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nickname_changed
08-01-2003, 08:46 AM
Howdy

Im an english speaking aussie and I've wanted to learn a second language (not a programming one) for quite some time. I'd been thinking about spanish, but then I started thinking about maybe danish/german, because a lot of things I've seen on the internet are in those languages.

So I'd like to know your opinions on what language would be best, and any links I could use to help me learn?

FillYourBrain
08-01-2003, 08:53 AM
swahili. Definitely.

Govtcheez
08-01-2003, 08:58 AM
Latin.

nickname_changed
08-01-2003, 09:03 AM
Latin.

I had origionally intended to learn a latin based language like spanish/portuguese/romanian (I think) but I was thinking about German/Danish because I see them a lot with computing. I don't want the language to that I can sweet talk some girl (ie Fresh/spanish) or to help me in my dracula play (romanian). I would rather a language that will help my computing.

adrianxw
08-01-2003, 09:04 AM
You'll find a lot more generally available training aids with French, German and Spanish then with minority languages like Danish.

Almost all Scandinavians speak perfectly good English, so you won't need to learn a language to communicate. The vast majority of web sites have already or are getting English versions.

French and Spanish, (and Portugese), are spoken in many countries, (former colony's), with large non-English speaking populations, so they are more readily useful.

Many youger Germans speak some English, so you will probably be able to get by in the cities at least. German isn't used much outside of Germany.

It depends really on why you want to do this.

*** EDIT ***

So you were replying at the same time.

>>> I would rather a language that will help my computing.

I think English will suffice.

drdroid
08-01-2003, 09:06 AM
I would rather a language that will help my computing.

you have only two choices here: japanese... or binary.

nickname_changed
08-01-2003, 09:10 AM
lol, thats ok I know binary at least. But don't you think danish/german would be a good option? I've seen soooo much info on the net (especially where OS development is concerned) in either of those languages (although I can never tell which).

adrianxw
08-01-2003, 09:15 AM
Well, if you've seen a resource in Danish or German that you want to read, then your choice is already made. I'll simply re-iterate what I said before. Learning German will be easier than Danish because there are a lot more resources available to help you.

Danish is often said to be very difficult to learn, although I would suggest Finnish is worse.

*** EDIT ***

What Danish sites are you looking at?

drdroid
08-01-2003, 09:18 AM
mmmm... daaanishes... I'm taking french right now... what a worthless piece o $$$$... but the only option other than that is spanish, i don't need either of them. But actually, I've seen alot of programming sites in Korean as well.

Perspective
08-01-2003, 09:19 AM
droid is actually on to something there. Once you know english, the next best language in the computing industry is an Asian one. Ive seen many job ads looking for programmers that can speak english and Chinese/Japanese/Korean

vasanth
08-01-2003, 09:20 AM
how about Sanskrit or some dravidian language like Tamil , Telegu , Malayalam :D:D:D:D

adrianxw
08-01-2003, 09:21 AM
>>> job ads looking for programmers that can speak english and Chinese/Japanese/Korean

That's true.

nickname_changed
08-01-2003, 09:50 AM
Taking into account what you've said about german, I think that might be the way to go. I'd like to learn an Asian language one day, but I think that for now (since I'm only 16) I'll find more use for german than I will for japanese/korean.

So german it is. Does anyone have any good (free) links? I'll do a google search for it now but if anyones already used some good ones I'd appreciate a link or two. Thanks for all your help guys you've been great!

UnregdRegd
08-01-2003, 09:56 AM
Since you're a native speaker of English, you already know the language for computers and technology (Japanese might be a little helpful in this regard too).

Why not learn a language to expand your knowledge culturally? Any language will do, but you may have more trouble finding learning resources for some. I am studying French, and it has a high number of cognates with English so learning its vocabulary is a little easier than, for example, Russian or Arabic. Pick a foreign culture that interests you, and learn its language.

codegirl
08-01-2003, 09:56 AM
I have heard that German is easier than Spanish or French for English-speaking people to learn, because a lot of the grammar rules are the same. But in languages like Spanish, you always put the adjectives after the nouns, and you've got the whole masculine/feminine thing going on, and who knows what else (I only took a little Spanish in high school). But supposedly German sentence structures are similar to English -- any German speakers out there are welcome to correct me :)

sean
08-01-2003, 10:02 AM
Heh heh - if you decide that it's best for you to learn German, learn Aafrikans instead. Practically no grammar rules, and if I go to Germany and start talking Aafrikans they understand me.

adrianxw
08-01-2003, 10:04 AM
>>> you've got the whole masculine/feminine

In German of course, you have three word genders.

I have also heard that basic German is not a difficult language for English speakers to learn.

Shiro
08-01-2003, 11:45 AM
> Almost all Scandinavians speak perfectly good English

Yes, that is amazing. This summer I've traveled through Lappland, even there a lot of people speak English quite well. What a difference with France where it is often quite hard or even impossible to use English when you're on the country side. Perhaps it has to do with the need to speak other languages. People coming from countries where Danish, Dutch and other such small languages are spoken need to learn other languages. Those coming from countries where English, French and other more spoken languages are used, don't need it very much.

