Should I Learn Russian or German?

Skippy   Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:10 pm GMT
I had to make the same decision as an undergraduate. I chose German because Germany was simply a country I was more interested in, as well as the fact that probably 3/4 of my ancestors are German (the rest English and Scottish, so no Slavic ancestry at all).

Recently, however, I've become more interested in the Slavic languages. I think in general (for political science, which I majored in with Linguistics, and I now have a master's in International Relations) it's going to be entirely a personal decision. In learning languages, I have found it easier to learn a more difficult language first (German before attempting Spanish). Others on this forum have sternly disagreed with me (I suggested to someone learn Ancient Greek before Latin and took a lot of heat for it).

You're leaning towards Russian, I say go with that instinct. German is a very useful language, younger generations speak English with relative fluency but they absolutely appreciate you attempting German. Russian still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many in Central and Eastern Europe, but many will speak it (my German friends from Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt started learning Russian before English).
Alexei   Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:27 am GMT
Learn Russian first. It's much more challenging and you'll enjoy speaking it in general! Yes, many Germans speak great English. But Russians not so much. More of a reason to learn Russian first!