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75movies's avatar

What language should I learn?

Asked by 75movies (2490points) December 8th, 2009

I am looking for a challenge and have settled on learning a new language, new for me anyway. Now I need suggestions on which language to study. Please make the choices original (they do not need to be spoken languages hint hint or they can be hint hint) with a brief note of why your particular suggestion is worthy of a huge investment of time and/or why it is so fascinating that it can keep someone’s interest over the course of the time needed to become fluent.

Thank you for your help.

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56 Answers

proXXi's avatar

It won’t be easy but there’s a huge demand for native English speakers that are also fluent in Japanese.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Russian…because you have to read “Crime and Punishment” in its original language

MissAnthrope's avatar

I always kind of wanted to learn Sign. Not too many hearing folks willingly study that, unless they have someone in their life who is hearing-impared.

If you really want a challenge, may I suggest Japanese or Chinese? I took Japanese in high school, but only lasted 2 weeks before my brain exploded.

Dutch is another challenging one, I’d kind of like to learn it because it’s so weird-sounding.

Lastly, I plan on studying Latin before I die.

Sweetie26's avatar

Spanish or pig latin lol

ragingloli's avatar

German. Because you have to read the best literature in history in its original language.

stratman37's avatar

lookin’ for a challenge my friend, Chinese. That outta slow you down a bit.

JLeslie's avatar

I think sign is a great one as @MissAnthrope suggested.

Spanish is the most obvious one that will be very useful. The Latin route helps you in many other languages including English.

Arabic is in high demand by our CIA if you have any desire to work for them?

Japanese sounds good to me also. I was in Tokyo a few years ago and I loved it! The city, the language, the whole thing.

Italian also would be one I would like to learn because Italy is so fantastic.

I guess I relate the language to the country :). If I am going to bother to learn a language I would want to go to where it is spoken and experience the whole thing. Language is more than just spoken words, the rythm and expressive terms kind of represent the people as well.

jfos's avatar

Arabic or French.

MrBr00ks's avatar

as long as it isn’t the language that Christopher Paolini made up for his books, I’m ok with it. I tried German. I didn’t do so well but I will try it again later.

Snarp's avatar

Mandarin. Think of it this way, 200 years ago French was the default language for international business and diplomacy. France was then eclipsed on the world stage by the United States (and the UK). Many French people are still a little testy about this. That’s part of the reason why Americans find the French rude, the French are a little testy about Americans coming in and speaking English, when French used to be the common language of the world.

China will soon eclipse the United States on the world stage, and Mandarin may well become the common language of the world. Even if it doesn’t, more than 1/6th of the people on the planet speak Mandarin. And you can find someone in every major city in the world who speaks it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Mandarin. Oh. @Snarp said that. Well, seconding that. And Spanish if you’re in the Western Hemisphere.

JLeslie's avatar

Snarp makes a good point.

ragingloli's avatar

China will soon eclipse the United States on the world stage, and Mandarin may well become the common language of the world.
not if Germany decides to polish it’s Panzers again

sliceswiththings's avatar

Spanish. Useful in the US, and easy to pick up/understand other romance language if you know one.
I speak Spanish and I intend to spend my winter break quickly learning French.

Chatfe's avatar

You want original? Go for something that would distinguish yourself and yet also be useful in a specific part of the world. How about Basque? Not related to any other European language, yet still spoken in Spain’s Basque Country. You’d probably have a great experience traveling there.

JLeslie's avatar

@75movies where do you live?

75movies's avatar

Ease is not a concern as my original idea before posting this question was to spend the next five years learning any and all mathematics as would be possible in that time frame.
Usefulness is also not a main goal but is a bit of a minor factor.
The main thing I am looking for is that it must be fun.

I live in Chicago.

75movies's avatar

A spoken language is definitely something that I am not looking for though. Sorry about my lack of clarity. Outside the box is a must.

JLeslie's avatar

I think being able to talk to others in the language is what helps make it fun, so you might want to choose a language that is spoken somewhat in your city. Maybe there is a group or something? A friend of my sisters belongs to a Spanish speaking group in NYC. What about Greek? That is supposed to be complex, or Polish? Actually Yiddish is very funny, almost forgot that one.

Snarp's avatar

@75movies So you just want to waste your time?

There aren’t a lot of outside the box, non-spoken languages that are even moderately useful. Sign language would be good. Or C. C would be good, but you have to really learn it, not just write a simple program. You could learn braille, but unless you want to make braille signs or publications for a living, then it’s not going to be very useful.

