Which 2 languages would be most useful to learn at uni? Watch

Anatheme
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(Original post by lauren--c)
It wasn't that I couldn't pronounce them but I couldn't pronounce them with an accent, so it still came out sort of Glaswegian :p: I'm a lot more comfortable with how I sound speaking German whereas French made me feel quite self conscious?
My Scottish French has a better French accent than I do, I swear.
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xmarilynx
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#102
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I've been practicing my French accent quite a lot, and I must admit, it's getting quite good :teehee:
I hate my English accent though
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lucefowls
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(Original post by lauren--c)
It wasn't that I couldn't pronounce them but I couldn't pronounce them with an accent, so it still came out sort of Glaswegian :p: I'm a lot more comfortable with how I sound speaking German whereas French made me feel quite self conscious?
yeah, my french has a geordie accent - and those are the words i can pronounce hahha. whereas, i dont know, german seems to work with a geordie accent, lol!
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Alex Edwards
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Hello Pigumonkeys,

In answer to your original questions, it would be a good idea to go with the traditional European languages (such as Spanish, French, German, etc) if you want to study them at university for several different reasons:
1) There are many materials available to you on the market to help you study said languages to a high proficiency (such as books, podcasts, etc)
2) Universities have well established departments for these languages, so you can judge the quality of teaching and departments between different universities
3) They are easier to learn than other 'rare' languages.

However, you should bare in mind that as these are the common languages to learn, you could face more competition in the jobs market in the future. Why not try a "rarer" language? By a "rare" language, I don't mean any unusual language, nor any language that is extremely different from English (such as Arabic, Chinese, etc), but one within the EU. For example, how many English speakers do you know who speak Romanian, Albanian, Finnish, or Swiss German? These are the languages that people don't think of learning, but could have huge potential in the future in terms of business (with integrations into the EU for example), therefore placing you well in the job market.

Have a look at the universities that interest you, and at their language departments and the choices offered. If one language interests you (through the culture, or whatever it may be), then consider this as a possibility for the language.
A good start will be to look at the University of London School of Oriental & African Studies, where you have the opportunity to study a whole host of unsual and wonderful languages, which could open many doors for you in the future. (http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/ug/progs/)

Good luck and don't hesitate to message me if you want to chat more about this!

Alex
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Pingumonkeys
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(Original post by Alex Edwards)
Hello Pigumonkeys,

In answer to your original questions, it would be a good idea to go with the traditional European languages (such as Spanish, French, German, etc) if you want to study them at university for several different reasons:
1) There are many materials available to you on the market to help you study said languages to a high proficiency (such as books, podcasts, etc)
2) Universities have well established departments for these languages, so you can judge the quality of teaching and departments between different universities
3) They are easier to learn than other 'rare' languages.

However, you should bare in mind that as these are the common languages to learn, you could face more competition in the jobs market in the future. Why not try a "rarer" language? By a "rare" language, I don't mean any unusual language, nor any language that is extremely different from English (such as Arabic, Chinese, etc), but one within the EU. For example, how many English speakers do you know who speak Romanian, Albanian, Finnish, or Swiss German? These are the languages that people don't think of learning, but could have huge potential in the future in terms of business (with integrations into the EU for example), therefore placing you well in the job market.

Have a look at the universities that interest you, and at their language departments and the choices offered. If one language interests you (through the culture, or whatever it may be), then consider this as a possibility for the language.
A good start will be to look at the University of London School of Oriental & African Studies, where you have the opportunity to study a whole host of unsual and wonderful languages, which could open many doors for you in the future. (http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/ug/progs/)

Good luck and don't hesitate to message me if you want to chat more about this!

Alex
Thanks, yeah that's why I thought going for one (well i'd have to since i'm only doing French at A level) safe/traditional one, and one new one but not sure on that. Spanish is an idea, but German i probably couldn't do due to dropping it after GCSE.
Is it even possible to learn Swiss German? Surely the market would still be small for that. Finnish has like 16 cases...of fun and Albanian... Well I have looked at/considered Russian/Chinese/Swedish but not committing to anything until I'm sure, I still have time but yeah, not fun lol.
I did look at SOAS when I looked into Chinese. I hear they focus on the language intensely so you don't study as much culture which would be good.
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SiaSiaSia
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I don't think Spanish is a very useful language to learn at Uni.
Obviously it's an incredibly useful language particularly in South America, but
1) it's ridiculously easy
2) you can always learn it if you know one romance language.
I do Spanish GCSE and got A* in my reading after 3 hours of tutoring myself the grammar, and an A in the oral. I've been to approx. 5 lessons this year and had about 5 hours tutoring.

Spanish is more a language which is incredibly easy to pick up once you know another language (similar to Italian and Portuguese.


Therefore I'd say not to do two romance languages at Uni (as part of your full degree anyway).


French is what I'd say is the most useful. It's the second most taught language of the world; it is incredibly useful on a buisness level, and is basically the "first" language to learn. Also especially in Europe the French hate speaking english; conversely to Germany and the Scandanavian countries. Someone (I think it was anatheme) said her friend was required to read a passage in french at cambridge uni, despite no A-level knowledge and doing a Spanish degree :rolleyes:. Also, it's the only language where finding any university ab-initio is incredibly difficult.


