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View Poll Results: Which language to learn?
Italian 9 24.32%
French 20 54.05%
Russian 6 16.22%
Japanese 0 0%
Other 9 24.32%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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  #21  
Old 06.11.2012, 14:27
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Re: Which language to learn?

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Really? Which world? Are you seriously suggesting French is more widely spoken than Spanish? French is an important european language but not really a world language.
... if you don't count West Africa, North Africa, Vietnam, Lebanon, Quebec, Louisiana, Kerguelen...
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  #22  
Old 06.11.2012, 14:47
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Re: Which language to learn?

Ultimately, the decision to learn a particular language is entirely personal. For me, living in eastern Switzerland, often visiting Cyprus and occasionally popping over to the Welschland, German, Greek and French are the most useful languages. If I worked on a building site, I might learn Portuguese. If I spent a lot of time in the Middle East, I'd have a go at Arabic. Apart from English, which is enjoying a period of global importance which may or may not last, there is no clear and obvious choice of an additional language to learn without knowing the reasons behind the choice.

Do not be led to false conclusions based on how "widely" spoken a language is. Chinese has the most native speakers, but isn't a lot of use outside of Asia at the moment. Spanish, likewise, is spoken by several hundred million people, but isn't widely spoken outside of South and Central America (with a few exceptions here and there). Portuguese, Albanian and Serbian/Croatian are widely spoken in Switzerland, but almost every speaker of those languages also speaks German or French.

In terms of use by non-native speakers across the world, French is still the runner up after English. There are obvious exceptions wherever you go, but if you're trying to buy a fake antique in a market in Beirut or Jakarta or Mombasa or Helsinki the chances are that somebody amongst the jabbering masses will speak either English or French. Of course, Arabic or Bahasa-Indonesia or Swahili or Finnish would be more use in each specific situation, but as general lingua-francas go, you can't beat English and French.

For an English speaker in Switzerland who is already confident with German, French is ideal as an additional 'general' tongue. Romansch is better for people who live in the Graubunden, and Italian is better for those who live in Ticino, but if you're looking for a language that's going to help in most situations around the country, French fits the bill. There can't be many people in Switzerland who don't speak a word of German, French or English, even down in the dangly pizza-eating bit.

That's why I'd learn French in the OP's shoes. For everyone else, votre mileage may vary.
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  #23  
Old 06.11.2012, 14:53
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Re: Which language to learn?

I would choose French for the reasons DB outlined above. Italian may also be a good option if you think you might spend some time there.
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  #24  
Old 06.11.2012, 17:26
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Re: Which language to learn?

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By what metric?
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Really? Which world? Are you seriously suggesting French is more widely spoken than Spanish? French is an important european language but not really a world language.
I am suggesting that English and French are to be found in every airport, every Embassy and in many multi national companies.

Job wise at present the Russians and Chinese are probably learning English and French before they bother with Italian, Spanish or Portugese. Half the world speaks English and French! Spanish and Portugese are predominent in South America, but in Africa and Asia, English and French are dominant.
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  #25  
Old 06.11.2012, 19:32
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Re: Which language to learn?

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I am suggesting that English and French are to be found in every airport, every Embassy and in many multi national companies.

Job wise at present the Russians and Chinese are probably learning English and French before they bother with Italian, Spanish or Portugese. Half the world speaks English and French! Spanish and Portugese are predominent in South America, but in Africa and Asia, English and French are dominant.
Chinese are learning portugese and not just because of Macao. French is losing ground, spanish is gaining ground. Even one of the senior French politicians said recently that business was done in English and they should get over it.
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  #26  
Old 06.11.2012, 19:35
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Re: Which language to learn?

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... if you don't count West Africa, North Africa, Vietnam, Lebanon, Quebec, Louisiana, Kerguelen...
Of course, now compare that with the countries where spanish/portugese is spoken. How could I have missed Kerguelen ...

French is losing ground, Spanish is gainng ground, even the useless UK schooling system has acknowledged that.
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  #27  
Old 06.11.2012, 21:54
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Re: Which language to learn?

Looks like French is in the lead in the poll.

French in my mind seems a bit boring though, everyone learns it (I learnt it at school and can't speak a word now). Italian seems much more fun. Maybe I should learn both, Italy is an hour away by cable car/skis & French Valais about the same by car... though I make the trip to Cervina much more often.

Also the benefit of Italian is that no one in my family or my fiance's family speak Italian, a few are fluent in German, Swiss German, French & Spanish... so I would be the best at something
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  #28  
Old 11.11.2012, 23:33
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Re: Which language to learn?

If you live in Switzerland, then you may need French, after German and English. Greetings.
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  #29  
Old 12.11.2012, 00:38
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Re: Which language to learn?

I picked Italian, as the OP said that he/she wanted a language with simpler grammar than Deutsch and the language is an official in CH; French grammar is more difficult than German I find (Although I speak French much better than German) Italian, while having similarities with French, has simpler grammar I think.
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  #30  
Old 12.11.2012, 00:43
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Re: Which language to learn?

