PDA

View Full Version : What Is A Good Language To Study?



Requiem Dream
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 06:36 PM
I'm going to transfer to the University of Illinois and they have a foreign language recruitment. What is a good language to learn? They offer Swedish, German, Russian, and the regulars Spanish and French. I think they might have more like Czech and so on, but not sure.

My friend was taking German in college and dropped the class, he said writing a sentence in German looked like Hurricane Katrina hit it. So I'm not sure what language to take. I think Swedish might be easy to take. I have alot of friends who speak Russian, but they say Russian is very hard (has 8 cases, whereas German has 4 and English has 0). Plus I don't understand the whole gender system since English is the only Indo-European language that doesn't have one.

So what foreign language would you guys take/recommend?

Fenris
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 06:57 PM
German's actually quite easy to conjugate, a lot moreso than say, Russian (which I've dabbled in) or Spanish (in which I've also dabbled). Swedish is a bit more difficult than German too, but that's a language I'm attempting to learn right now, with the help of some Swedish friends of mine.

I'd personally say German or Swedish. Spanish is becoming even more widely spoken than English in America though, so some rudimentary knowledge of that may be useful even on a passive level - though you'd be forming a greater tie with your ancestral roots if you picked a language closer to your ancestry.

That's also why I've studied some German, and am learning Swedish, my ancestral origins - that and I've a flair for pronouncing stuff rather well, so I've been told, even as well as a native speaker, a Swedish friend of mine told me.

Fenris
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 06:59 PM
Further, if you pick German or Swedish, there are plenty of people on here you can try it out with.

Siegmund
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 07:03 PM
My friend was taking German in college and dropped the class, he said writing a sentence in German looked like Hurricane Katrina hit it.
Nah. Take German. You won't regret it. ;)

Draco
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 07:17 PM
Ich Deustch studieren, aber Grammatik ist ein grosse Problem, Vokabeln sind besser fur mich. Wenn ich reiste durch Deutschland und Oesterreich, Menschen sagt das mein Deutsch ist sehr gut fur ein Amerikaner.

Mein Laptop kann umlaut machen nicht, lol. Ich kann Deutsch sprechen besser als Deutch schrieben, bekanntlich jedermann hier hat gesehen. :)

Basically, I need to study more, but with university and its crippling course load, I don't have the time. I'd like to progress beyond functional German (never had a problem in restaurants, on public transit, and even small talk) to be at least somewhat close to fluent so I could read the great German literary works in their natural state.

Fenris
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 07:18 PM
German's a great language, it's also very authoritative-sounding when you yell it at someone. It has a harsh edge, but flows well, and given the fact that a lot of it is very similarly structured to English, it should be easier for you than Swedish, Russian or Spanish.

Requiem Dream
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 08:43 PM
My brother also said in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Its hard to understand people. Like the dialects are so different from one spot in Germany to 30 miles away in another spot.

Can someone explain how much different High German is from Low German and all the dialects. Is it still the same language but like changed around a bit?

Siegmund
Thursday, September 22nd, 2005, 10:32 PM
Can someone explain how much different High German is from Low German and all the dialects. Is it still the same language but like changed around a bit?
You could start here:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_German

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_German_language

For your studies, stick to High German and you'll be fine.

Theudanaz
Friday, September 23rd, 2005, 02:02 AM
For the record, Swedish is grammatically much simpler than modern high German, it is more like low German dialect in that sense. Like English it has only scarce vestiges of case inflexion, and that in the pronouns, like English.

There was a lot of borrowing from low german vocabulary too, so jumping from one to the other shouldn't be too hard, if you're prepared against confusion. The hardest thing with swedish (over against Deutsch) for an American is maybe the pronunciation of "sj" (etc.) and rising and falling tones, but you can master those by watching a few good swedish movies and imitating them. :D

That said, if you can do it, study German first, as there is much interesting in poetry, politics and philosophy there.

Patria
Friday, September 23rd, 2005, 03:18 AM
Nah. Take German. You won't regret it. ;)I agree with Siegmund. Take German. http://forums.skadi.net/images/icons/icon14.gif

Blutwölfin
Friday, September 23rd, 2005, 12:08 PM
German is quite difficult, especially the grammar. Too many cases, too many different forms of endings, lots of different articles.

It might be easy to understand in a not so far day, even to read it, but writing and speaking it correctly takes a lot of practise. But anyway, all Germans, at least me, like a British/American accent on German pronounciation quite well. ;)

I think you'd better off learning Swedish at first, which is - concerning the grammar - more similar to English. With being able to speak, write and understand Swedish, it will also be very easy for you to learn the other Scandinavian languages Norwegian and Danish. The last ones are very similar - at least in written form.

