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    (Original post by *Hannah)
    ok while there are obviously loads of benefits of arabic, you're not going to learn enough in 2 modules (as it's very complex and hard and many people aren't fluent after a whole degree - plus there's the whole MSA/dialects thing) for it to be worth it. So I'd say go for Italian which is a relatively simple language to learn and you should come out of it with some conversational skills. Plus, Italy's history is fascinating.

    I completely agree with this.

    Although if you really want to learn some Arabic, maybe take credited modules Italian, and an extra-curricular Arabic course at the language centre?

    Attempting to learn Arabic is extremely ambitious to say the least, the script can be learnt easily, but the grammar is probably the most complex and detailed of all the worlds languages, there are also sounds you have never heard in the alphabet, add that to the fact that it is an ancient classical language with an enormous vocabulary and it is very difficult to learn, you will need tons of dedication and practise.

    Italian will be much easier though so u should probably learn that (unless u want to join the military or something)

    (Original post by ellie_flower)
    Ok! Which subject is better to learn:

    Arabic or Italian?

    Im trying to choose my subjects for durham combined honours
    Arabic takes up two modules and is obv very useful in todays climate, espesh s Id like to have a career in maybe diplomacy or something similar or journalism...

    how easy is Arabic to learn for example? Im not expecting it to be easy but would I just fail immediately? It also takes up 2 whole modules

    Italian on the other hand I think I would find really easy... im in italy at the moment for a month and have picked it up really quickly becasue I also speak french and have done latin. I woudl also be able to do another module called Italy and the arts which focuses on itlain art and architecture and looks really interestnig. The only problem is the career opportunities it offers...its not as 'special' as arabic, more people can speak it and it is only in one country, whereas arabic is spoken in like 23.

    PLease give me advice!!
    If you've done French and Latin, Italian will be really easy, and as you say, you may not have that many opportunities, but if you already have two other subjects, I'd advise you to pick it up instead of Arabic, because the workload will be a lot smaller and for other reasons:

    - As said before, Arabic have dialects, and the MSA is a bit useless. Unfortunately, you don't learn dialectal Arabic (there are more than 10, how would you choose?). Dialectal Arabics aren't mutually understandable, which is why you need the Fusha (MSA), which is an absolute pain in the arse and don't get you very far in the Middle East (I've been for a month is Jordan/Syria, and if we're lucky to be understood, we don't understand 'cause they don't reply in it but in their dialects (and sometimes it's stupidly different: 'yes' in amiyya is 'aywa' and in fusha it's 'na'am'. Sheesha has a different name according to the country and they pronounce stuff differently.)).

    So yes, Arabic could be useful, if you ever manage to keep it up and to get a great level in it. Also, if you've never been to the Middle East before, you may not like it, as interesting as it is, so think about it, given that you'll have a year abroad and will need to pick up your country carefully. The grammar is particularly difficult and annoying (and that's from someone who loves grammar) and the vocabulary is soul-destroying at times (some people won't agree, but honestly, it is). Now, this is all a bit pessimistic, the language is greatly rewarding, but the amount of work you have to provide for it may have bad consequences on your other work, and you need to think about it.

    You say you're interested in IR/foreign affairs, but with French and English, it'll be enough if you intend to stay in Europe. Italian will be useful for Europe a lot more than Arabic, and you seem to have a great interest in Italian culture as well. Now Arab countries have a crazy history and culture, but you may or may not like it. You should ask some students what they think of both depts, as so far, I've always had complaints that Arabic depts were messy (from Manchester, Leeds, Cambridge, Oxford, and even SOAS. It seems to be like the region, really, lol).

    I studied both languages so if you have further questions, don't hesitate
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