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s1wspartan

Help Me....what do i do?

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Hello world...Ok this is another 'which language should i learn'....sorry. But it's a little different situation.

 

I'm trying to hurry up and finish my transfer degree and go to a 4-yr institution to get my bachelor's. A couple schools I talked to one of the requirements is 2 semesters of a foreign language.

That threw a curveball in my schedule plan. So this upcoming semester I need to take a foreign language so I can meet that requirement by next fall semester and transfer. So now its late into registration. The school offers Spanish, French, German and Japanese. I had planned to take Spanish first choice, then French. But hesitated because they only offer total online class. I don't want to do a 100% online class for my first language course. Seems crazy thats all they have, really just kind a crappy. Anyway, so I have to choose between German and Japanese now, because the Spanish and French classes are all full.

I took German 20 years ago, so don't know it, but my only foreign language class exposure. Really my first choice I want to learn Latin, but that's not an option. I tried Mandarin on my own for a while. I have a goal to learn Mandarin eventually. The German instructor is supposed to be really good, I know the Japanese instructor and she is yawesome. But I'm afraid taking Japanese, would not help at all if I want to learn Mandarin. Especially if less than a year later I'm at a 4-yr school and taking Mandarin classes. 

If I had to pick between living in Germany or Japan, I think I would pick Germany. Nothing against Japan, but mainly the cost of living is so insane there.

So...I really need any advice should I take German or Japanese...or do I just take a hit and wait for Spanish next semester. The ripple effect will be either I end up in community college and extra semester and transfer a semester later, or end up having to transfer to a school that isn't requiring two semesters of language.

Good:

German - Have a tiny bit of exposure from a long time ago, there is a German town nearby where I live (Frankenmuth, MI) like a little bavaria lots of German speakers there, Germany or Austria or Switzerland would be countries I would like to live

Japanese - The instructor is great, know I would get a good grade in the class, might be more pragmatic for the international business world than German, might help if I want to go on to Mandarin soon (???)

Bad

German - Will it really be much use outside of the couple of German speaking countries ?, is it a poor choice for my first second language?

Japanese - Will it just be a waste of time and have to brain dump it when I start learning Mandarin? Does it make much sense to learn if I don't have big plans to spend time in Japan someday? Is Japan even affordable if I wanted to live there? Or is it a pipe dream like saying you want to move to San Fran area, it's only $4k a month for a 1-bd

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9 hours ago, s1wspartan said:

Hello world...Ok this is another 'which language should i learn'....sorry. But it's a little different situation.

 

I'm trying to hurry up and finish my transfer degree and go to a 4-yr institution to get my bachelor's. A couple schools I talked to one of the requirements is 2 semesters of a foreign language.

That threw a curveball in my schedule plan. So this upcoming semester I need to take a foreign language so I can meet that requirement by next fall semester and transfer. So now its late into registration. The school offers Spanish, French, German and Japanese. I had planned to take Spanish first choice, then French. But hesitated because they only offer total online class. I don't want to do a 100% online class for my first language course. Seems crazy thats all they have, really just kind a crappy. Anyway, so I have to choose between German and Japanese now, because the Spanish and French classes are all full.

I took German 20 years ago, so don't know it, but my only foreign language class exposure. Really my first choice I want to learn Latin, but that's not an option. I tried Mandarin on my own for a while. I have a goal to learn Mandarin eventually. The German instructor is supposed to be really good, I know the Japanese instructor and she is yawesome. But I'm afraid taking Japanese, would not help at all if I want to learn Mandarin. Especially if less than a year later I'm at a 4-yr school and taking Mandarin classes. 

If I had to pick between living in Germany or Japan, I think I would pick Germany. Nothing against Japan, but mainly the cost of living is so insane there.

So...I really need any advice should I take German or Japanese...or do I just take a hit and wait for Spanish next semester. The ripple effect will be either I end up in community college and extra semester and transfer a semester later, or end up having to transfer to a school that isn't requiring two semesters of language.

Good:

German - Have a tiny bit of exposure from a long time ago, there is a German town nearby where I live (Frankenmuth, MI) like a little bavaria lots of German speakers there, Germany or Austria or Switzerland would be countries I would like to live

Japanese - The instructor is great, know I would get a good grade in the class, might be more pragmatic for the international business world than German, might help if I want to go on to Mandarin soon (???)

