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Spanish Or German: Which Language Should I Learn?  
User currently offlinejetblue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1456 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18715 times:

I'm already multi-lingual and I want to learn more language(s)

I narrowed it down to Spanish and German. I heard German is the easiest language to learn if you are a native English speaker but then I'm also fluent in Filipino which is sorta-Spanish like with a lot words derived from Spanish and I have a good Spanish accent when I talk. What language is more useful in real life? When I apply for jobs? I live in New York which Spanish is basically the secondary language, so Spanish or German?

I also thought of learning French but I cant even pronounce Bonjour right! 


It's a cultural thing.
51 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1597 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18705 times:

German. I took 1 year of Spanish in HS then 2 of German. I should have taken 3 years of German but my German grandparents said I wouldn't learn anything, one of the only times they steered me wrong lol I really enjoyed learning it and need to brush up on it some, maybe take more classes on it.

I also heard that German is one of the major business languages on the world, whatever that may mean, but a lot of companies do business there.



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7957 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18703 times:

Spanish.
It's easier to learn and more useful in any case.

German only if you (want to) study history and are interested in our, well: troubled history and want to read the original historic documents.

Edit:

Quoting tb727 (Reply 1):
I also heard that German is one of the major business languages on the world, whatever that may mean, but a lot of companies do business there.

Even if: Changes are that they speak English.

[Edited 2011-01-10 19:22:12]


I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25376 posts, RR: 49
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18703 times:

Spanish amigo.

Not much use for German in the US, and even in Germany many are very conversant in English.

Spanish as you said is the secondary language of the US, and will only continue to grow in importance.
Having Spanish under your belt can make you more attractive to employers and also might help in your personal life. (speaking Spanish here in LA can be very helpful in all types of situations, so I'd guess its about the same in NYC).



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3298 posts, RR: 44
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18697 times:

Chock up another vote for Español.

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineFly2hmo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18696 times:

Spanish by far, as much as I am interested in learning German. I am 100% bilingual English/Spanish and it is definitely very useful. Just think about it, pretty much everywhere important south of the US border has Spanish as an official language, Brazil being the major exception. Also, though this will only come once you reach advanced fluency, if you understand Spanish you can easily understand Portuguese and Italian, and to a lesser extent, French. I've come across Italians and Brazilians many times and I have a much much easier and enjoyable time communicating with them in Spanish than if I would in English.

User currently offlinestratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1653 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18688 times:

Spanish will help you more in this country now than German ever would. I took German for 4 years in HS and wish I had taken Spanish instead.


NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlinejetblue777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 1456 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18677 times:

Thanks for all your replies!

I'll take Spanish then. I have to take three years Spanish in my high school and I already took two years of Spanish in Junior High, so might as well continue it. I'm thinking of getting Rosetta Stone, is it worth it? It's pretty expensive! $299 for one edition and $699 for the whole set, IIRC.



It's a cultural thing.
User currently offlineAeroflot001 From Argentina, joined Oct 2009, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18673 times:

Quoting jetblue777 (Reply 7):
I'm thinking of getting Rosetta Stone, is it worth it? It's pretty expensive! $299 for one edition and $699 for the whole set, IIRC.

Spanish is very useful in the United States more so than German especially in places like SoCal, MIA and NYC. Even though I was born here I speak th 2nd official Language of the US   very fluently and when I travel to Argentina people who dont know me are amazed at how naturally and well I speak the language. This is coming from someone who is currently studying German.

I also recommend Spanish because it shows a lot of effort and Spanish speaking people will appreciate it. In many LatAm countries I have heard people speak of Americans Negatively because they say that Americans dont try to learn anything about the culture before travelling to the country while they are working their butts off learning English. I certainly hope that this is a stereotype that can be changed.

Any questions let me know, I speak Argentine and Puerto Rican Spanish however Im stronger on my Argentine side

Saludos!


User currently offlinefridgmus From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1442 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 18640 times:
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Quoting Aeroflot001 (Reply 8):
Any questions let me know, I speak Argentine and Puerto Rican Spanish however I'm stronger on my Argentine side

Is there a big difference in both of those dialects?

Thanks,

F



The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
User currently offlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 3939 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 18634 times:

Spanish

Spanish is a world language. A language that is usefull in far more countries than German.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25376 posts, RR: 49
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 18617 times:

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 9):
Is there a big difference in both of those dialects?

Spanish dialects can be quite different, and often humorous. Pronunciation varies, and entire words or even meanings of the same words can differ between regions or countries.
Travel between countries or even regionally in larger nations and one should be able to pick up differences quite clearly. I believe even a non-Spanish speaker should be able to sense the differences in sound between many dialects.

Sometimes I actually go a bit crazy here in LA listening to what to me is often quite grammatically poor versions of Spanish used in Mexico or Central American with sometimes bizarre vocabulary including local Spanglish.

