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Old 07-17-2006, 08:22 AM   #1
Joseph Hart
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What do think will be the language of the future? When I was in HS in the 80s French seemed to be the vougue language. I think because people had grand aspirations to go to Europe. Spanish would be the most useful, right at the moment. But what of the future? Arabic, Chinese, Japanese.

German seems to be right out. From what I have noticed most Germans speak English better than others speak German. When they figure out that you speak English it is like they want to try out English on you. Which is fine because my German really stinks (I had two years of it in college). I am thinking Arabic or Chinese.
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:39 AM   #2
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My son went to a private middle school recently where the choices were Latin or Spanish. Latin obviously infers some sort of status in terms of education. Unless you're a pre-Vatican II Catholic priest, or a resident of the Vatican City where Latin is the official language, then why? One young man who studied Latin there for three years is now taking Chinese in High School. What a huge difference in language roots.

So, if you want to be a business person of the future, Chinese. Living in the Western Hemisphere, Spanish. I read an article where intelligence agencies prefer Americans who have learned Arabic over native speakers.

Ultimately, I think more Americans would benefit from being able to speak Spanish than any other language. Heck, I would prefer that a majority of Americans speak and write proficient English first.
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Old 07-17-2006, 09:45 AM   #3
Russ Greene
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Based on my time at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and Monterey School of International Studies, I would say that Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese are the most popular. Arabic and Chinese have grown exponentially in the past 5 years. I picked Arabic because I am tone deaf and would have been unable to distinguish between the tones in Chinese, which is a necessary part of the program.

A lot of people overestimate the amount of countries that speak Arabic as the primary language, however. Only about one fifth of Muslims worldwide are arab, and most of the countries with the largest Muslim populations, like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, India, and Iran don't speak Arabic. Afghanistanis don't speak Arabic either.
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Old 07-17-2006, 09:59 AM   #4
Danny Nowell
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Spanish/French can open a lot of doors - Spanish in the States, French abroad. Learn one, and it wouldn't be too complicated to learn others within the same family.

Chinese/Japanese could be lucrative from a business standpoint now and possibly in the future.
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:05 AM   #5
Lincoln Brigham
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I'd pick "C"; it pays better than any other language.
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:05 AM   #6
Clay Jones
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From what I have read romance languages such as French, Italian and other are considered in decline because their native-speaking populations are in decline.

I think that short term, learning either Spanish or English as a second language if you live in the Western Hemisphere would be a smart thing to do. I absolutely detest the prevalent parochial attitudes in the U.S. towards learning a second language. I work with elementary teachers that absolutely refuse to learn even a smattering of Spanish even though they teach spanish-speaking students. I also run across first generation immigrant Spanish speakers that have been here 10 years and not bothered to learn even limited English.

Don't know about Europe--Don't really have a clue as to the number of Arabic/Farsi speakers there . . .
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:15 AM   #7
Clay Jones
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I'd pick "C"; it pays better than any other language.

Lincoln, that was hilarious! :rofl:

Though I thought you couldn't go wrong with COBOL . . . .
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:30 PM   #8
Kenneth R Davis
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I would think one's choice of language would depend on goals. Throughout history, the language of a dominant country became the language of commerce. Not surprisingly, English is presently THE language for economic reasons. If one sees China as a rising dragon, then Chinese would be a good choice. However, if one's goal is to work for the CIA then Pastun, Farsi, or Arabic might be a better choice, but I wouldn't expect to retire early, if you chose the latter.
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:39 PM   #9
Scott Kustes
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Isn't it funny that the US is probably the only First World nation where one can graduate high school with a complete inability to speak a second language?

I'd learn Mandarin or Cantonese (both Chinese). Actually, I fully intend to one of these days.
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:51 PM   #10
Skip Chase
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I began learning German in 3rd grade.When I was in Jr. High school, if we wanted to go to college we had to start studying Latin. Most major universities required at least 2 years of Latin. By the time I graduated from High School, 2 years of either Latin, German or French were acceptable for college entrance.
Today I would like to learn Spanish or Arabic.
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