Welcome to the Free Talk Live bulletin board system!
This board is closed to new users and new posts.  Thank you to all our great mods and users over the years.  Details here.
185859 Posts in 9829 Topics by 1371 Members
Latest Member: cjt26
Home Help
+  The Free Talk Live BBS
|-+  Free Talk Live
| |-+  The Polling Pit
| | |-+  Which foreign languages would you learn?

Poll

Imagine that you can learn a foreign language by just taking a pill - it works instantly, and with no side-effects, but you only get 2 pills.  (Read the msg first.)

French + Italian + Spanish + Portuguese + Romanian
- 30 (31.9%)
German + Dutch + Scandinavians (inc Icelandic)
- 12 (12.8%)
Russian + West & South Slavics (Polish, Czech, etc)
- 5 (5.3%)
Chinese (all major dialects)
- 15 (16%)
Japanese
- 14 (14.9%)
Korean (both Hangul and Chinese characters)
- 4 (4.3%)
Hindustani (all major dialects)
- 1 (1.1%)
Baltic / Ugro-Finnic
- 1 (1.1%)
Greek (ancient + modern)
- 1 (1.1%)
Turkish
- 0 (0%)
Malay / Indonesian + Filipino
- 0 (0%)
Arabic
- 7 (7.4%)
Persian
- 0 (0%)
Hebrew
- 4 (4.3%)
Thai
- 0 (0%)
Vietnamese
- 0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 24


Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down

Author Topic: Which foreign languages would you learn?  (Read 13337 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Alex Libman

  • Guest
Which foreign languages would you learn?
« on: March 26, 2007, 08:49:40 PM »

(If you already know some of those languages, for the sake of this hypothetical question pretend that you suddenly forgot them, but can remember with this magic pill.  Also note that since Chinese and Hindustani are considered one language, major European language groups are merged together as well.)

This is really a question of how most people here will approach the selection process where many factors could affect one's decision.  There are several interesting approaches to consider and weigh in:


Economic --



  • Pure total GDP by Language (at purchasing power parity) - which I find very misleading because a crummy country can have a high total GDP based on large population alone.


  • A method that combines both total and per-capita GDP, like the "Economic Importance" one used by GlobalPolicy.org.  I couldn't find the latest numbers, so I created a similar report in Excel based on nominal GDP estimates for 2007.  (Yes, a lot of very rough estimating went into it, especially in assuming that speakers of different languages will have the same average GDP/capita in one country, but that's the best I can do for now.)

  • Predictions of future growth of developing nations - like this "Dreaming with B.R.I.C.s - the path to 2050" PDF report.  (Notice how South Korea is crunched out to have greater GDP/capita than Japan or major European countries, second only to the US, and Russia is doing pretty well too.)  But anyone's future outlook ought to take the birth rates into consideration.


Lifestyle --

  • Greater access to Quebec (New Hampshire's French-speaking northern neighbor) or whatever Latin American / Caribbean nation becomes the top libertarian vacation paradise.



  • Unique vacations: Arabic-speaking Dubai is building lots of cool stuff.  Malay / Indonesian (which are really one language) + Filipino (aka Tagalog, somewhat related) give you access to 60,000+ miles of beaches / tropical coastline.  And we all know what Thailand is uniquely famous for.  ;)


Cultural --

  • Greater access to modern world literature, perhaps using Nobel Prizes as a rough benchmark (noting the Western bias).

  • Greater access to ancient literature through Greek, Hebrew, or Sanskrit (which you get with Hindustani).

  • The "need to learn" factor: some Germanic countries are starting to become so good with English you hardly get a chance to practice the foreign language when you visit, while the French are very protectionist of their language.  In Asia, Malaysians and Koreans seem to be more willing to learn English than the Japanese or mainland Chinese.  And about 100,000,000 people in India speak pretty good English!

  • Vietnam has become a significant part of the American experience, and some might feel an attachment for that reason.  Turkey and Iran have some of the best museums on early human civilizations.  (Or maybe I'm stretching it a bit to give each option a positive mention.)


For example, I really like South Korea's recent high-tech developments, their high education standards, writing system, and the fact that it provides easy access to both China and Japan without the downsides that come with either.  I also greatly sympathize with their history and current political situation - Taiwan being a lost cause, South Korea is the best friend America has in East Asia.

My other choice is "French + Italian + Spanish + Portuguese + Romanian", because it gives access to a huge population which (unlike China) is maintaining a positive birthrate overall, and (also unlike India) isn't geographically limited in natural resources.  Latin America still has a lot of economic and political challenges to overcome, but I doubt they are as serious as those of India and China.  And not being one country is an advantage: even if most Latin American countries get it wrong, the brains and other resources will flow to the ones that get it right.