The other language could be anything; for "useful" you could go with a niche language such as Czech, Serbian, etc. Or an "up and coming" language such as Mandarin or Russian. However even with 3 years of learning Mandarin I doubt you'd come out at a fully competent level.

Conversely you could study a germanic language; such as German (spoken in Liechtenstein, Austria, Luxembourg at a primary school level, Germany and Switzerland) - particular austria, germany and switzerland have massive economies and are incredibly rich so could be useful on another level.

In this way I'd say it's better to learn German than Dutch (spoken in The Netherlands, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda and [arguably] in Indonesia and Belgium; as well as being mutually intelligable with Afrikaans - spoken in South Africa and Namibia by about 50%). Learning a root language such as German makes learning Dutch easier; when I was in the Netherlands I felt it very understanding a lot due to my German knowledge.

Otherwise you could go for a more "buisness" language - if you wanted to go into technology, Japanese would obviously be useful.
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SiaSiaSia
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(Original post by xmarilynx)
I've been practicing my French accent quite a lot, and I must admit, it's getting quite good :teehee:
I hate my English accent though

My english accent is appalling; I talk third chav, third queen's english, third my mum's english (i.e. swenglish :p:). I pick up this weird accent from my mum in some words and people tell me off for pronouncing things incorrectly :sad:
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Pingumonkeys
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#108
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(Original post by SiaSiaSia)
I don't think Spanish is a very useful language to learn at Uni.
Obviously it's an incredibly useful language particularly in South America, but
1) it's ridiculously easy
2) you can always learn it if you know one romance language.
I do Spanish GCSE and got A* in my reading after 3 hours of tutoring myself the grammar, and an A in the oral. I've been to approx. 5 lessons this year and had about 5 hours tutoring.

Spanish is more a language which is incredibly easy to pick up once you know another language (similar to Italian and Portuguese.


Therefore I'd say not to do two romance languages at Uni (as part of your full degree anyway).


French is what I'd say is the most useful. It's the second most taught language of the world; it is incredibly useful on a buisness level, and is basically the "first" language to learn. Also especially in Europe the French hate speaking english; conversely to Germany and the Scandanavian countries. Someone (I think it was anatheme) said her friend was required to read a passage in french at cambridge uni, despite no A-level knowledge and doing a Spanish degree :rolleyes:. Also, it's the only language where finding any university ab-initio is incredibly difficult.


The other language could be anything; for "useful" you could go with a niche language such as Czech, Serbian, etc. Or an "up and coming" language such as Mandarin or Russian. However even with 3 years of learning Mandarin I doubt you'd come out at a fully competent level.

Conversely you could study a germanic language; such as German (spoken in Liechtenstein, Austria, Luxembourg at a primary school level, Germany and Switzerland) - particular austria, germany and switzerland have massive economies and are incredibly rich so could be useful on another level.

In this way I'd say it's better to learn German than Dutch (spoken in The Netherlands, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda and [arguably] in Indonesia and Belgium; as well as being mutually intelligable with Afrikaans - spoken in South Africa and Namibia by about 50%). Learning a root language such as German makes learning Dutch easier; when I was in the Netherlands I felt it very understanding a lot due to my German knowledge.

Otherwise you could go for a more "buisness" language - if you wanted to go into technology, Japanese would obviously be useful.
I know someone who is planning to do french, spanish and italian at uni and it did make me thing it's not really pushing yourself and they're similar.

I am definitely doing French if i can get an A which i hope I can since most unis want it at A, but although i do like german, i gave it up after GCSE. The reason was due to teachers but i guess people can think what they want, so I doubt I would be able to take that at uni. It's so hard deciding on the other one. Italian is really cool also.
With Chinese, I hear if you do it at SOAS you'll come out with one of the better ones in the country because they are intense and focus on language not like culture. What about Russian?
I have no real inclination to learn Czech or Serbian, funnily enough I do like scandinavian languages but I feel if Spanish is as described, they aren't worth considering.
There aren't many root languages - Latin/Ancient Greek, German, Arabic that I know of - that I would do anywho.
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Anatheme
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(Original post by Pingumonkeys)
I know someone who is planning to do french, spanish and italian at uni and it did make me thing it's not really pushing yourself and they're similar.

