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The point of learning a language other than english

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here's a diatribe that is maybe part rant, part inane question.

If you are a native english speaker who is either considering the idea of learning a new language or put in a position where there's mandatory participation in a language learning program (i.e. high school) is there really a good reason to learn a language if you're not interested in the native-speaking girls of that language?

My answer here is an emphatic NO.

We can break this into a couple of adjacent questions which may be practical to the American put in this position.

- Will Latin America become economically significant in your lifetime?
- Will the chinese language overcome the practicality hurdle in your lifetime? (that is, chinese characters don't mesh well with computer technology).
- Will English ever be de-throned, in your lifetime, as the global language of trade?

I have to guess here that it's NO, NO, NO. Of course, if you have a thing for chinese or spanish-speaking chicks, then these first two questions are of no importance.

At my middle and high schools the language offerings were spanish, french, and latin (they were small schools). I took 2 years of spanish and 5 years of latin. We need to rethink this system for the sake of the next generation of American men and to instead start evangelizing the broad offering of high school classes in brazillian portuguese and russian!

Seriously.

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post #2 of 10
I agree with the questions and answers you came up with ... but only as written.

For a young (high school / college) American to learn a second language should be a high priority.
If you plan to live your life in the US, you can't go wrong with spanish. It's not gonna replace english, but there's a distinct advantage to being able to understand what the other people on the bus are saying about you (especially if they don't realize you understand them )
If you want a high-paying job in tech or international trade (or whatever), then you'll certainly have a leg up on the competition by knowing Japanese or Chinese, and maybe Russian (I think the jury is still out on that last one.)

Sure, English is still gonna be the "main" language for international business, but you can't go wrong by learning your partners/competition's native language.

Living in the US (especially in the souther tier) I wish I had taken Spanish in HS and college instead of German. I've had no use for the German (even when in Germany), but Spanish would be extremely useful on an almost daily basis! (Learning it slowly... but at this point, I really only know enough to get beat up real bad in bars )
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From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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post #3 of 10
There's always the love of learning and the strong belief in a liberal arts education. I took latin and enjoyed it.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloorJack View Post

There's always the love of learning and the strong belief in a liberal arts education. I took latin and enjoyed it.

Great reason, defy laziness.

As an American living in a foriegn country for me anyway it's an obviouse answer of yes. I live in Switzerland so I damn well better be able to speak German. However, Switzerland has three primary languages and one that's spoken by 1%. Anyway after learning German I found myself embaraced when I went to the French part or the Italien part. So I learned French and Italien, my new wife speaks German, English, French and Italien so why couldn't I. All I can say it's worth knowing more then language, it actually makes you more intellegent in the way you think and speak. Heck I even dream sometimes in german or french and have some of the most vivid adventures.
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When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

and maybe Russian (I think the jury is still out on that last one.)

Yes, but russian has the double-duty bonus of being useful for picking up chicks in slavic language countries.

I still content that Spanish is mostly useless to learn as a second language for business, same with chinese. Why? Because the need for bi-lingual Spanish and Chinese speakers is mostly saturated already. You will benefit more, in business, if you instead spend the time improving your english.
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

You will benefit more, in business, if you instead spend the time improving your english.

Yes! I forgot to mention that.
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

Great reason, defy laziness.

As an American living in a foriegn country for me anyway it's an obviouse answer of yes. I live in Switzerland so I damn well better be able to speak German. However, Switzerland has three primary languages and one that's spoken by 1%. Anyway after learning German I found myself embaraced when I went to the French part or the Italien part. So I learned French and Italien, my new wife speaks German, English, French and Italien so why couldn't I. All I can say it's worth knowing more then language, it actually makes you more intellegent in the way you think and speak. Heck I even dream sometimes in german or french and have some of the most vivid adventures.

Not to pick on you, (I envy your "multi-lingualness"), but if you want to appear more intelligent, you may want to go back and correct all those spelling mistakes. I'm just saying...

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

Not to pick on you, (I envy your "multi-lingualness"), but if you want to appear more intelligent, you may want to go back and correct all those spelling mistakes. I'm just saying...


Nah! Thanks though I'll keep it mind when I'm posting my thesis here. No, seriously thanks my spelling is horrible. Hey you know what that could be a disadvantage of learning a new language. You might loose the ability to speak your mother tongue.

Spell checked for your reading pleasure.
When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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When I looked up "Ninjas" in Thesaurus.com, it said "Ninja's can't be found" Well played Ninjas, well played.
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post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

...I still content that Spanish is mostly useless to learn as a second language for business...

Agreed, but you seemed to be focused on Americans, and in most of America, Spanish can be a VERY handy language to know. There are a ton of immigrants (both legal and otherwise) from Mexico and Central America all over the USA these days. Although, admittedly, most of them pick up English in short order ... at least to some degree.
From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post

Nah! Thanks though I'll keep it mind when I'm posting my thesis here. No, seriously thanks my spelling is horrible. Hey you know what that could be a disadvantage of learning a new language. You might loose the ability to speak your mother tongue.

Spell checked for your reading pleasure.

Sometimes the Language Police try too hard. Your message was perfectly clear.

I, too, am an American living abroad with no plans to return. Spoke three languages before graduating high school and picked up two more later. It is wonderful experience that broadens the mind.

The US was built by immigrants, most who entered legally. Most Americans (except for Native Americans) have heritage somewhere around the world. What a loss to not be able to treasure it, to go and experience it in the native language.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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