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

Pingumonkeys
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Would a combination of a European and non-European language like French and Russian or Spanish and Chinese be best? Or would it be safer to go for the traditional French and Spanish or French and German? With each language having its drawbacks which really would be best? I was looking at Chinese only to then see that really it is in one country and a lot of Chinese people are learning English. So would Russian or Arabic or some more niche language be best with a European one?
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Sambo2
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Manx and Gaelic... OBV!!
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oodalallyoodalally
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chinese is impossible. russian and arabic are bloody hard. You could easily never be fluent in those 3. French and german are the most useful within europe. Spanish is so easy that's is almost a waste of time. Depends why you want to learn them and what kind of job you want.
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[ Parus major ]
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it depends on what you want to do in the future. any plans?
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Pingumonkeys
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(Original post by [ Parus major ])
it depends on what you want to do in the future. any plans?
I was just thinking in terms for the average language student but I guess translation or going into business or something on those lines.
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Anatheme
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(Original post by Pingumonkeys)
Would a combination of a European and non-European language like French and Russian or Spanish and Chinese be best? Or would it be safer to go for the traditional French and Spanish or French and German? With each language having its drawbacks which really would be best? I was looking at Chinese only to then see that really it is in one country and a lot of Chinese people are learning English. So would Russian or Arabic or some more niche language be best with a European one?
Do not pick a language because *you* think is useful. Never ever. Choose a language you are passionate about and want to learn everything by heart. And I mean it, a vague interest in 19th century Russian literature or having read an interesting article about the Israel-Palestine conflict is definitely not enough to make the decision of learning Russian or Arabic.

However, and in short, Russian or Arabic would definitely be useful, and combined with French, German or Spanish, it's an excellent degree. However, you have to consider the amount of grammar you will have to put up with those two languages (trust me, it's a lot more than you could ever imagine), and if you're still up for it, try taking evening classes to see which one you prefer/if there's another you'd rather have instead.

A bit about Arabic as well: At university you will learn Modern Standard Arabic, which is one of the gazillion different Arabics you can find, and is one of the closest to Qu'ranic Arabic, meaning it's reaaally heavy on grammar. Problem is, it's used in the media and… well, that's about it. Each Arab country will speak its own dialect, and if most of the population can understand MSA, you won't be able to understand them with just that. So, unfortunately, you will have to specialise and choose one area of the Middle East:

East Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia
Egypt
Levant: Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
Gulf: Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain

It seems ok, but when you end up at university, you sometimes wonder why you decided to go through the hassle of learning MSA when it's not *that* used and causes so much troubles…

Russian, on the other hand, is completely different but equally fascinating. If you've had experience of German, Latin or Greek, you'll find the same declensions system, and the language is a lot closer to European languages than Arabic is (and a hell of a lot less confusing as well).

However, for both those languages, don't expect to reach an amazing level at the end of your degree, even with a year abroad. They're the kind of languages that take ages to speak correctly, so don't put your hopes up too much, you won't be nearly as good in them as you would in a European language, but that shouldn't make them any more useless.

Finally, what kind of job would you like to get with that? Foreign Affairs, diplomacy, civil service, secret services, interpreting, you'll need to spend a couple more years in each area to master the language. Retailing, teaching, journalism, business, etc, you should be fine with just a degree as they will be looking for the skills you got by learning these languages rather than your ability to speak them (so French and Italian would be as good as Russian and Arabic, more or less).

EDIT: Oh and if you have any question about Russian or Arabic at uni, just ask
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Anatheme
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(Original post by Sambo2)
Manx and Gaelic... OBV!!
You forgot Breton and Welsh, man…
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Cicerao
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The ones you have most interest in.
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Earthly
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(Original post by Pingumonkeys)
Would a combination of a European and non-European language like French and Russian or Spanish and Chinese be best? Or would it be safer to go for the traditional French and Spanish or French and German? With each language having its drawbacks which really would be best? I was looking at Chinese only to then see that really it is in one country and a lot of Chinese people are learning English. So would Russian or Arabic or some more niche language be best with a European one?
It really depends on what you want to use the languages for in life. I wouldn’t advise you learn a language unless it’s really important to you. French, Spanish and German are the easier languages to learn out of the ones you’ve mentioned, so will take less time to learn, and you won’t consider jumping off a tall building as frequently. I study Russian and Arabic. I have serious goals in life that require me to learn these languages, and I’m also a talented learner of languages- so you won’t find anyone more motivated than I, but Russian and Arabic are tough. Russian not so much, compared to Arabic I find it warm, welcoming and friendly, but it’s still no walk in the park. Arabic however is a monster, I certainly wouldn’t recommend learning this language unless you are seriously committed, and have compelling reasons to do so- I can’t stress this enough. Chinese I know little about, it's supposed to be very challenging if you have no experience with Sino-Tibetan languages.

