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Next Language?

Hi everyone! First time posting a discussion on here so sorry if the formatting is wrong.

I know my Duolingo doesn't reflect it very well, but I speak English and am very good at Spanish (I'm going to Spain for 6 weeks this summer on an immersion trip)

I'm thinking about going into Linguistics for College but I'm trying to decide which language to start learning when I come back from Spain. I've heard Mandarin or really any Asian language would be a good choice. Any suggestions?

Thanks a bunch!

April 8, 2017



I'm not quite sure what you're asking... What language would benefit you the most?

If that's the case, probably Mandarin. It does have the most speakers, after all. Mandarin is known to be difficult so here are some other (very popular) languages: Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian Japanese.

If you're asking the community what language they would suggest for you, I would say (in my personal opinion) Vietnamese. Vietnam is a beautiful country, and, well, Trang explains it better ^.^ https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6292283 and https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6993236

Languages that are similar to Spanish are: Catalan, Italian (I've heard Italian is very, very similar), Portuguese, French & Romanian.

But, all-in-all, What language do YOU want to learn? :)


Mandarin is really only useful in Asia. It does have a lot of speakers, but they're concentrated in China, so unless you're going there or really like the language, there's not much of a reason to learn it.


Chinatown(s), China, and Chinese learners are becoming more dominant in the world. It's very different culture worth learning about.

But, the most culturally diverse and easiest option is Esperanto.


I would suggest Esperanto as a second language, but maybe not as a third. If Nicholas (OP) already speaks English and Spanish, then I really do think French or Italian would be the next best choice.


That only covers European parts and similar culture. Missing on whole Asia, Africa and East/Central EU.

Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “ limits of my language mean limits of my world. When we learn to speak different language, we learn to see bigger world. It can effectively manage higher cognitive processes, such as problem-solving, memory, and thought.


Thanks for the help! I've heard the job market in Vietnam is very big for English teachers there. Might be something to look into.


I would Recommend Chinese, they will be the leaders on the Future.


A trip! Interesting!

For your next language, do what you think is interesting and useful. Yeah, I know it sounds pretty obvious.

I am Dutch and speak and write English fairly well. Now I'm studying German. I used to learn it while I was in school, but I dropped the subject. I tried learning French (not via Duolingo but another site) but it was pretty boring since it was only listening to crappy audio files.

I chose German because I was going on a school trip to Germany and wanted to learn something new. I decided to go with a new language, give learning a third language another shot! After german, I'm going to go with French because it is pretty useful.

Decide what is the most important to you. Do you want to learn it for personal reasons? Do you have friends which speak another language for example? Do you want to learn it because it is useful? Maybe you're just interested in the language?


Thanks for the tips! Yeah, I definitely need to find a language I enjoy because if I hate it, I will end up not practicing it.


Well I have a few suggestions. I'd say one of the official languages of the UN are a good choice. Those would be French, Russian, Arabic, Chinese (most likely Mandarin). The other two are Spanish and English, but it's obvious that those aren't options. I also suggest some of the languages of the BRICS countries. These are countries that will go on to be great economic powers. They are Brazil (Portuguese), Russia (Russian), India (Hindi or any of its many other languages), China (Mandarin), and South Africa (I think this is part of the group, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I think the language would be Afrikaans). I don't suggest any Chinese. It may be helpful, but it's not spoken much outside of China. Indian languages are the same way. Plus Mandarin may take a long time. I guess it depends on you. I hope this is helpful and not just long useless information.


Yeah, looking at things that are more politically powerful is smart like an official language of the UN. Do you think it's safe to start learning Russian again? (I'm talking about the influx of Russian translators that were unemployed after the cold war. Has that started to die out?) Thanks for the response!


Well I'm glad you've taken notice of Russian, since it is a wonderful language. I'd say it's safe to start learning again, but I can't say for sure. I think the need for them might be increasing due to Russia's rising role in world politics. I'm not 100% positive though. I do know for sure that jobs for Arabic translators skyrocketed after 9/11, so that language might have a brighter future. I don't know too much about translating jobs, but I think Russian is a good language to learn. Hope this helps!


The most unconditionally useful languages are probably English and Spanish, which you're already proficient in. The third is probably French, followed by Arabic.

If you don't want to do those two, I suggest trying the first few lessons of each course on Duolingo and seeing which one you like most.


French and Arabic both were actually on my radar. French would be nice because it's another romance language so the grammar shouldn't be too bad. Arabic is something that's always been interesting to me so that might be a smart route to take. Thanks!


French is in the same language family (Indo-European) as English and the same sub-family as Spanish (Romance), but Arabic is in a different family entirely (Semitic), not to mention has a different writing system, and isn't currently offered on Duolingo (nor a lot of other place), so I would suggest French.

Anyway, you're welcome. :)


I'll give you two suggestions, The first one is German, the second one is Esperanto.

Reasons to learn German- -It is the most spoken language of Europe -It is a major language of international relations and business -And, it can introduce you to many features present in languages that are not present in either spanish or english, like three genders, and 4 cases. (this one might interest you cause you said that you were into linguistics)

Reasons to Learn Esperanto- -It is an easy language to learn (not that one should just learn a language because it its easy) -There are around 2 million speakers of the language spread across over 100 countries. -And if you learn it, you can join Tejo (the international esperanto youth organization), and get access to cool services like Pasporta servo, which is a service where you can stay with a esperanto host family in another country, as opposed to paying for a hotel.


That's really cool, I've never really thought about Esperanto but it might be a very useful language in the near future.


Also the most friendly/respectful and keen to communicate.


This is a question that gets asked a lot. The answer really depends on your own interests and motivations.

You should definitely choose a language that "calls" to you -- meaning a language/culture that strikes you as interesting. Don't worry so much about how "big" the language is or how many people speak it; in this age of the internet, you can always find people who speak your target languages.

A few things to think about:

(a) Are you looking for a completely different language than what you know so far, or are would you prefer to take a more incremental step? Having learned Spanish, you will find Italian, Portuguese or French relatively easy, and these are all very popular and useful languages. If you want something in the same genre but bit more exotic, you have Romanian (which is also Latin-derived). You also could branch out into the Germanic languages (like German, Dutch, or the Scandinavian languages), which are relatively close to English. Of the Germanic languages, German is certainly the most "useful", but also probably the most challenging.

(b) How comfortable are you with working with a different writing system, especially one which uses symbols rather than letters. To be functionally literate in Chinese or Japanese, you need to know 5000 or 2000 ideographs, respectively. Learning to read or write these languages requires a major investment of time.

(c) You may want to take a few minutes to just look at or listen to your candidate languages -- which ones are pleasing to your eyes and ears? I have long wanted to learn Burmese since I find it one of the most beautiful languages I have ever laid eyes on. On the other hand, one other major Asian language (which I won't identify) sounds, to my ears, like a shooting gallery and I quickly gave up trying to learn it.

Good luck!


I would recommend German, Irish or French. They aren't Asian, but I've done French and I'm part Irish and part German, so I know that those languages are fun to hear and to know and learn.

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