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

lauren--c
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#81
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See, I've been thinking about doing Russian at uni (with German, which there is NO WAY I'm dropping :p:) and now I'm wondering if I should go for Czech, Polish or Swedish instead, with this stuff about niche languages. Hmmm.
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xmarilynx
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#82
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(Original post by lauren--c)
See, I've been thinking about doing Russian at uni (with German, which there is NO WAY I'm dropping :p:) and now I'm wondering if I should go for Czech, Polish or Swedish instead, with this stuff about niche languages. Hmmm.
Depending on the amount of work you're prepared to put in and the university you go to, you may not have to choose one or the other as many places offer modules in Eastern European languages to students of Russian. For example, at Bristol I'll be doing a French and Russian degree, but will also be learning Czech from the second year onwards (you can do it from the first year if you're a sole honours or post A level student). I also nearly applied for French, Russian and Polish at Sheffield.

Another point to consider is that in a languages degree as well as the language itself you also learn the history, politics, literature and culture of the country/countries of where the language is spoken. Personally I think Russia's history and literature are second to none, and primarily why I chose to study it as opposed to any other language. So, if you don't fancy studying both and would prefer to pick just the one language to study alongside German (great choice btw ), then consider which of those appeal to you. It's not a great idea to base the decision on employment prospects either, particularly because Eastern European languages are tricky and require a lot of motivation, and all languages are useful in their own way
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lauren--c
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#83
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(Original post by xmarilynx)
Depending on the amount of work you're prepared to put in and the university you go to, you may not have to choose one or the other as many places offer modules in Eastern European languages to students of Russian. For example, at Bristol I'll be doing a French and Russian degree, but will also be learning Czech from the second year onwards (you can do it from the first year if you're a sole honours or post A level student). I also nearly applied for French, Russian and Polish at Sheffield.

Another point to consider is that in a languages degree as well as the language itself you also learn the history, politics, literature and culture of the country/countries of where the language is spoken. Personally I think Russia's history and literature are second to none, and primarily why I chose to study it as opposed to any other language. So, if you don't fancy studying both and would prefer to pick just the one language to study alongside German (great choice btw ), then consider which of those appeal to you. It's not a great idea to base the decision on employment prospects either, particularly because Eastern European languages are tricky and require a lot of motivation, and all languages are useful in their own way
At Glasgow I could do three different languages in my first and second years anyway (or four, even) but I'm wanting to take history as well, that's why I'm only choosing one other language. This is the plan, anyway. :yep: I'm considering French too cause I've already done a bit but my voice doesn't really agree with French somehow, I don't sound beautiful and romantic, haha. I think something like Russian (which is still beautiful but a bit harsher to my ears) would suit me better somehow, I love how it sounds.
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Sapientia
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#84
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Depends what you mean by useful. I know of no one who has learned a language purely out of the illusion that it may be 'useful for a career' or something. I believe you need a passion to climb such a massive mountain.

(Original post by oodalallyoodalally)
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.
Are you joking/trolling or being serious?
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oodalallyoodalally
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#85
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(Original post by Sapientia)
Are you joking/trolling or being serious?
Serious, I think. I have atempted all of these languages at one point or another and that's my opinion. It's not worth doing a degree in spanish as you can learn it in a summer holiday and it's not as well-respected. Anyone will tell you that chinese, arabic and russian are fiendishly difficult. french and german are useful and do-able.
Of course, if you don't like a language then you shouldn't choose it just because it's useful or easy but i don't see what's so shocking about comparing languages in terms of career prospects and how proficient you're likely to be. Degrees are expensive and if you can't get a job afterwards or if you still can't read a chinese newspaper after 5 years of study some might regret choosing the language they love over a more marketable one. I personally love the mapudungen language but it would be pure folly to devote years of my life to its study.
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littleshambles
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I think the difficulty of Russian is slightly overstated sometimes, I really do. I can't say what I'd be like at French or German at the same point from the same starting point, but... still...
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xJessx
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(Original post by oodalallyoodalally)
Serious, I think. I have atempted all of these languages at one point or another and that's my opinion. It's not worth doing a degree in spanish as you can learn it in a summer holiday and it's not as well-respected. Anyone will tell you that chinese, arabic and russian are fiendishly difficult. french and german are useful and do-able.
Of course, if you don't like a language then you shouldn't choose it just because it's useful or easy but i don't see what's so shocking about comparing languages in terms of career prospects and how proficient you're likely to be. Degrees are expensive and if you can't get a job afterwards or if you still can't read a chinese newspaper after 5 years of study some might regret choosing the language they love over a more marketable one. I personally love the mapudungen language but it would be pure folly to devote years of my life to its study.
Er, why don't you try doing a Spanish degree? The basics might be easy to master but as a lot of other people will testify it's a lot harder to master than some people think. I'm a good language learner, proven by my grades and the feedback I've got from native speakers, but I've been studying Spanish properly for five years and I'm nowhere near fluent.
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xmarilynx
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(Original post by littleshambles)
I think the difficulty of Russian is slightly overstated sometimes, I really do. I can't say what I'd be like at French or German at the same point from the same starting point, but... still...
I hope this is true! :mmm:
I haven't found it too bad yet, but then I haven't got onto the tricky grammar yet, and all languages are easy at first...
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Anatheme
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(Original post by xmarilynx)
I hope this is true! :mmm:
I haven't found it too bad yet, but then I haven't got onto the tricky grammar yet, and all languages are easy at first...
Verbs of motion and aspects are the nastiest I've came across so far. They're really, really nasty, but the rest is definitely manageable with some work.
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xmarilynx
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(Original post by Anatheme)
Verbs of motion and aspects are the nastiest I've came across so far. They're really, really nasty, but the rest is definitely manageable with some work.
Oh dear, I'll watch out for those then :p:
Out of interest, what did you find the most difficult about learning English?
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Anatheme
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(Original post by xmarilynx)
Oh dear, I'll watch out for those then :p:
Out of interest, what did you find the most difficult about learning English?
Phrasal verbs are the bane of my life
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Earthly
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(Original post by Anatheme)
Phrasal verbs are the bane of my life
what's your first language?
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whostosay
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#93
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(Original post by Anatheme)