For the specific Argentinian vs Puerto Rican Spanish, my experience is Argentinian Spanish is closer to Castilian (central Spain) with maybe a twinge of Italian inclination, a higher quality Spanish, while Puerto Rican is very different with a casual yet bit brutish with definite Spanglish mixed in.

p.s.-hope I dont offend anyone. Was a little hard to come up with the words to best describe the feel of the languages to me.

[Edited 2011-01-10 22:49:16]


From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 18599 times:

I'm gonna take a crack at this one even before I read what everyone else advises !

Say you live in NYC, eh ? I think you just answered your own question; I'm sure there are a fair number of German speaking folks in NYC, but I don't think you need me too tell you that there a LOT of Spanish speakers ! So, being fluent, (or even "conversational) in Spanish is going to do you a lot more good.

And as for German being "easy" for English speakers to learn ? Someone wuz LYING to you ! Nothing easy about it !
( Unless you're a German...) ( I'll probably hear from a few after that ! )

Seriously..........if I were to make a concerted effort to learn another language, I'd study Italian. ( Even though Spanish would be 10 times more useful to me. ) I have a whole lot of friends in south Texas who are Americans by birth, but are Mexican by origin. Even though they all speak better English than I do, I would still love to be able to "chit-chat" with some of them in Spanish when we go to visit. I know a few words, but my mouth just won't cooperate ! Sure don't want to "murder" their language, just trying to "impress" !

What ever language you want to take up, the quickest, surest way, is to get "Rosetta Stone"; IT WORKS ! Isn't free, but it isn't all that expensive either.

As for Italian, that would be a great choice for living in NYC. But for me.........I just love the language; I love Italian names, but most of all, I love Opera ! ( at least Italian operas ) Especially if they were written by Verdi ; ( and all of Verdi's operas are written in.........what else.......Italian ! ) ! But that's just me...........you probably like Rock and Roll !
( so do I, to a limited extent )

Whatever you decide, good luck ! It's a great idea; being multi-lingual is a huge advantage for a lot of reasons, and living in NYC, it has the practical aspect also.

BTW...........keep us posted on how you are progressing.

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19706 posts, RR: 58
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 18594 times:

Let me throw a few facts at you:

1) The vast majority of German-speakers in the world speak English (IIRC, 1/2 of school in Germany is taught in English after 5th grade)
2) The vast majority of Spanish-speakers do not.
3) German is spoken in Germany and Austria.
4) Spanish is spoken on most of the South American continent and Spain, not to mention Equatorial Guinea. Not to mention anywhere north of 96 st. Not to mention all over the U.S. You DO want to be able to order from those really good taco trucks where they don't speak English, right? You DO want to be able to communicate with the maid at your hotel, right? She doesn't speak German.
5) German is *NOT* easy for English-speakers to learn. The grammar is hideous, they have run-on WORDS, and German is unpronounceable for humans.  
6) If you speak Tagalog, you can already count in Spanish.

Now, if you're gonna do business or live in Germany or study German literature then by all means learn German. But as a Spanish speaker, I use that language almost every day. I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I've wished I knew German.


User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2407 posts, RR: 24
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 18586 times:

I would prefer German as it is easier to pronnounce for me, and being Denmark's biggest export market, this makes sense. I already had it in school for about 4 years, but forgetting quickly because I'm not using it so much. I do however usually understand the context in a German text.

I would like to learn Spanish too though.


User currently offlineracko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4857 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18550 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 13):
3) German is spoken in Germany and Austria.

I agree that Swiss German can't be classified as German at all.   


User currently offlinehka098 From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 556 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 18546 times:

I think it depends where you are. If you are going to spend some time in Germany, then that is the obvious choice. I took Spanish and it has helped greatly in the U.S. and overseas.

User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3005 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 18532 times:

Another vote for Spanish. On the world scene, far more people speak it.

http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm

I'd point out specifically this table:

1. Mandarin Chinese (1.12 billion)
2. English (480 million)
3. Spanish (320 million)
4. Russian (285 million)
5. French (265 million)
6. Hindi/Urdu (250 million)
7. Arabic (221 million)
8. Portuguese (188 million)
9. Bengali (185 million)
10. Japanese (133 million)
11. German (109 million)

as total number of speakers, as first or second language. Given that most Mandarin speakers are in China (not one of EK's most prominent destinations!) and you already speak English, then Spanish would seem to be the next most useful, worldwide.

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineAustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1385 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 18522 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 13):
The grammar is hideous, they have run-on WORDS, and German is unpronounceable for humans.

Maybe I'll have to take you off my RU list after all . What is the problem with Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänskajüte?  

But for the OP, I'd go for Spanish as well. You'll have no problems in Germany, Austria or Switzerland with English while in Spain or Latin America there will be some. German is - contrary to what you've heard - rather difficult to learn and your benefits are lower as in learning Spanish.



WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
User currently offlineracko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4857 posts, RR: 20
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 18496 times:

Quoting signol (Reply 17):
11. German (109 million)

as total number of speakers, as first or second language.

