Best Language(s) to Learn

Clark   Friday, October 10, 2003, 06:28 GMT
This topic has been talked about before, but I would like to put a twist on it.

You are American, and your native language is English. Which language(s) would you learn because of an interest in European affairs (news, politics, science, music, etc)?

This is not a thread to see which language is better at what, but if you had to put yourself in the shoes of an English-speaking American who wants to learn about Europe, which language(s) would you learn?
Clark   Friday, October 10, 2003, 06:29 GMT
Oh yeah; one more thing.

Which European language(s) would be easiest for a native English-speaker from America to learn?
Caifornian   Friday, October 10, 2003, 06:41 GMT
Well I am an English speaking American who is very interested in Europe. I studied Spanish (mandatory beginning in 3rd grade) for a few years. In 7th grade we were allowed to choose between Spanish or French so I chose French. Now I am still studying French in high school for my fourth year and believe it is the most valuable language to learn if you want to learn about Europe. Next year I will try and take Italian alongside with French. German is probably the 2nd most valuable European language to learn however, but I really want to speak Italian!
sam   Friday, October 10, 2003, 07:24 GMT
good for you ! you did the good choice.
A.S.C.M.   Friday, October 10, 2003, 08:28 GMT
To Californian:

Spanish was mandatory for you in Grade 3? That makes me all the more curious to find out where you live in California; certainly not in the San Francisco Bay Area!
Jaro   Friday, October 10, 2003, 09:40 GMT
I would choose a language which sounds well to my ears. You should get a recording of all important european languages, and choose the one you think might be interesting for you to learn.

Here is my list of languages sorted according to appeal:
I like: English, French
Neutral: Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Italian
I Dislike: Russian, German

If you are looking for something very simple, don't choose any Slavic language. They are a way diffrent from English, and I don't think it is possible to learn these languages without living in the country they are spoken in.
wingyellow   Friday, October 10, 2003, 12:18 GMT
Why no one want to learn Chinese?

Personally, I think speaking several European languages is like speaking several Chinese dialects.
Andrea   Friday, October 10, 2003, 14:26 GMT
Jaro, you don't like Russian? I find it very beautiful. I think it's all the extra y sounds next to half their vowels. You're probably just thinking of the sort of Russian they play in war movies.

Wingyellow - Why doesn't anyone want to learn Chinese? Well, Clark is interested in Europe. Besides, Chinese seems very difficult, what with the ideograms instead of an alphabet, and the variations in tone as part of the meaning... It just seems hard.
Fly   Friday, October 10, 2003, 15:17 GMT
Yes, chinese is very hard for english-speaking people to learn. Actually, not only english-speaking people find chinese hard to learn, we chinese think it's a hard language to master as well. It originates from a totally different language system. that's why I always find it impressive for westerners being able to speak chinese, especially cantonese.
Jaro   Friday, October 10, 2003, 15:44 GMT
2 Andrea: I can't forget what Russians have done to the Eastern European countries, and to my country in 1968. Even after the fall of communism in the former Soviet Union, the antipathy towards Russians remains. They really aren't welcome here. And, the Russian language is just too "soft" to my ear.

2 Wingyyellow: I don't want to learn Chinese because of the ideograms, and the communistic regime.
Clark   Friday, October 10, 2003, 16:13 GMT
Jaro, you might make Wingyellow mad by calling China a "Communist Regime."

Anyway, I am also interested in what you mean by calling Spanish, Swedish, Polish and Italian "neutral" languages.
Jaro   Friday, October 10, 2003, 16:23 GMT
I don't find them attractive to learn and I don't dislike them.
Clark   Friday, October 10, 2003, 17:07 GMT
Ah, I see then.

The languages I like best are French, English, Spanish, Pennsylvania German and Gaelic.
wingyellow   Saturday, October 11, 2003, 00:30 GMT
It is ruled by the Communist Governemtn, not regime. Mind your wording.
Californian   Saturday, October 11, 2003, 07:09 GMT
To A.S.C.M, yes I live in San Francisco proper and I attended an (elite)private school where they teach Spanish beginning in grade 3.