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What Language Should I Learn?


Local time
Today, 03:17
Jul 4, 2013
I've heard Icelandic is hard because of its archaic vocabulary and complex grammar, and how its phonemes don't have exact English equivalents. But I doubt many schools offer Icelandic.

Personally, I enjoy Arabic. It's rich, it's complex, it's beautiful, (it's even useful in today's world), and there are really three "types" you need to learn: Modern Standard (to read and understand the news and other official things), Quranic (self-explanatory), and the many dialects (to talk to real people). Dialects are actually one of the most interesting things about Arabic, in my opinion, because they can be so different. You can have two native Arabic speakers who don't hardly understand each other.


Prolific Member
Local time
Today, 04:17
May 9, 2013
this topic (the OP) is rather dead to me (so don't bother addressing it), but I feel like posting this anyway in relation to how much I love languages and why and the different concepts:

For example, in English, the numbers beyond 20 are named by a decade (twenty) that is followed by a digit (one) and their names follow a logical pattern (twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, etc.). In Chinese, the numbers from 11 to 19 are similarly constructed (ten-one, ten-two, ten-three…). But in English, the names of the numbers between 11 and 19 either reverse the order of the decade and the digit (sixteen, seventeen) or are entirely arbitrary (eleven, twelve). The difference in the regularity of these two systems makes a big difference to the children who must learn them. It is obvious to a Chinese child that 12—which is called “ten-two”—can be decomposed into 10 and 2, but it is not so obvious to an American child, who calls the number “twelve” (see Figure 11.5). In one study, children from many countries were asked to hand an experimenter a certain number of bricks. Some of the bricks were single, and some were glued together in strips of 10. When Asian children were asked to hand the experimenter 26 bricks, they tended to hand over two strips of 10 plus six singles. Non-Asian children tended to use the clumsier strategy of counting out 26 single bricks (Miura et al., 1994). Results such as these suggest that the regularity of the counting system that children inherit can promote or discourage their discovery of the fact that two-digit numbers can be decomposed (Gordon, 2004; Imbo & LeFevre, 2009).

Figure 11.5 Twelve or Two-Teen? As this graph shows, the percentage of American children who can count through the cardinal numbers drops off suddenly when they hit the number 11, whereas the percentage of Chinese children shows a more gradual decline (Miller, Smith, & Zhu, 1995)

Obviously, a very simple concept to understand and comprehend. But there are way more interesting concepts out there in language and culture variance. Especially when one culture/language has a word/phrase for a concept that another language doesn't.


Local time
Today, 10:17
Nov 16, 2013
You should learn a dying language. A minority language. Become an expert, write a grammar book, keep it alive. Human experience is encapsulated in language so if languages die, then we lose wisdom/information.


Local time
Today, 12:17
Nov 21, 2013
someplace windswept
You can ask yourself, what is interesting? If you already study arabic then this choice is fine.

If you decide to study another language you might look for languages of other parts of the world.

Chinese has great potential for worldwide domination beautiful in speech and fascinating to study the writing


you are meh
Local time
Today, 11:17
May 31, 2013
In my room but I go out sometimes if there's coffe
Try greek. It's a tough language to learn but I find it very amusing that there is no painfully obvious similarity between english words and greek ones but there is a subtle one that makes you feel like a genius when you find it. Great linguistics practice. Good for the brain too, I guess. Also has a neat alphabet.
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