Gorm the Old
Friday, September 23rd, 2005, 06:34 PM
I'd say study German. Although its grammar is complicated, it is logical. The gender of nouns is not a problem if you will memorize the definite article (der, die, or das) with the noun. Don't memorize Mädchen. Memorize "das Mädchen", and so forth. Always memorize the article with the noun. For informal speech and writing, don't worry about strong versus week endings. Use the weak ones (They're easier, anyhow.) A few sounds in German are difficult for a foreigner to pronounce. For example, the soft "-ch" as in ich is different from the harder "-ch" as in Bach, but if you use the hard ch for both, the Germans will forgive you, and they'll certainly understand you.. Good luck !

Dissident
Friday, September 23rd, 2005, 09:30 PM
Take GERMAN!
It´s the language of ALL NATIONAL SOCIALIST LITERATURE!

If you decide to walk down the tough road, with all the grammar and stuff, you will surely find advantages alongside your way, since you are in touch with a lot of german comrades through this forum and other online-rooms.

I am studying English, to become a translator/interpretor. So if you need help, just drop me a message. I pretty often need help myself but am too shy to ask people on skadi.net

Hail victory!

Dissident

Wjatscheslaw
Saturday, September 24th, 2005, 10:52 PM
German for me. - Russian for you.

Also good languages are Icelandic and Swedish.

Huzar
Saturday, September 24th, 2005, 11:16 PM
Effectively i find german and russian languages very interesting

Leofric
Sunday, September 25th, 2005, 06:14 PM
A lot depends on your personal goals and interests. If all you want to do is fulfill the requirement, then choose something easy. Swedish and German will both have some easiness because of similarity to English. In my opinion, Swedish is harder for an American to pronounce than German is, but its grammar (morphosyntax: conjugating verbs, case and number of nouns and adjectives, word order, and so on) is much easier for an American than German would be. Spanish is also an easy language for Americans to learn in terms of both pronunciation and grammar. Seeing the cognate word relationships between English and Spanish is tougher though than seeing them in Swedish or German — you have to have a pretty big English vocabulary to see that lágrima is just like lachrymose and castigar like castigate.

Another factor to consider when it comes to ease is that Spanish is usually better taught in the United States than are Swedish and German. I don't know what instruction is like at the U of Ill., but problems in Spanish instruction across the nation have been worked out really well and it's become very easy to learn Spanish here as a result. German instruction would be better than Swedish here as a general rule, but neither would come close to the quality of Spanish instruction (unless there are great teachers there at Illinois). Spanish would also afford you greater chances for exposure to the language: 30 million native Spanish speakers in the US compared to 2 million native German speakers. Fenris is quite right though in saying that we'd be happy to help you with Swedish or German here at Skadi :)

If you want more than an easy run through GE, however, you might choose differently. Spanish is no longer an asset when seeking employment in the US — lacking it is a liability. This is especially true for jobs where you have to you speak with the public, or where you are involved in NAFTA-style trade. If you want to live in any big city in the US, Spanish will be far more needed of course than if you want to live in, say, rural Kentucky.

If you want to study the history of Germanic people and know more about your Germanic legacy (and since you're here, I assume you do), then you really ought to learn both German and Swedish, but which you do first isn't super important. These are also very useful (Swedish especially) for use as secret languages when you want to talk privately in very public settings — my wife and I use German for this occasionally. Spanish won't give you that.

Russian and French also have benefits, but unless you already have strong interest in France or Eastern Europe and their history, governments, literature, or culture, I wouldn't choose those over German, Swedish, or Spanish.

Good luck! Let us know what you decide :)

Requiem Dream
Wednesday, September 28th, 2005, 02:23 AM
Illinois is a top ranking school, I'm sure their language programs are top notch. Spanish is useless in the business world (name any Investment Banking or Consulting companies that speak Spanish). I'm not willing to take Spanish since I see it as Hispanics move here and we accustom to their language.

I'm just debating between German (could speak with my brother, travel in central europe), Swedish and Russian (alot of my friends speak Russian).

Drakkar
Wednesday, September 28th, 2005, 07:07 AM
Speaking of this, I was actually thinking the same thing. Due to a rather nightmarish Latin class last semester that ended horribly, my parents forced me to revert back to spanish, a language I studied all throughout high school. I originally wanted to take German, but they wouldn't let me, because they know the language (I used to live there as a baby) and said I needed to take spanish for the grades. I'm still going to take German during the summer and on my own time, because I want to study in Bamberg, a University where most classes are in German, in that case I shall have to know it fluently.
First, however, I plan to study at the Jonkoping Int. Business School in Sweden a year from now. There I'll take a Swedish cultural and language course, among others, of which I'm excited about. After I go to both countries, I hope to fully appreciate my cultural heritage and discover my ethnic roots. BTW, I wish to do German/US relations as a career, but that might change if I really like it up in Sverige.