Please post which ones you picked and why.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2007, 03:11:01 AM by Alex Libman »
Logged

cerpntaxt

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2007, 09:07:16 PM »

Chinese because it looks hard and it's supposedly going to become more useful
Scandinavian languages because I want to
Logged

wtfk

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2007, 09:16:24 PM »

Economic power.

The man who speaks English, Spanish and Chinese communicates adeptly over most of the inhabited globe.  Additionally, Spanish was once dominant.  English is dominant.  Chinese may be dominant in the future.  An entrepreneur will value all three.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2007, 09:20:07 PM by wtfk »
Logged

freeAgent

  • pwn*
  • FTL AMPlifier
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3660
    • View Profile
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2007, 10:15:41 PM »

I answered Hindustani and Korean because I like their food...and they're developing economies with lots of opportunity.
Logged

theghostofbj

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2007, 10:24:15 PM »

I want to learn the rest of Polish, German, Chinese, and whatever language they speak in Louisiana.
Logged

mikehz

  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8033
    • View Profile
    • Day by Day
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2007, 11:04:51 PM »

I filled my foreign language requirement in school with American Sign Language. (Hey, it was a schedule thing, okay?) I enjoyed it and learned a great deal about deaf culture. (And almost got decked for calling them "hearing impaired.")

I've been studying Spanish for some years, and can get by with it if people speak slowly. It reminds me of David Sedaris' Someday Me Talk Pretty, in which he says that you can study the hell out of a language but then, when you actually visit somewhere and try to use it, everyone looks at you like you're a two-year-old. I hope that, with practice, someday ME talk pretty in Spanish, but I very much doubt this will ever happen.

Also, since I've done most of my studying with tapes in the car, I'm hopeless when it comes to reading and writing. Fortunately, it's a very phonetic language, and so I can cope if I read like a child.
Logged
"Force always attracts men of low morality." Albert Einstein

Lindsey

  • Rock Star
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 30370
  • I like Mars.
    • View Profile
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2007, 11:13:35 PM »

I want to learn the rest of Polish, German, Chinese, and whatever language they speak in Louisiana.

Creole.  It's fucked up French.

Anyway, I chose French/Italian/Spanish/etc., because I already know a little (I mean very little, except for Italian - I took two years of Italian), as well as German/etc.  for my languages, because I've always wanted to visit Western Europe. 
Logged
Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
         -George W. Bush

ILikeMoney

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2007, 11:16:04 PM »

I'm the only one who picked Hebrew  :(

Why not ASL?
Logged

Jason Orr

  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 608
    • View Profile
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2007, 12:11:26 AM »

French + Italian + Spanish + Portuguese + Romanian

and

German + Dutch + Scandinavians (inc Icelandic)


1.)  Multiple languages with a single pill!

2.)  These are the languages I was going to learn anyway.
Logged
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money”

--Alexis de Tocqueville

Taors

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2007, 01:11:38 AM »

Chinese and arabic, for economic purposes.
Logged

Bill Brasky

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2007, 03:09:45 AM »

Russian + Slavs

I've got a thing for that part of the world.  I'd like to visit Czech and that area.  It appears to be taking off nicely since some of their political ice is melting.  You could do okay here financially and probably have more welath/spending power there if you were to move once your shit was all arranged properly, early retirement.

I don't think I'd like the weather, though.  Maybe do winters in the Med.  English could carry me through that. 

Heres a picture of a cool house-business-whatever in Sopot, Poland featured in this months High Times.






Logged

Lindsey

  • Rock Star
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 30370
  • I like Mars.
    • View Profile
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2007, 03:13:47 AM »

Holy shit.  I want one. 
Logged
Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
         -George W. Bush

Bill Brasky

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2007, 03:26:50 AM »

Yeah, I like it.  Its different.

I'm an architecture buff, amateur interest only, building designs and whatnot. 
Logged

Lindsey

  • Rock Star
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 30370
  • I like Mars.
    • View Profile
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2007, 03:29:39 AM »

That's so rockin', it makes me hot.   :lol:
Logged
Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
         -George W. Bush

Bill Brasky

  • Guest
Re: Which foreign languages would you learn?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2007, 03:32:46 AM »

Go ahead and squeeze yer nips.  I wont look...

Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
+  The Free Talk Live BBS
|-+  Free Talk Live
| |-+  The Polling Pit
| | |-+  Which foreign languages would you learn?

// ]]>

Page created in 0.021 seconds with 37 queries.