I am definitely doing French if i can get an A which i hope I can since most unis want it at A, but although i do like german, i gave it up after GCSE. The reason was due to teachers but i guess people can think what they want, so I doubt I would be able to take that at uni. It's so hard deciding on the other one. Italian is really cool also.
With Chinese, I hear if you do it at SOAS you'll come out with one of the better ones in the country because they are intense and focus on language not like culture. What about Russian?
I have no real inclination to learn Czech or Serbian, funnily enough I do like scandinavian languages but I feel if Spanish is as described, they aren't worth considering.
There aren't many root languages - Latin/Ancient Greek, German, Arabic that I know of - that I would do anywho.
Sanskrit, too.
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Alex Edwards
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(Original post by Pingumonkeys)
Thanks, yeah that's why I thought going for one (well i'd have to since i'm only doing French at A level) safe/traditional one, and one new one but not sure on that. Spanish is an idea, but German i probably couldn't do due to dropping it after GCSE.
Is it even possible to learn Swiss German? Surely the market would still be small for that. Finnish has like 16 cases...of fun and Albanian... Well I have looked at/considered Russian/Chinese/Swedish but not committing to anything until I'm sure, I still have time but yeah, not fun lol.
I did look at SOAS when I looked into Chinese. I hear they focus on the language intensely so you don't study as much culture which would be good.
Hello Pingumonkeys,

Well in fact you could certainly do German again as many universities offer languages to be studied post abinitio, i.e. "from scratch", so any German that you remember will do nothing but help you through that easier, and you come out of your degree with the same level as those who started with A-level German....so don't rule it out just yet!

If you still have time then don't rush to make a decision, go for something that attracts you to the language (be it culture, or whatever), and don't let things like cases, genders, grammar put you off...yes it can be boring sometimes (let's be honest!), but you can make it fun and a new challenge if you want to.

Good luck with it and let us know what you eventually choose

Alex
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Pingumonkeys
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(Original post by Alex Edwards)
Hello Pingumonkeys,

Well in fact you could certainly do German again as many universities offer languages to be studied post abinitio, i.e. "from scratch", so any German that you remember will do nothing but help you through that easier, and you come out of your degree with the same level as those who started with A-level German....so don't rule it out just yet!

If you still have time then don't rush to make a decision, go for something that attracts you to the language (be it culture, or whatever), and don't let things like cases, genders, grammar put you off...yes it can be boring sometimes (let's be honest!), but you can make it fun and a new challenge if you want to.

Good luck with it and let us know what you eventually choose

Alex
The issue though is why did I drop it if I like languages so much and then want to study it at uni. Saying my teachers were uninspiring, failed to make us aware of cases until late etc will look bad on my behalf but yeah, I still have time
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Asha1991
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#112
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(Original post by Pingumonkeys)
The issue though is why did I drop it if I like languages so much and then want to study it at uni. Saying my teachers were uninspiring, failed to make us aware of cases until late etc will look bad on my behalf but yeah, I still have time
This was my problem..

I originally applied for English and french but decided I wanted to pick up german again at uni (after dropping it at GCSE), although my sixth form doesn't offer german at a level so I guess it's a bit different. But anyway I emailed birmingham (which is where I intend to firm) and just explained that I really enjoyed it at GCSE and luckily got an A, so I'm doing BA Modern Languages in September now, despite only studying one language to A level standard
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John_Galt
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Although not wholly relevant, I thought I would post this here before starting an entire thread about it:

I'm currently an engineering student at Southampton but last summer I went to China for 5 weeks - 3 of which were spent at a Chinese university learning Mandarin. Now obviously I didn't pick up a tonne of the language whilst I was there but I learnt enough to know that I enjoy it and have, since returning, spent a bit of time (mainly through language tapes on the way to lectures) continuing to study.

After hearing people's opinions and reading through the majority of this thread it's dawned on me that learning Mandarin to a decent level isn't going to be easy. I'm currently looking to spend a good portion of this coming summer going back to China and learning some more but what I really want to know is whether or not it's worth it. This may sound slightly pessimistic for someone who supposedly enjoys the language but as it's likely to cost me a fair bit to go over there I'd like a realistic opinion as to whether my money will be well spent.

I should probably state that another reason for me wanting to learn Mandarin, like many others, is for its use in business. As I've learnt through another forum on TSR I may be out for a hard time if I want to get in to investment banking or a related area but I hope that a strong knowledge of Mandarin will give me an edge over others. Again though, the problem comes as to - realistically - how proficient I am likely to become by studying part time for the next two years. I'd say I am able to grasp languages well and having studied Japanese privately, certain elements of Mandarin are perhaps easier for me to handle than for people who have only studied European languages. That said however, hearing stories of people whose "friends" have finished their 4 year Mandarin degrees at lacklustre levels does put me off somewhat.

So my basic query is this: should I devote a significant portion of my time and money in to Mandarin in the hopes that it will pay off mainly in employment prospects or should I abandon my naive dream and focus my efforts elsewhere?

If it's the latter, I'll probably stick to it anyway just because I genuinely enjoy the language and the country; it'll just have to be that I tone it down a bit and look on it more as a hobby than an academic goal.
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Snufkin
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I am by no means an expert but i do not think learning Mandarin is worth it, not from a business/economic sense anyway. If however you have a genuine interest in the language then why not? Learning any language has its economic rewards, and you could certainly do worse than Mandarin.
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Piers-
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Hi John,

You probably won't be able to get anywhere near a decent level over the Summer, even with the hard work you've put in so far. If you really want to get to a level where you can do something with it (say, business), you'll really need to study in a Chinese-speaking environment for at least a year. Luckily, the Chinese government gives out a lot of scholarships each year to study in Chinese in China, so there's nothing really to stop you if you're serious about it. As far as I know, the higher your current level and the more you've been to China, the more likely you are to get a scholarship.
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