Really consider what you want to use the languages for.
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Pingumonkeys
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(Original post by Anatheme)
Do not pick a language because *you* think is useful. Never ever. Choose a language you are passionate about and want to learn everything by heart. And I mean it, a vague interest in 19th century Russian literature or having read an interesting article about the Israel-Palestine conflict is definitely not enough to make the decision of learning Russian or Arabic.

However, and in short, Russian or Arabic would definitely be useful, and combined with French, German or Spanish, it's an excellent degree. However, you have to consider the amount of grammar you will have to put up with those two languages (trust me, it's a lot more than you could ever imagine), and if you're still up for it, try taking evening classes to see which one you prefer/if there's another you'd rather have instead.

A bit about Arabic as well: At university you will learn Modern Standard Arabic, which is one of the gazillion different Arabics you can find, and is one of the closest to Qu'ranic Arabic, meaning it's reaaally heavy on grammar. Problem is, it's used in the media and… well, that's about it. Each Arab country will speak its own dialect, and if most of the population can understand MSA, you won't be able to understand them with just that. So, unfortunately, you will have to specialise and choose one area of the Middle East:

East Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia
Egypt
Levant: Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
Gulf: Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain

It seems ok, but when you end up at university, you sometimes wonder why you decided to go through the hassle of learning MSA when it's not *that* used and causes so much troubles…

Russian, on the other hand, is completely different but equally fascinating. If you've had experience of German, Latin or Greek, you'll find the same declensions system, and the language is a lot closer to European languages than Arabic is (and a hell of a lot less confusing as well).

However, for both those languages, don't expect to reach an amazing level at the end of your degree, even with a year abroad. They're the kind of languages that take ages to speak correctly, so don't put your hopes up too much, you won't be nearly as good in them as you would in a European language, but that shouldn't make them any more useless.

Finally, what kind of job would you like to get with that? Foreign Affairs, diplomacy, civil service, secret services, interpreting, you'll need to spend a couple more years in each area to master the language. Retailing, teaching, journalism, business, etc, you should be fine with just a degree as they will be looking for the skills you got by learning these languages rather than your ability to speak them (so French and Italian would be as good as Russian and Arabic, more or less).

EDIT: Oh and if you have any question about Russian or Arabic at uni, just ask
Ah i think i remember reading your thread on arabic and russian... but yeah what is Russian like? I did German to GCSE and then gave it up because of nice teachers but ones who wouldn't teach grammar properly if at all.
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Anatheme
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(Original post by Pingumonkeys)
Ah i think i remember reading your thread on arabic and russian... but yeah what is Russian like? I did German to GCSE and then gave it up because of nice teachers but ones who wouldn't teach grammar properly if at all.
Russian makes me go to 9am lectures on a Monday or Friday morning :love:

More seriously, the language is amazing. The way it works is fascinating if you love grammar (if you don't, don't go anywhere near it). It's culturally very interesting as well, in terms of how the language relates to the history and literature or the country. As Earthly said, though, it really isn't a walk in the park and it takes a lot of commitment and passion to go through learning Russian. It can be a very frustrating language at times and you have to keep in mind why you're learning this, because if it doesn't really make sense when you learn it, once you go abroad you'll understand.
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obviouslystudying
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(Original post by Anatheme)
Do not pick a language because *you* think is useful. Never ever. Choose a language you are passionate about and want to learn everything by heart. And I mean it, a vague interest in 19th century Russian literature or having read an interesting article about the Israel-Palestine conflict is definitely not enough to make the decision of learning Russian or Arabic.

However, and in short, Russian or Arabic would definitely be useful, and combined with French, German or Spanish, it's an excellent degree. However, you have to consider the amount of grammar you will have to put up with those two languages (trust me, it's a lot more than you could ever imagine), and if you're still up for it, try taking evening classes to see which one you prefer/if there's another you'd rather have instead.

A bit about Arabic as well: At university you will learn Modern Standard Arabic, which is one of the gazillion different Arabics you can find, and is one of the closest to Qu'ranic Arabic, meaning it's reaaally heavy on grammar. Problem is, it's used in the media and… well, that's about it. Each Arab country will speak its own dialect, and if most of the population can understand MSA, you won't be able to understand them with just that. So, unfortunately, you will have to specialise and choose one area of the Middle East:

East Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia
Egypt
Levant: Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
Gulf: Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain

It seems ok, but when you end up at university, you sometimes wonder why you decided to go through the hassle of learning MSA when it's not *that* used and causes so much troubles…

Russian, on the other hand, is completely different but equally fascinating. If you've had experience of German, Latin or Greek, you'll find the same declensions system, and the language is a lot closer to European languages than Arabic is (and a hell of a lot less confusing as well).

However, for both those languages, don't expect to reach an amazing level at the end of your degree, even with a year abroad. They're the kind of languages that take ages to speak correctly, so don't put your hopes up too much, you won't be nearly as good in them as you would in a European language, but that shouldn't make them any more useless.