> Practically no grammar rules, and if I go to Germany and start
> talking Aafrikans they understand me.

A friend once showed me a South-African online newspaper, on www.beeld.com. To me it seems almost Dutch.

I also think German is easier to learn for English speakers, perhaps it is because these languages are more close related than Spanish and German.

adrianxw
08-01-2003, 02:17 PM
>>> Yes, that is amazing.

It is a stated goal, certainly of the Danish government, and probably the other Scandinavian governments also to have a truly billigual society. The kids begin English quite young, (depends on the school, but where I am, typically at age 8), and it is proposed they begin younger, and are taught English as a compulsory subject for the rest of their school career. This has been the case for decades now.

It's simple really, in the past, the free trade area in Scandinavia worked because within reason, we were self sufficient, we didn't need to trade, we did, but it wasn't necessary.

The world changes, you adapt or die. The Scandinavian languages are notoriously difficult. People aren't going to go to all the trouble of learning them, when the population is so small, (Denmark a little over 5,000,000).

To have your industry remain competitive, you need to be able to talk directly to your customers, and not in some broken half talk. You need to be able to analyse their problems, and succinctly and accurately present your proposals. It works.

The French are really troublesome with their "you must deal with us in French" attitude. We don't bother marketing much in France, no point, we can do without them. Germany is waking up to this, and a great number of younger Germans speak English.

UnregdRegd
08-01-2003, 02:36 PM
Originally posted by codegirl
I have heard that German is easier than Spanish or French for English-speaking people to learn, because a lot of the grammar rules are the same. But in languages like Spanish, you always put the adjectives after the nouns, and you've got the whole masculine/feminine thing going on, and who knows what else (I only took a little Spanish in high school). But supposedly German sentence structures are similar to English -- any German speakers out there are welcome to correct me :)

It's all a subjective matter of opinion, but German grammar shows a lot of features that were lost in English: gender (gone except in the third-person singular personal pronouns - he, she, it) and inflection. German nouns are inflected for gender, number, and whatever else; English marks nouns for number and usually adds an -s or -es for that; English also marks for posessiveness. German verb conjugation is also more complex than English's (but English has auxillory verbs, which are supposed to be pretty confusing for non-native speakers).

French is not a highly inflected language, like English and unlike German, although verb conjugation is still more complex than in English. French word order is similar to English's:
"Il aime manger la bonne nourriture" = "He likes eating the good food."
"Il a dit que je sois méchant" = "He has said that I am mean."
"Avez-vous déjà mangé ?" = "Have you already eaten?"
"C'est moi !" = "It's me!"

As far as I know (I'm not an expert on German), German's word order would be like this (but in German): "I like food eating." French's main disadvantage is that, although the words often look like English words, the pronunciation (and sometimes the meaning) is different, and many written letters have become (in French, you would say "are become" (sont devenu) - archaic in English) silent.


Originally posted by Shiro
A friend once showed me a South-African online newspaper, on www.beeld.com. To me it seems almost Dutch.


Afrikaans is derived from the mixture of Dutch and Low German spoken by South African settlers from the Netherlands and Germany. It's sometimes called Cape Dutch. And it has a grammar, too. All languages do, including computer languages.

sean
08-01-2003, 03:26 PM
Sure, if you consider THAT grammar. It's not much more than "go from left to right forming letters into words and words into sentences". OK, that is some grammar, but compared to English and all the other languages mentioned here, not much at all.

Zewu
08-01-2003, 03:57 PM
First I would like to say that I am a native speaker of Swedish, and that I found English very easy to learn. I would say that I know all of the English grammar by now, and that improvement in English to me merely is a matter of extending my English vocabulary, and to learn where to use some prepositions.

There are alot of languages that I would like to learn, just for the sake of that I consider it to be cool. I believe that I have lost my potential to ever achieve native fluency in pronouncement in most languages (if not all) other than Swedish, by now (at 15 years of age). However, I believe that it is practically never too late to achieve native fluency in writing in any language. (Maybe there's no need for you to know all this egocentrical information).

stovellp, I think that Spanish and Mandarin would be good for you to learn, in the purpose of being able to understand various information found on the web. I believe that there are alot of people who know either of these languages, but who don't know English, and are likely to submit information to the Internet in a pretty near future.


Originally posted by UnregdRegd
(but English has auxillory verbs, which are supposed to be pretty confusing for non-native speakers).
I never found this trait in English confusing. At least in Swedish (and most likely the other languages of the Scandinavian family), we use auxillary verbs in the same way as English does, such as when expressing a verb in past participle. Example: "I have eaten". Swedish also uses the auxillary verb "have", conjugated after the subject in present tense, to mark the following tense. The same goes with French.

