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Thread: Most Useful Germanic Language?

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    Most Useful Germanic Language?

    I've recently been thinking about learning another Germanic language. Which do you think is the most useful to learn and why? I'm thinking a language I don't only learn for fun, but which I could also use for business, worldwide communication and so forth. Sort of like English. Any opinions?

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    It depends on the custom you want to embark , I guess .

    German language offers the best possibilities , in regards to being the
    largest economy in Europe .
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    If your mother was German, learning German would seem like the logical choice, already for personal reasons alone.

    But it's also, by far, the second most spoken Germanic language in the world, the second most common scientific language and the language of one of the strongest economies in the world.

    Another point to consider is, that the English skills of many (FRG) Germans are (very) poor. In the rest of the non-English speaking Germanic world, you can get by with either English or German, most Dutch and many Scandinavians having a very good command of German, too. Although these peoples are almost on a near native speaking English level anyway.
    If you're planning to learn even more languages, once you have a good command of German, learning Dutch won't be much trouble for you anymore. Although, on the other hand, in this case, it could be easier to learn Dutch first, considering it's somewheren inbetween English and German.

    You can get by with German not only in the countries where German is the (most common) native language (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein) or in other Germanic countries but in a variety of eastern European countries, too, where German is the most common second or third language.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Juthunge View Post
    [...] many Scandinavians having a very good command of German, too.
    I believe Danish pupils learn some German in school, while in Sweden and Norway it is only offered as a optional course in the later years of mandatory education, and usually losing out to Spanish and French as the most popular choices of third language courses. I personally don't know anyone in Sweden or Norway who speaks German (more or less) fluently, and only a small minority who has a slightly better command of German than what simple guesswork would provide. It might be more commonly understood and spoken among older generations, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene View Post
    I've recently been thinking about learning another Germanic language. Which do you think is the most useful to learn and why? I'm thinking a language I don't only learn for fun, but which I could also use for business, worldwide communication and so forth. Sort of like English. Any opinions?
    As Juthunge have pointed out, German is the obvious, logical choice. But, bear in mind, that the people who can speak English and German, are a dime a dozen. There are much fewer people who can speak, say, English and Frisian, or English and Icelandic (albeit most Frisians and Icelanders already know how to speak both). So if you're looking to take advantage of some niche, I'd say go for the more obscure languages. It might not be as commonly needed, but you'd stand out more when and where it is. For example if you learn Frisian and Icelandic, you'd possibly be the only one in the World who does. Not very useful in everyday life, but if an Icelandic business ever were to set up shop in Frisia (for some strange reason), you'd be in a pretty lucrative position.

    Besides, learning obscure languages is more fun and interesting in my opinion. And the native speakers you come across tend to appreciate it a lot more.
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    If it's business and communication you're after, then German is going to open many doors for you, much more than any other Germanic language. And I wouldn't say that there are that many people who speak proficient English and German. Many Germans don't speak English that well, being as everything in this country is dubbed. Even if there's English taught in schools, they lack exercising it so most of it is forgotten. You don't really need to speak English in Germany as everyone speaks German. English-speaking jobs in Germany are limited and they usually expect you to speak at least some German as well. So if you want doors open over here, learning German would be necessary IMHO. If you learn German, it will also be useful in other German-speaking countries and territories, which are more numerous than Dutch or Scandinavian for example. And like Juthunge said, the Dutch (incl. Afrikaners) and Scandinavians usually speak good English, which you already know. Languages like Icelandic you could do without, unless you plan to move to Iceland or be a translator/interpreter. It's rather the combination of two or more obscure languages, like Žoreišar said, that's more rare and that would probably give you a boost if you're looking for translation work in that area.

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    German, IMO. I don't speak a word Romanian but I got a well paid job in Transylvania due to speaking German. At the moment, it's one of the most sought business languages - I'd say much more than both English and French - as many businesses are outsourcing to Central or Eastern European countries. The branch I work with has offices all around the world, including in countries like South Africa or Brazil, all German speakers.

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    English and German are the two most important Germanic tongues to open doors for economic reasons, but seeing as they're used for something so perfunctory and utilitarian, I would be learning endangered languages like Faroese and Frisian for my own edification.

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    Like others have stated, German for economic and population reasons. There’s also a plethora of literature and other interesting media that are in German.

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