Finally, what kind of job would you like to get with that? Foreign Affairs, diplomacy, civil service, secret services, interpreting, you'll need to spend a couple more years in each area to master the language. Retailing, teaching, journalism, business, etc, you should be fine with just a degree as they will be looking for the skills you got by learning these languages rather than your ability to speak them (so French and Italian would be as good as Russian and Arabic, more or less).

EDIT: Oh and if you have any question about Russian or Arabic at uni, just ask
How many years for arabic language? And is written arabic taught?
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Earthly
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(Original post by obviouslystudying)
How many years for arabic language? And is written arabic taught?
You’ll be taught Modern Standard Arabic at university. This Arabic is used exclusively in the media i.e. Newspapers, radio, news etc so yes you will learn written Arabic. At university you’ll be looking at a 4 year degree including a year abroad. If you’re asking how long it takes one to learn the language to a decent level of fluency- there’s no definitive answer. Some may learn it in a few years, others will take a decade and some may never reach a decent level, it depends on your language learning aptitude, amount of time dedicated to study and how much exposure to the language you get.
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Anatheme
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(Original post by Earthly)
You’ll be taught Modern Standard Arabic at university. This Arabic is used exclusively in the media i.e. Newspapers, radio, news etc so yes you will learn written Arabic. At university you’ll be looking at a 4 year degree including a year abroad. If you’re asking how long it takes one to learn the language to a decent level of fluency- there’s no definitive answer. Some may learn it in a few years, others will take a decade and some may never reach a decent level, it depends on your language learning aptitude, amount of time dedicated to study and how much exposure to the language you get.
This :yep:
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lovers in japan
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Chinese is really useful, yes Chinese people are learning English but in comparison to how many people learn it, very very very few can speak it enough to be able to communicate (in my experience from living in China). And it's fun
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Aelred
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If you want to go into translation (which is what I now do full-time), I would recommend German or Spanish (or both) but probably not French. A common route is to get an in-house job with an agency or company first (which probably won't pay very well), and then perhaps work freelance later on because you can earn more. I studied French and Russian, and wasn't able to find an in-house job as I hadn't chosen German. So now I work freelance, and it's gone pretty well so far. I also learned Romanian as a "niche" language and that turned out to be a very good decision.

Another factor to consider, I think, is not only which languages you like but also which ones you're good at. I seem better able to pick up Romance languages (French, Italian etc.) than languages from other families, not sure why.
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Murray Hewitt
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German is the most useful and very respected.

As someone said above, imo french and spanish are "too easy", no disrespect.

Outside of Europoean languages Chinese is probably a big one but I imagine its probably impossible to ever fully grasp it seeing as it has a completely different structure and origin to european languages.
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Anatheme
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(Original post by Aelred)
If you want to go into translation (which is what I now do full-time), I would recommend German or Spanish (or both) but probably not French. A common route is to get an in-house job with an agency or company first (which probably won't pay very well), and then perhaps work freelance later on because you can earn more. I studied French and Russian, and wasn't able to find an in-house job as I hadn't chosen German. So now I work freelance, and it's gone pretty well so far. I also learned Romanian as a "niche" language and that turned out to be a very good decision.

Another factor to consider, I think, is not only which languages you like but also which ones you're good at. I seem better able to pick up Romance languages (French, Italian etc.) than languages from other families, not sure why.

The UN is laking French and Russian speaking interpreters quite badly, from what I've been told at a career fair.

And also, when you learn a language you get used to the structure and grammar, and since you've learnt many Romance languages, I'm guessing it's a lot easier for you to learn those languages as opposed to semitic languages, for example. And also because Romanc languages are pretty straightforward and that learning one will ease your learning of the others?

(Original post by Murray Hewitt)
German is the most useful and very respected.

As someone said above, imo french and spanish are "too easy", no disrespect.

Outside of Europoean languages Chinese is probably a big one but I imagine its probably impossible to ever fully grasp it seeing as it has a completely different structure and origin to european languages.
If you consider a career in Foreign Affairs/diplomacy, you need French, and will have troubles not having it, not matter how easy it is. French and Spanish are always useful languages to have, but if you can learn it without doing your degree in it, it could be better.
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El Gennaro
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Arabic/Chinese and Spanish.

Think about it, Spanish, spoken in Spain, most of South America and some of central America. (Although dialects differ).
As well, if you know Spanish, you can understand Italiano and Portuguese, and easily learn the 2.

As for Chinese, it is THE language to learn, it will forever benefit you, seeing as the Chinese economy is booming and Chinese businesses are spreading all around the world.
But it is very difficult.

Arabic is very hard, yet very useful, and seeing as I'm an Arabic speaker who has started to learn Spanish, grammar in Arabic in Spanish is very similar.
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ParadigmShift
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French and Spanish. :yep:
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