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Looking to learn a new language.

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Vlynor
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#1

Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:21 PM

I currently only speak American English and when I finish college I want to go into the business field, possibly international. I took French in High School and absolutely hated it. I'm thinking of doing either German, Mandarin, or something else. What do you guys recommend?

 


theadmiral
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#2

Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:44 PM

English and French are the most widely used languages in the world - IE every passport comes in those two languages and every air traffic controller speaks them.

 

German is very useful. I think Mandarin and Arabic would be useful if you plan to go to those regions.

 

For general European use you cannot go wrong with French and German.


Adler
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#3

Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:27 PM

Naturally, French and Spanish since the whole world speaks either English, French or Spanish. German and Mandarin Chinese aren't bad picks either.


Vlynor
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#4

Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:49 PM

I just never really enjoyed French. I'm looking purely for a language used in international business which is why I was deciding between German and Mandarin. Spanish and French aren't too business oriented, are they?


theadmiral
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#5

Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:52 PM Edited by theadmiral, 25 October 2013 - 07:52 PM.

French is. Spanish could be depending on where you intend to do business. (Spain, anywhere in Central or South America).

 

Mandarin is only useful in one country in most cases and that is a huge place if you intend to do business there. I cant see you really using it anywhere else.

 

In Western Europe - France, Switzerland, Germany, Northern Italy, etc French or German will get you far more mileage than Spanish. Even English will.

 

Spanish is useful in the United States but not really from an international business standpoint.

 

It really depends on where you want to do your business. I'd say you already have mastery of the best language for conducting international business. (English).


Raavi
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#6

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:21 PM Edited by Raavi, 25 October 2013 - 08:23 PM.

Business on an international level you say? English will be sufficient in most cases, unless you plan on going to and/or specialising in the Middle-East, Asia, Central America, South America, North Africa or Central Africa. Than proficient knowledge of either Arabic, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish is favourable but not required. Hiring translators is common practice unless it pertains confidential matters of course. However if you really want to learn a second language that's applicable on an international business level, your best bet would be to pick Arabic, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish. German won't do you much good.


Vlynor
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#7

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:23 PM

Business on an international level you say? English will be sufficient in most cases, unless you plan on going to and/or specialising in the Middle-East, Asia, North Africa or Central Africa. Than proficient knowledge of either Arabic, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish is favourable but not required. Hiring translators is common practice unless it pertains confidential matters of course. However if you really want to learn a second language that's applicable on an international business level, your best bet would be to pick Arabic, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish. German won't do you much good.

 

Odd. I always thought German would be useful for business. I've tried Arabic and Mandarin and preferred Mandarin over the former.


Shyabang Shyabang
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#8

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:24 PM

I took French in High School and absolutely hated it.

 

A lot of the languages have a different system from English. As it was probably your case, French is very difficult for a native English speaker because a lot of the French words have genders. I noticed that it's easy to forget a language when it doesn't get used. I suggest finding someone to speak the language with in person or on the internet. Listen/watch films of that language. I'm bilingual thanks to living in both countries for a long time. It took me a long time to become fluent in my second language. I tried to learn my third language, Mandarin, but I forgot most of what I had learned because I didn't use it. And it was hard to remember which words had which tones. In Chinese languages, just a different tone can make the word a different meaning. I became interested in Russian after becoming friends with a Russian, but learning that is a struggle because of the genders.


Raavi
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#9

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:35 PM Edited by Raavi, 25 October 2013 - 08:43 PM.

 

Business on an international level you say? English will be sufficient in most cases, unless you plan on going to and/or specialising in the Middle-East, Asia, North Africa or Central Africa. Than proficient knowledge of either Arabic, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish is favourable but not required. Hiring translators is common practice unless it pertains confidential matters of course. However if you really want to learn a second language that's applicable on an international business level, your best bet would be to pick Arabic, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish. German won't do you much good.

 

Odd. I always thought German would be useful for business. I've tried Arabic and Mandarin and preferred Mandarin over the former.

 

 

The majority of native german-speakers have both proficient written and verbal knowledge of the English language. So as long as you're not planning to move to a german-speaking country learning German won't do you much good. On the other hand it can give you a leg up over other international applications if you apply to a german firm.


Vlynor
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#10

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:37 PM

 

I took French in High School and absolutely hated it.

 

A lot of the languages have a different system from English. As it was probably your case, French is very difficult for a native English speaker because a lot of the French words have genders. I noticed that it's easy to forget a language when it doesn't get used. I suggest finding someone to speak the language with in person or on the internet. Listen/watch films of that language. I'm bilingual thanks to living in both countries for a long time. It took me a long time to become fluent in my second language. I tried to learn my third language, Mandarin, but I forgot most of what I had learned because I didn't use it. And it was hard to remember which words had which tones. In Chinese languages, just a different tone can make the word a different meaning. I became interested in Russian after becoming friends with a Russian, but learning that is a struggle because of the genders.