Well, I feel that I have to admit that the main purpose of this post really was for me to shine linguistically, but I hope that it could be of interest and help to you as well.

....................Although, I belive that I am not so good at "verbality", or whatever it's called

..........damn, I can never relax (like I think I did now, on purpose though):(

confuted
08-01-2003, 04:32 PM
Learning the very basic German grammar is pretty easy for an English speaker.

Ich bin sicher.
I am sure.

Ich habe mein Baum gebrochen.
I have my leg broken.

However, it starts to get more complicated when you throw in the endings on all the adjectives and such. I found that it got to be too much for me after three years of German, so I'm not taking the fourth year.

Basically, I'm saying that at first, German isn't too hard, but it rapidly becomes harder to learn. Spanish is a much easier language to learn.

nickname_changed
08-01-2003, 05:59 PM
Alright then, spanish is starting to sound like the language I might go for becuase so many of you recommended it. But I have one question, will learning spanish make it easier to learn portuguese/romanian as well? So if I knew spanish I wouldn't have much trouble understanding simple portuguese/romanian languages? Or are they still much different.

confuted
08-01-2003, 06:02 PM
Portugal and Spain have been the same country in the past, and Portugal is surrounded by Spain, so I would guess that the languages are pretty similar. I know from a friend that Spanish and Latin are quite similar, and an understanding of one will give you a basic understanding of the other. Kind of like English and American :) j/k

sean
08-01-2003, 06:18 PM
On top of that, portugese and spanish are used side-by-side in South and Central America. There are slight differences, but they're practically eachother. Maybe one class and you're switched.

Scourfish
08-01-2003, 10:16 PM
Ebonics

ygfperson
08-01-2003, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by blackrat364
Learning the very basic German grammar is pretty easy for an English speaker.

Ich bin sicher.
I am sure.

Ich habe mein Baum gebrochen.
I have my leg broken.

However, it starts to get more complicated when you throw in the endings on all the adjectives and such. I found that it got to be too much for me after three years of German, so I'm not taking the fourth year.

Basically, I'm saying that at first, German isn't too hard, but it rapidly becomes harder to learn. Spanish is a much easier language to learn.
Ditto. I took 4 years. Making sense of the language isn't difficult. The grammar rules are much stricter than in English, which also lessens the number of special cases you have to watch out for.

ie: (disclaimer: plurals don't have a pattern, so I've probably got them wrong)
Ich habe keine mehr Zeugfleuge. (I have no more airplanes.)
Wenn ich um ein paar Stuehle gekaufen, faehre ich zum Luxemborg. (Whenever I a few chairs bought, drive I to Luxemborg.)
Wieviel Uhr ist es? Ich moechte nach Hause. (How much Clock is it? I might to home.)

The last one shows how weird german can get to the non-speaker. But if you think about it, it begins to make sense. (What time is it? I might go home.)

adrianxw
08-02-2003, 03:59 AM
>>> portugese and spanish are used side-by-side in South and Central America.

Can't speak for Central America, (only been to Panama), but in South America, (not been into any of the Guianas - but all the others), the only place I heard Portugese was Brazil.

The spoken Spanish in South America is way easier than in Spain. It is pronounced much more in the way the word is spelt.

Cerveza in South America is pronounced "Sir-vay-za" in Spain "Ther-bay-thar", for example. Cerveza is an important word.

Shiro
08-02-2003, 06:01 AM
> It is a stated goal, certainly of the Danish government, and probably the other Scandinavian governments also to
> have a truly billigual society. The kids begin English quite young, (depends on the school, but where I am,
> typically at age 8), and it is proposed they begin younger, and are taught English as a compulsory subject for
> the rest of their school career. This has been the case for decades now.

In the Netherlands children start learning other languages at 12. English is not a compulsory subject here. They can choose between German, English, French and sometimes Spanish and/or Russian, it is possible to choose more than one language. Most of the children choose English, since they often know a bit of that language already and it seems easier to learn than German for us here, probably because it is used much more. In music, on TV etc. Often boys choose English and German, girls usually choose English and French.

I've added some Dutch translations:

Ich habe mein Bein gebrochen.
I have my leg broken.
Ik heb mijn been gebroken.

Ich habe kein Flugzeuge mehr.
I have no more airplanes.
Ik heb geen vliegtuigen meer.

Wie spät ist es?
What time is it?
Hoe laat is het?

sean
08-02-2003, 08:56 AM
Can't speak for Central America, (only been to Panama), but in South America, (not been into any of the Guianas - but all the others), the only place I heard Portugese was Brazil.

Well maybe I phrased that badly. They're not used side-by-side in every country, in fact now I'm thinking not to use side-by-side at all. There are places other than Brazil, but I don't think any countries use both right now.

Zewu
08-02-2003, 09:10 AM
That's as if you'd hear Dutch somewhere else in South America than in Suriname.

In South America, other than Brazil, you'll be likely to be less understood than you will in Angola, with Portugese.