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.

EDIT: Oh and if you have any question about Russian or Arabic at uni, just ask
Wow I can't believe you study both Russian and Arabic! Did you know either before university or did you start from scratch?

I've applied to do Spanish and Russian, but I was torn between choosing Russian and Arabic when applying, I still really want to learn Arabic. I was just wondering which do you prefer? And which do you find harder? I know people say they're both exceedingly difficult!

I was born and raised in England but my parents are from Hong Kong, so I can speak Chinese (Cantonese, the less spoken one unfortunately but similar enough to Mandarin!), so I am familiar with a different writing system etc. I agree with the others your English is really good! I didn't even realise you weren't a native speaker and I was a bit confused at one point in the thread lol.

xxx
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Jacinta
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#94
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Russian is a great language to learn if you are committed, French/German are good if you want to go into the EU (which I'd love to do, but I am learning neither, fail.) but Spanish is a fabulous language!
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Anatheme
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(Original post by Earthly)
what's your first language?
French

(Original post by whostosay)
Wow I can't believe you study both Russian and Arabic! Did you know either before university or did you start from scratch?

I've applied to do Spanish and Russian, but I was torn between choosing Russian and Arabic when applying, I still really want to learn Arabic. I was just wondering which do you prefer? And which do you find harder? I know people say they're both exceedingly difficult!

I was born and raised in England but my parents are from Hong Kong, so I can speak Chinese (Cantonese, the less spoken one unfortunately but similar enough to Mandarin!), so I am familiar with a different writing system etc. I agree with the others your English is really good! I didn't even realise you weren't a native speaker and I was a bit confused at one point in the thread lol.

xxx
You definitely made the right choice with Russian. It's faaar more enjoyable than Arabic will ever be and also easier (well, to an extent) than Arabic. And I did Russian for 2 years before uni, but started both from scratch as I didn't have the required level for Russian (or rather couldn't be arsed working my ass off during the hols to reach that level )
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lucefowls
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(Original post by lauren--c)
my voice doesn't really agree with French somehow, I don't sound beautiful and romantic, haha.
this is so me. SO ME.

i actually cant pronounce french words.


wow, my four year at uni are going to be great :p:
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lucefowls
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(Original post by Anatheme)
Phrasal verbs are the bane of my life
I know this is ridiculous, coming from a native English speaker, but what are phrasal verbs? Example, please???


Also, I was wondering, seeing as youre a french speaker, when translationg something from russian, do you put it into french first, then english? or straight into french?
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Anatheme
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(Original post by lucefowls)
I know this is ridiculous, coming from a native English speaker, but what are phrasal verbs? Example, please???


Also, I was wondering, seeing as youre a french speaker, when translationg something from russian, do you put it into french first, then english? or straight into french?
Phrasal verbs are simply verbs with a preposition like "put off", "put up", "get out", "give up", stuff like that. There's an awful lot of them and they're all so similar that it takes a while to get used to them. I only ever learn them by hearing people using them, give me a list of them and I'll just forget them, haha.

And despite being a French speaker, I don't use it at all when I'm in England, or very rarely. When I translate, it's always from the target language straight to English, or from English straight to Russian/Arabic, I never ever use French in this case. If I ever use it, it's because the English translation for R or A isn't as accurate as French would be, and in this case, I just have the French version at the back of my mind acting as a reminder that I should be careful about this word in English. Or if French grammar somehow works the same, I'll base my learning of the rule on French rather than English (or Arabic/Russian if I do Russian/Arabic grammar and that there's the same thing), but in general I tend to avoid it as it would confuse me .
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Earthly
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(Original post by Anatheme)
French
waoow you're English really is flawless! ....i love the sound of French; it's beautiful. i hope to learn french one day but i think i have my work cut out for the next few years!
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lauren--c
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(Original post by lucefowls)
this is so me. SO ME.

i actually cant pronounce french words.
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?
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