DominicX's avatar

Out of the box languages? Learn Esperanto, Latin, or Ancient Greek.

I’d put Latin at the top of my list because I’ve already learned it and it’s amazing. :)

You can also learn Occorian, the language I invented. There’s nothing wrong with learning a language that isn’t spoken, you guys, stop being so judgmental.

sunshinedust's avatar

Spanish is probably the most useful, but i say German because it makes you sound all evil and cool.

erichw1504's avatar

Sign language.

charliebrown's avatar

try Irish. completely complicated.

JLeslie's avatar

@charliebrown Do you mean Gaelic? Or, are you just being funny?

DominicX's avatar


Irish = Gaelic

People call the language “Irish” more because there’s also Scottish Gaelic and Manx Gaelic. However, the Irish language is called “Gaelige” in the Irish language. (Scottish is called “Gàidhlig” and Manx is called “Gaelg”).

JLeslie's avatar

I have never heard it referred to simply as Irish. Thanks.

75movies's avatar

@snarp A programming language does sound like an interesting choice. I know absolutely nothing about programming (and like the idea of starting an endeavor from square one) but am aware that there are quite a few languages about. Why would C be the best choice?

Snarp's avatar

C is fundamental to many of the common programming languages in use today. It is the syntax core of C++, C#, and Java. It is also the underlying language behind iPhone apps and Cuda, the language used to write programs to Nvidia GPUs. Once you know C you can port over to other languages with nothing more than a quick reference guide and a few prudent web searches.

75movies's avatar

Alrighty, looks like I will be picking up a book on C to find out if it really it the one I’d like to delve into. Thanks Snarp and everyone else for the ideas.

ragingloli's avatar


Snarp's avatar

A word of warning / caveat: you will probably want to study some basic computer science theory to go along with learning the language syntax. Also, I don’t actually know C myself, I only know C++, C#, and Java. C++ isn’t a bad starting place either.

forestGeek's avatar

You should learn Latin because it would help you get into the priesthood one day.

zephyr826's avatar

What about one of the dying languages? There are several languages that only a few people speak anymore (breton, some of the inuit dialects,etc.), and it would be a wonderful thing to pick up. Do you have interest in a heritage language?

or you could always try Esperanto, in case that picks up again…

the100thmonkey's avatar

Spoken Japanese is easy. Sorry.

Written Japanese, on the other hand, is a mighty bastard of a language that will challenge you till the day you die.

I recommend Japanese, but that’s only because I want you to feel my pain.

filmfann's avatar

I was trying to teach myself Japanese, when a friend called me up, and asked me to go to a Sign Language class. I dropped the Japanese, spent a year learning Sign, then met a deaf girl, and married her.
So I think you should learn japanese (was that too obvious?).
If you are looking for a language you can use, sign, spanish (if you live in California) or French (if you live near Canada).

75movies's avatar

I just got married three days ago so I will stay away from Japanese since it can only lead to my divorce but thanks for the advice.

erichw1504's avatar

Javascript or Visual Basic

MinMin's avatar

Chinese language. How much time you need to learn a Chinese character? Check out your result – learn a Chinese character a day – at Learn Chinese Every Day

filmfann's avatar

@MinMin welcome to fluther Lurve

BraveWarrior's avatar

I’ve studied French, Spanish, Hebrew, Japanese, and American Sign Language (while only able to converse in English & ASL, I’m proud to say that I can ask “Where’s the restroom?” in 5 languages).

If I were to pick another language to learn “just for fun” without concern about practicality or having someone to communicate with, I’d be interested in Lakota (Sioux) spoken & sign languages.

But I can see the fun of learning a computer programming language… you’ll be able to design your own computer applications!

alquest's avatar

you should learn France language which is universe in the world.

jfos's avatar

@alquest Well stated.

shumone's avatar

Just for the sake of originality, I would recommend Arabic, Persian or Hindi.

I mean there’s no point learning another language from the Western Hemisphere if practicality is not your concern.

You should learn these different languages not only to waste time but maybe to understand more about the culture, their values of the world.

Pandora's avatar

I say latin would be a good choice. Only because so many other languages derive from latin and it will be easier to pick up other languages once you have latin under your belt.
It will also make it easier for you to understand the meaning of words because many english words come from latin words. Especially medical terms.

JLeslie's avatar

@shumone Is Persian synonomous with Farsi?

shumone's avatar

@JLeslie yes. you are right

reijinni's avatar

try Occitan, Frisian, Aragonese, Catalan, Arptian, or Picard.

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