; we have the 5th largest Spanish-speaking population in the world.

    French would come in handy if you'd like to work in Africa...or if you'd like to work in Europe; French and English would take you a long way there.

    I suppose the real question is, how hard are you willing to work? I decided to take German in college because I thought it would be, ahem, "fun." It was a royal pain in the @ss; to this day I wish I would've taken French instead. Depending on what your major is and what your class load is like, you might want to stick with something easier.

    EDIT: I just noticed, you're not from the US. Clearly, I am a dumb@ss.
  7. imacintel macrumors 68000

    Mar 12, 2006
    C'est francais. J'aime le classe Francais. :)

    If that's how it goes...still-do Francais.
  8. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2005
  9. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Considering that you're in Australia, I'd say Japanese would be more interesting for you but Spanish would be the easiest.

    Chinese is especially difficult to read because they don't use discrete spelling characters and it's difficult to speak because it's tonal in nature. Besides, there are several dialects, of which two are fairly common. It's easier for me to communicate in Chinese by writing something than speaking it.

    French is another unusual language. You throw out half the letters and pronounce the rest, though it flows in a way similar to English. Japanese flows pretty much opposite western languages, except for Latin, Hungarian, and German.
  10. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I agree with bousozoku 100%.

    It is possible to learn conversational Mandarin Chinese in pinyin (western characters) alone, but the tonal nature of the language takes a lot of getting used to as the cases do in German or similar languages (Cue Monty Python sketch)

    Which of course is the antithesis of Spanish where if you can pronounce it you can write it properly and vice versa. (Hence one reason why it can be easier than the rest).

  11. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    Other comments are good relative to the learning. I'm not being cute or patronizing, but I would ask you, "which people groups" hold the most interest to you and would most likely be in your future down the road (either travel, relocation or vocational interest-wise)?

    I would suggest your language learning be attached in some way to a desire to know and learn more about a people. For example, I would struggle with French even though it's one of the Romance Languages and I'm fluent in Spanish, but those reasons have more to do with interest and affection towards a people.

    Which people are you most interested in getting to know. European (and African), Japanese, Chinese or Latinos?
  12. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I suppose that German can be a bit of fun that way but after 4 years of Latin, it seemed child's play. Polish still holds on to the various cases, as well.

    Spanish just seems too simple most of the time unless someone forgets their tildes. :D I still remember the woman when asked about her age, told us she had an extreme medical condition.
  13. kretzy macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2004
    Canberra, Australia
    Personally I would do Japanese, because I'm sick of learning European languages (I've done English, German and Ukrainian in year 12). I did Korean for a year in high school and found it really enjoyable and I believe it has some similarities with Japanese.
  14. nioh macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2006
    Stockholm, SE
    I would say it depends on the reason for your studies. If you're just taking the course to try some foreign language out i would go for french, but if it's more like a first step towards higher education and you would later venture out into the world of business, chinese would pretty most be the most sought after language skill to possess. Japanese on the other hand could be a good choise if you're into anime :p
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I've already started my thread on learning Japanese, and was told some good advice (but stuff that I probably already knew :eek:), so as a self-taught Japanese learner who has been learning for 3 months now, I'll honestly say that I don't think I'll ever get used to listening. :eek:

    It's probably how everyone feels when they're honestly trying to learn another language and really do want to succeed. I wouldn't know because this is the only language I've ever put any effort into learning, and hope to be able to speak it one day. However, as of right now.....it seems impossible to listen, but not to speak since you can be as slow as you want. :p
  16. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Korean, Japanese, and Hungarian all have some background in Mongolian.

    I think it's pretty fair to say that one day, it will just start to work for you. You repeat it enough that you know the sounds but they're just sounds and suddenly, they become words. At least, Japanese has sounds to differentiate the parts of speech cleanly. I've tried to help people with those and English to make them more familiar with the flow of the language.
  17. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House

    End of story, unless they offer Arabic.
  18. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Arabic would be cool.

    I still say Japanese would be the most practical for Vic given where she lives. But damn French is cool.
  19. 0098386 Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    I learnt French, though I only got an F in the end (I really, really didn't do much in French) I find that I can easily do the basic stuff in the language. Maybe the test was on a bad day? anyways! I love it. Really beautiful language. I haven't been to France since 2003 and I doubt I'll be going any time soon.

    Can't really comment on the others. I only know very little German and Spanish. I dunno. I just find French such a beautiful language :)
  20. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    Its probably not the same there as it is in the states, but being able to speak spanish here is a big plus. I'm actually thinking about going back to school just to take spanish lessons.
  21. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Yeah, the Spanish-speaking population of Australia is tiny. I've never met a person here who speaks Spanish as their primary language.

    Italian, Greek, and most of the Asian languages are the most common here.
  22. lmalave macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    Actually, this is still a matter of some controversy. Linguists are evenly split between considering Korean a language isolate or rather part of an "Altaic" language family with Central Asian origin.

  23. SFVCyclone macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2005
    Pasadena, Ca

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