by Presidio of Monterey: DLIFLC & USAG

Determining what language to learn is a daunting task that can often result in massive confusion. With so many different options, narrowing your choices down to one language is an intimidating decision. To master a language it takes many months of dedication, and in order to truly learn a foreign tongue the student must be passionate about the language. When deciding which language to learn, it is important to consider several factors including your own goals for learning the language, the difficulty of the language, and how this language will help you learn languages in the future.

A student’s personal goals play a very large factor in determining which language he or she should learn. If someone is looking to learn a language for aesthetic purposes, he or she may choose to focus on notoriously beautiful dialects such as French, Italian, or Portuguese. If a student wants to learn a foreign tongue in order to view the works of his or her favorite philosopher or writer in their native language, the student will need to choose the language in which the original works are written. If a student strives to learn a classical language to enhance their scholastic appeal, he or she may want to focus on a language such as Ancient Greek, Arabic, Classic Hebrew, or Farsi.

Some students may also want to learn a language to provide them with an opportunity to visit a foreign land and have the ability to communicate with the natives. In this situation, a student will need to determine the location he or she would want to visit by examining his or her interests and finding out which countries could provide the vacation the student dreams of. For instance, if a student desires a vacation to a tropical island in the Pacific, Indonesian is a much easier language to learn than Thai. People may also want to learn a language so they can have the ability to create business opportunities with other countries. The most beneficial language a person can learn for business strongly depends on their chosen industry. For engineering, German or Chinese would be a very beneficial language. If someone would like the opportunity to make huge profits through selling products made overseas, Hindi or Korean may be the best option. If someone aspires to enter the international scrap metal industry, Russian or Arabic may be a useful language to know. People learn different dialects for a variety of different reasons. Determining what someone wants to take from a language is the only way to determine which language he or she should dedicate the time to learning.

If a student aspires to learn multiple languages, it makes sense to learn the strategically in a way that will ease the student into new languages. For instance, for native English speakers, German and Swedish are considered to be some of the easier languages. For someone looking to master the Romantic languages, Spanish is generally a good start, and from there Portuguese is a very easy transition. After mastering these languages, Italian will be relatively simple and from there French will be an easy transition. Learning multiple languages is not the daunting task it may appear, it just requires strategy.

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