Aragorn
Friday, September 30th, 2005, 11:36 AM
My brother also said in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Its hard to understand people. Like the dialects are so different from one spot in Germany to 30 miles away in another spot.

Can someone explain how much different High German is from Low German and all the dialects. Is it still the same language but like changed around a bit?


Certainly there are many different german dialects, but it is not true that every region still speaks dialects, except for the elder generation perhaps. I live not far away from the German border, and every time I visit germany and start speaking with locals, they do not speak dialect at all. Some region are more holding on the dialect then the other, but I would advice you to visit Germany once and decide for yourself, you wont regret it. My advice towards you, is to take German lessons above all the others. Ofcourse French and Spanish are widely spoken languages in the world, but for me, personly, it matters more how white an language is. no hard feelings to the French and Spanish users at Skadi, but many non-white populations speaks your languages, and that is not the case with German. German is the native language of Germans, Austrians, and is of the mayority of Switzerland. Besides that, there are many regions in Europe with German-speaking minories; Southern-Tyrol, Elsass-Lothringen, Luxemburg, Upper-Silesia, The Belgian East-Kantons. Besides, German is the language of many great German writers, poets, politicians, composers, philosophers: Herder, Kant, Hegel, Beethoven, Goethe, Bismarck, Hindenburg, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Our beloved Fuhrer ofcourse. English is related to German, so it aint that difficult to learn, atleast Russian or any other Slavic language would be much more difficult. To start learning Icelandic would be ridicolous. good and nice if you can understand it, but useless outside Iceland. Same caunts for Norwegian and Danish. Beautiful lasnguages but not of use outside these countrys. But then again, perhaps Dutch is an option:D :D Its the native language of the population of the Netherlands and Flanders, and that of the Flemish minority in Northern-France, known as French-Flanders. And if you know Dutch, you will be able to understand Afrikaans, the blood brothers of the Dutch-Flemish in South-Africa. What ever you decide, let us know:) .

Thusnelda
Friday, September 30th, 2005, 02:21 PM
Ich Deustch studieren, aber Grammatik ist ein grosse Problem, Vokabeln sind besser fur mich. Wenn ich reiste durch Deutschland und Oesterreich, Menschen sagt das mein Deutsch ist sehr gut fur ein Amerikaner.
Mein Laptop kann umlaut machen nicht, lol. Ich kann Deutsch sprechen besser als Deutch schrieben, bekanntlich jedermann hier hat gesehen. :)


Thats quite good, but of course your grammar isnt...perfect. ;)

Correctly it would be:

Ich studiere Deutsch, aber die Grammatik ist ein grosses Problem. Vokabeln kann ich besser. Als ich durch Deutschland und Österreich reiste, sagten mir die Menschen das mein Deutsch sehr gut für einen Amerikaner ist.
Meim Laptop kann keine Umlaute schreiben, lol. Ich kann besser Deutsch sprechen als Deutsch schreiben, dies hat bekanntlich jedermann hier gesehen. :)

Just keep on trying, you´re an a very good way! Your German is already understandable.

Requiem Dream
Saturday, October 1st, 2005, 07:00 PM
After listening to Eisbrecher... I want to learn German :D.

The Awful German Language by Mark Twain. Seems like Twain didn't like German...
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/texts/twain.german.html

Wjatscheslaw
Sunday, October 2nd, 2005, 01:26 AM
After listening to Eisbrecher... I want to learn German :D
Just read (all work's of) Nietzsche.. :D ;)

goldgrube
Friday, October 28th, 2005, 08:15 PM
Choose norwegian if you decide to study a scandinavian language. Danish and norwegian er almost identical on paper, orally however swedish is easier to understand.

Both swedish and danish -- and especially danish -- have extremely heavy accents. Norwegian is kind of a bit more refined and natural.

Swedish
http://swedia.ling.umu.se/Ljud/Svealand/Uppland/Graso/grs_ym_3i.mp3

Danish, which sometimes can sound very german
http://www.elkan.dk/filer_lyd/dialekter/sonderjysk_regionalsprog.mp3

Norwegian, bokmål
http://www.ling.hf.ntnu.no/nos/mp3/nos22001.mp3