 

 

It wasn't that difficult, I usually got 95-100% on my exams, it was just boring to me. I had no one to speak it to besides the teacher and that was only once in a while when forced to. Spanish would've been more useful, I'll admit, because of the large group of Spanish speaking students in my school.


elanman
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#11

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:41 PM Edited by elanman, 25 October 2013 - 08:42 PM.

I currently only speak American English and when I finish college I want to go into the business field, possibly international. I took French in High School and absolutely hated it. I'm thinking of doing either German, Mandarin, or something else. What do you guys recommend?

 

 

Mandarin is presumably nothing like English, whereas German is very easy for a dedicated learner whose mother tongue is west Germanic (like English). This website was my stable resource when learning German for A-level (starts from the absolute basics, and I got an A in the end):

 

http://www.dartmouth.../Grammatik.html

 

A useful online German-English (and vice versa) dictionary:

 

http://dict.tu-chemnitz.de/

 

 

Immersion is invaluable when learning a new language. There was this German "sitcom" produced by Channel 4 for gifted GCSE students and AS level students. Here's the first part of the first episode:

 

 

 

Frankly, it's cringeworthy, but the blonde chick is hot as f*ck (so it's basically the Big Bang Theory) and such TV shows are a good way to pick up vocabulary and learn to understand different accents (of which there are many within Germany alone, let alone Austria and Switzerland). I was fortunate enough to play CoD 4 with a bunch of German lads on a regular basis on their dedicated server, which helped affirm vocabulary in my head--if you can do a similar thing via a chatroom that would help.

 

Best of luck in whichever language you choose.

 

 

EDIT: Yes, Germans possess a high proficiency in English, but knowledge of German can only bode well for you if you choose to do business with Germans.


Raavi
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#12

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:52 PM Edited by Raavi, 25 October 2013 - 09:03 PM.

EDIT: Yes, Germans possess a high proficiency in English, but knowledge of German can only bode well for you if you choose to do business with Germans.

 

 

Of course, but that's the case with any given language you choose. I found that knowing a few basic words, sentences and expressions of the native language of the person you're doing business with goes a long way.

 

Edit: Considered Portuguese? It can possibly be more lucrative than Spanish since there are fewer individuals who speak the language..


theadmiral
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#13

Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:02 PM Edited by theadmiral, 25 October 2013 - 09:03 PM.

I've found that when travelling, many people speak English. That does not mean that they are thrilled to be speaking English with you, even in a business scenario. For example, expecting a client to speak to you and do business with you in your language can be offensive (certain places moreso than others).

 

What the above poster said about Portuguese is good advice. Brazil is a huge place and Sao Paolo is a business hub and (I believe?) the largest city in the world.

 

It really depends on where you want to end up.


Joe Chip
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#14

Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:04 PM

Germanic languages (especially the Norse ones) are supposed to be easy to learn if you speak English. I tried out German for a few weeks and a lot of the stuff was pretty intuitive. Spanish and French are going to be the easiest to get practice with on your own time since you're in the US.

 

Ultimately you should let it come down to which language you enjoy learning the most. I can't imagine not knowing a language is too big an obstacle in business nowadays.


El_Diablo
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#15

Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:55 PM

if you want to get involved with international business, learn Mandarin Chinese.

 

the Asian markets are only going to explode as their industrial revolution kicks into overdrive.


Vlynor
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#16

Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:04 PM

if you want to get involved with international business, learn Mandarin Chinese.

 

the Asian markets are only going to explode as their industrial revolution kicks into overdrive.


The only thing about that is I don't want to use the wrong tone when speaking. I don't want, "Can I have a glass of water?" to turn into, "The Chinese are terrible people."


El_Diablo
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#17

Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:07 PM

the same problem could occur with any language.

Chinese has nothing to do with it.

 

if you f*cked up your French, you could just as easily tell a French girl that her mother is a whore instead of how pretty she is.

that's the point of learning a language... so that you don't f*ck it up :lol:

 

and if you want to be involved with international business, Chinese will benefit you more than almost any other single language right now.


elanman
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#18

Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:49 PM

El Diablo has a point there. I only brought German up as it's the only foreign language with which I've any experience. I'd love to learn Hebrew one day though.


RoadRaaage
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#19

Posted 26 October 2013 - 02:06 AM

RUSSIAN!


Nuggets
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#20

Posted 26 October 2013 - 08:13 AM

German, Russian and Chinese.





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