I never learned Italian but probably you're right. French is not so easy :-) And Italian is for sure also very useful in Switzerland. Good luck! :-)
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  #31  
Old 12.11.2012, 01:05
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Re: Which language to learn?

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I picked Italian, as the OP said that he/she wanted a language with simpler grammar than Deutsch and the language is an official in CH; French grammar is more difficult than German I find (Although I speak French much better than German) Italian, while having similarities with French, has simpler grammar I think.
Wouldn't be so sure about that


However, Italian is a good choice not only for the fact that it's one of the National languages, but also for having a one-to-one correspondence between orthography and pronunciation (alongside Spanish and Arabic e.g., but on the contrary to English and French), it's one of Europe's big languages (i.e. spoken by many persons), it's nice and - last but not least - you find tons of didactic material.

Being much closer to Latin, any other Romance language becomes an easier game by already knowing Italian. One cannot say the same if the base is French, e.g.
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  #32  
Old 12.11.2012, 02:02
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Re: Which language to learn?

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Wouldn't be so sure about that


However, Italian is a good choice not only for the fact that it's one of the National languages, but also for having a one-to-one correspondence between orthography and pronunciation (alongside Spanish and Arabic e.g., but on the contrary to English and French), it's one of Europe's big languages (i.e. spoken by many persons), it's nice and - last but not least - you find tons of didactic material.

Being much closer to Latin, any other Romance language becomes an easier game by already knowing Italian. One cannot say the same if the base is French, e.g.
Italian has less tenses and simpler word order rules compared to French I think ?

French (langue d'oïl) is l'enfant terrible of the Romance languages...I agree, knowing French alone doesn't help a whole lot in learning another Romance language; if you know French and have learned Spanish, then it becomes easier to read the other Romance languages.

I don't know why langue d'oïl developed on such a different path from the other Romance Languages, maybe due to geo-proximity the northern French had to the Dutch, just guessing here?
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  #33  
Old 12.11.2012, 02:23
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Re: Which language to learn?

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Italian has less tenses ...
...
Not really. Anyway, more than German, e.g.


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...
... and simpler word order rules compared to French I think ?
...
Might be, yes.


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...
... French (langue d'oïl) is l'enfant terrible of the Romance languages...
...
I don't know why langue d'oïl developed on such a different path from the other Romance Languages, ...
...


I think it's Troppi cuochi guastano la cucina.

Too many persons up from Richelieu touched it.
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  #34  
Old 12.11.2012, 02:39
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Re: Which language to learn?

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Not really. Anyway, more than German, e.g.
Ok, ya...German only have six tenses I think; Italian has a least double that...
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  #35  
Old 12.11.2012, 21:25
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Re: Which language to learn?

In terms of grammar I found Italian and French to be very similar. Italian is definitely easier to pronounce.

I've heard Russian is a hard language to learn, but I don't have any personal experience with it.

Since you're in the canton of Valais (Wallis) I would suggest French.
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  #36  
Old 23.11.2012, 05:31
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Re: Which language to learn?

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Of course, now compare that with the countries where spanish/portugese is spoken. How could I have missed Kerguelen ...

French is losing ground, Spanish is gainng ground, even the useless UK schooling system has acknowledged that.
This made me laugh!
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  #37  
Old 23.11.2012, 09:42
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Re: Which language to learn?

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... if you don't count West Africa, North Africa, Vietnam, Lebanon, Quebec, Louisiana, Kerguelen...
I have not met anyone speaking French in Vietnam who was younger than 65 - they are learning English.
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  #38  
Old 23.11.2012, 09:56
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Re: Which language to learn?

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I have not met anyone speaking French in Vietnam who was younger than 65 - they are learning English.
... as opposed to Spanish.
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  #39  
Old 23.11.2012, 10:14
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Re: Which language to learn?

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I have not met anyone speaking French in Vietnam who was younger than 65 - they are learning English.
Oh, they CAN, it's just that they WON'T, as they detest the French.

Tom
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  #40  
Old 23.11.2012, 16:23
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Re: Which language to learn?

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Oh, they CAN, it's just that they WON'T, as they detest the French.

Tom
Who does not... so why learn French again?

On the "every embassy and every airport" - no. Simple as that. Maybe in Europe and the parts of Africa and Canada I am least interested in, but the rest of the world does not really care. I know the French will not agree, but their empire simply is no more... similar to the British one. People all over the world do not learn English because of the UK, but solely the US. Simply accept it.

Last week I flew on United from Singapore to HK. They did have their info in German, but not in French. I remember because I was wondering how many people on the plane on this route would possibly be able to read it... and why on earth they first showed it in German after English, followed by Japanese and Korean to only then finally get to Chinese...

There is nothing wrong with learning French, I did so as well at school. But pretending that it still is the world language it once was is simply too backwards, even for Swiss standards.
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