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Thread: The British and Foreign languages

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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default The British and Foreign languages

    In a few weeks time I shall be off to Francophone Switzerland for my holidays, and have been booking mountain huts etc. Although the Swiss (in marked contrast to another french speaking nation we could mention) seem to be very tolerant of my french (which is very much of the "Je voudrais une chambre" and "ou se trouve la plage" variety) I have once again been forced to confront my lack of foreign languages.

    Which is notoriously a national failing.

    But, I was thinking as I looked for my old French text books (Le Francais de aujourd'hui, which should of course now be Le Francais de il y a vingt ans) maybe one trouible is which language to learn? Last year I was in Norway, the year before in Spain (digressing, I remember just enough spanish from school to confuse my french) and so on. Once I was in Poland and lets face it Polish isn't going to be top of anyones list.

    What I am saying is, if you speak English, and live in Europe, there isn't a very obvious second choice. In Uk schools people tend to get taught french but i don't know if there is any very good reason for it, as opposed to, say, Italian or Spanish or German.

    So, I was wondering, what do people think is the most useful second language to learn in Europe and why? Personally if we were starting from scratch I would not bother with French (which the French will always pretend you can't speak anyway) and, provided its not too difficult, put everyone onto German.
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    Senior member Senior Member Dutch_guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    well German is good, but It's hard to learn from scratch.
    however if you have experience with latin then german grammer would be a little easier.
    But Spanish is also a good language to learn, since a lot of countries use that language, good for backpakking trips ;)
    And a lot of people in the world use the language, that's not true with German.

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    Clan Clan InsaneApache's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    I agree, I'd go for Spanish....closely followed by Portuguese. After all they are also an 'international' language, much like English.
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    The Sword of Rome Member Marcellus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Quote Originally Posted by English assassin
    So, I was wondering, what do people think is the most useful second language to learn in Europe and why?
    English

    But for native English speakers (i.e. the British), I would say any of French, German, Spanish and Italian, because these are the languages of the places Britons seem most likely to visit. They are also quite 'international' languages, so are useful in that respect too.
    "Look Ive got my old pledge card a bit battered and crumpled we said wed provide more turches churches teachers and we have I can remember when people used to say the Japanese are better than us the Germans are better than us the French are better than us well its great to be able to say were better than them I think Mr Kennedy well we all congratulate on his baby and the Tories are you remembering what Im remembering boom and bust negative equity remember Mr Howard I mean are you thinking what Im thinking Im remembering its all a bit wonky isnt it?"

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    Slapshooter Senior Member el_slapper's Avatar
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    Default Re : The British and Foreign languages

    Remember that Blair won the olympics for London.....speaking in French . Now you know what the ultimate choice is .
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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    As a second language, it's hard to tell.....

    I study French, but I hate it...
    I studied German, I liked it but I went to another school....
    I studied Japanese, the teacher got a job and I left Japanese( I liked the Japanese language )

    I wanna study German and Italian. And possibly Spanish or Portuguese....
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 07-11-2005 at 15:08.
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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    portuguese is cool but the native speakers speak it so fast i cant keep up with it. same for french and italian. prolly leftovers from rome cuz the had no spaces i think.

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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Latin is useful in the Western countries of Europe, as it is the root of Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian. HOwever, unless you go to the Vatican, you won't find it very useful in talking to people.
    P.S Where are you going in Switzerland, EA?
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    Viceroy of the Indian Empire Member Duke Malcolm's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    hmmm... you could always learn Scots, incase you wish to hazard a trip north of the border. A Briton should never need a foreign language. Foreigners should always speak English, and if they do not, then it is entirely their fault. We didn't have to Empire for nothing, you know.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    England doesn't need a second language, english is the most common language in the world. If you have to have a second language I would pick german or chinese.

  11. #11
    Lord of the House Flies Member Al Khalifah's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Choose Arabic and you are pretty much guarenteed a job if you speak English too.
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    Chieftain of the Pudding Race Member Evil_Maniac From Mars's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    German has the largest economy in Europe, so that is a good language to learn (yes, I'm biased, so what). Another good one would be Spanish, maybe Italian?

  13. #13
    Time Lord Member The_Doctor's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Learn Welsh, just in case you end up in the middle of Wales and nobody speaks English.

  14. #14
    Medival Auctoriso Member Member TheSilverKnight's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Spanish. Reason being it's spoken not only in Europe, but a few countries in Asia, and all of Latin America except Brazil.
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    The Sword of Rome Member Marcellus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Martinus
    Learn Welsh, just in case you end up in the middle of Wales and nobody speaks English.
    Are there still people in Wales who still don't speak English? Because I thought they died out years ago
    "Look Ive got my old pledge card a bit battered and crumpled we said wed provide more turches churches teachers and we have I can remember when people used to say the Japanese are better than us the Germans are better than us the French are better than us well its great to be able to say were better than them I think Mr Kennedy well we all congratulate on his baby and the Tories are you remembering what Im remembering boom and bust negative equity remember Mr Howard I mean are you thinking what Im thinking Im remembering its all a bit wonky isnt it?"

    -Wise words from John Prescott

  16. #16
    Viceroy of the Indian Empire Member Duke Malcolm's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    No, no, that's Scots Gaelic you're thinking of. The Welsh Group-of-people-who-try-and-run-things-but-have-no-power are quite good at restoring the language, unlike the Scottish Executive, which seems remarkably good at lowering the numbers of Gaelic speakers, despite its desperate attempts...
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Welsh? yeah, right... I can't really understand why even the Welsh learn Weslh. I mean, I am all in favour of pride in your culture etc but come on, in the schiools wouldn't it serve the kids much better to teach them a nore useful language? Like, say, Swedish?

    They can learn Welsh at home if they like.

    P.S Where are you going in Switzerland, EA?
    Les Dent du Midi, and Lausanne. Looks cracking. Plenty of mountains, and trains that run on time. Brilliant.
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    Spanish, cos it's used outside of Europe (more than any other European language too).

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    Member Member Del Arroyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: The British and Foreign languages

    I would say that if you were prioritizing (that's right, spelled with a 'z', just like it sounds!), German would be pretty much out, as the Germans by and large seem to speak pretty damned good English.

    DA

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