Bad

German - Will it really be much use outside of the couple of German speaking countries ?, is it a poor choice for my first second language?

Japanese - Will it just be a waste of time and have to brain dump it when I start learning Mandarin? Does it make much sense to learn if I don't have big plans to spend time in Japan someday? Is Japan even affordable if I wanted to live there? Or is it a pipe dream like saying you want to move to San Fran area, it's only $4k a month for a 1-bd

Hey there. And warm welcome to linguaholic!

 

Not easy to give you some recommendations here but I will try. After reading your post, this is what came to my mind:

 

German: 

As your native language is English, studying German will definitely not be that difficult. You will already know lots of words because English and German obviously share lots of Cognates. German grammar is somewhat difficult and definitely more difficult than English Grammar. But still, nothing too crazy, there. 

 

Japanese:

Japanese is definitely a very interesting language to learn. And in your case, as your goal is to move to Chinese later on, I can tell you the following:

As far as speaking goes, studying Japanese will NOT be of any help to learn/understand Chinese later on. Well, there are Chinese pronunciations of Japanese words but to be honest, those are not even that close and unless you are very advanced in Japanese, you probably won't even hear the similarity. Moreover, Japanese is not a tonal language and Japanese and Chinese are after all NOT related etymologically. 

However, as far as Kanji go, those will definitely help you to master Chinese later on...as guess what, Kanji are almost all derived from Chinese. However, there is one problem: The Kanjis used in Japanese are still in the traditional form (= traditional Chinese characters). So that means that you would learn the complex versions of the Chinese characters, which are now only used in Hong Kong and in Taiwan. On the mainland, people use simplified Chinese characters, these days. That is not a big problem but definitely something you should be aware of. 

In terms of Grammar, studying Japanese won't be of any help either. 

 

To wrap things up, I would just like to say: I think it is always best to study the language that you have some passion for. If you don't have any passion or at least strong motivation to learn a language, chances are that you will never get anywhere. This especially holds true for a language as"exotic" as Japanese or Chinese. Learning these languages will take you YEARS and it is just simply not something you can do half-heartedly. 

If you just feel "forced" that you have to do one of those two at the moment (German or Japanese), studying German will definitely be the easier choice for you. If you go with Japanese, you will be able to pick up some Kanjis that can be very useful for your later studies in Chinese, though.

Those are my thoughts about your question. I could go on for another half an hour, I think. But it's probably better to stop here for now. If you do have some specific questions about either German or Chinese (German is my native language and I studied Chinese for many years), feel free to ask.

Best,

L

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L, thank you for the reply, it is very good and helpful! And thanks for the welcome!

I'm totally with you about starting with a language I have a passion for. I have a passion for wanting to learn another language I suppose most of all. But no German or Japanese wouldn't be my first choices. But I do need to get two semesters of language under my belt for school. Once I'm at university then I will have more options. My first language choices I guess have a 'passion' for are Chinese and Latin. Spanish was a top choice mainly because it would be most pragmatic. Living in the Southern U.S. lots of hispanics, and I for some reason always seem to get along with hispanics really well so speaking Spanish would be nice. If I ever ran away from the U.S. idk, LOVE Europe, Love Germany, but most likely I would go somewhere warm, like South America or Africa. Also, have always dreamed of maybe living in Africa someday. I have had quite a few African friends over the years. 

Whoa, yeah I'm all over the place. I don't really expect Japanese will 'help' if I want to learn Chinese soon after. I'm more concerned if Japanese will kind of interfere or make it a little more difficult. Like when I start focusing on learning Mandarin, all the Japanese will go out the window, but with German it wouldn't....if that makes sense.

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Welp....thanks for the feedback. Change 5000, I ended up getting into the Spanish class. Someone dropped it and timed it just right and got the open seat.

Spanish isn't my first desire to learn for my first second language. But it will by far be the most useful for me. I will be living in the south in the US, tons of hispanics down here. And most don't speak English. So it will be very useful. Plus if I ever move abroad, I think I may be ending up in South America or Africa, since I can't do well with the cold weather anymore...LOL!

Though I would love to live abroad in Europe someday. No offense, but Europe just seems so much better and advanced than the rest of the world.

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