That can't be correct, the number of native speakers alone has got to be around 100 million. This would mean that next to nobody speaks German as a secondary language, and that's not case in my experiences, especially not in Europe.


User currently offlineScooter01 From Norway, joined Nov 2006, 1204 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 18495 times:
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Quoting racko (Reply 15):
I agree that Swiss German can't be classified as German at all.

I can support that statement...

In the days of Microfiche readers, the BMW Canada Parts Departement used films that were produced in Switzerland, and a rear sidewindow (seitenscheibe) became a "sidewasher"

Scooter01   

[Edited 2011-01-11 06:15:36]


"We all have a girl and her name is nostalgia" - Hemingway
User currently offlineAeroflot001 From Argentina, joined Oct 2009, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 18495 times:

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 9):
Is there a big difference in both of those dialects?

Thanks,

F
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 11):
For the specific Argentinian vs Puerto Rican Spanish, my experience is Argentinian Spanish is closer to Castilian (central Spain) with maybe a twinge of Italian inclination, a higher quality Spanish, while Puerto Rican is very different with a casual yet bit brutish with definite Spanglish mixed in.

Yes, the differences are a world apart! The 2 accents/dialects are possibly the biggest contrasts in the language, many Spanish speakers I have spoken to often recognize my accent and they tell me that to them Argentine Spanish is in a class all in its own and that it sounds like we are speaking Spanish with an Italian accent. Puerto Rican Spanish and Caribbean Spanish in General (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba) is very different it seems almost kind of slang l, I dont know how to describe it, the best way to do it is to listen to it.

Here in MIA Spanish is mixed so I have a more neutral accent with a strong Argentine touch, I can force my Argentine accent out however If I try to force my PR accent out I sound like Im trying to imitate the Cubans . However whenever I go to PR after 4 days it just naturally comes out.

Now Spanish from Spain is really in a class all its own but I rarely hear it.

I hope all of this helps! Any questions feel free to ask!

Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 18):
But for the OP, I'd go for Spanish as well. You'll have no problems in Germany, Austria or Switzerland with English while in Spain or Latin America there will be some. German is - contrary to what you've heard - rather difficult to learn and your benefits are lower as in learning Spanish.

Absolutely agree with you! Your lucky that your a Native Speaker because Im taking it this year in School with a teacher that Just Started learning the language to boot (she spent a month in Munchen this summer to freshen up) Im gonna have to call it quits next year because me and the language just dont mix, I would do much better learning it by being in Deutschland or Osterreich but then everyone would want to practice their English with me and I would get nothing done 

I have to say that I really appreciate the effort that you guys make to learn English and English speakers should not take it for granted. The problem with many Americans is that they seem very closed off to learning Spanish or any language because they are only proudly speaking English and wont budge to learn something else, however I am starting to see a change which is great!

Aeroflot001


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 22, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 18481 times:
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I took Spanish in high school and what a waste of time that was. I have never lived anywhere that had a lot of Spanish speakers near where I lived. Metro Detroit has Spanish speakers, but they are in parts of town I don't visit.

I was told back in my high school days that I should learn Spanish. I should have learned German. I have had the oppertunity to speak German far more times in my life than I ever have Spanish.

Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 18):
You'll have no problems in Germany, Austria or Switzerland with English

I would disagree. The parts of Germany I have been in (eastern) don't seem to have a lot of English speakers. The young people may be different, but I usually am around people that are over 40 .

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 13):
You DO want to be able to communicate with the maid at your hotel, right?

I usually never see the maid... I have been to a lot of hotels recently that have maids from eastern European countries.

Quoting jetblue777 (Reply 7):
I'm thinking of getting Rosetta Stone, is it worth it?

I have the same question.... Anyone here use it?



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlinecybergus From Venezuela, joined Mar 2006, 508 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 18459 times:

Mi voto va para el Español!!!


Cheers



LAN Excellence in Flight
User currently offlineracko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4857 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 18459 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 22):
I would disagree. The parts of Germany I have been in (eastern) don't seem to have a lot of English speakers. The young people may be different, but I usually am around people that are over 40 .

You'll get by with Russian there.  


25 falstaff : Yes.... The friend that I stay with there doesn't speak English, but he is fairly good with Russian. He learned it when he was in school.
26 DucatiRacer : I have a Bachelor's Degree in German language and literature, and I would still advise you to learn Spanish. While German was fun as a major in colleg
27 sw733 : My vote is for German, but I am biased as a fluent German speaker. I also much, much prefer German culture to Spanish culture, meaning I am more likel
28 Post contains images NoUFO : I'll take that as a compliment.
29 Post contains images ajd1992 : Maybe it was difficult because you can't spell "was". (I joke, I joke) German is a Germanic Language, English is a Germanic language. They are very s
30 Venus6971 : I was taught by my grandparents to speak a Wisconsin dialect German and when I try to speak German to a German he says can we just speak english. My A
31 EA CO AS : Rosetta Stone is only helpful if you have absolutely no experience with the language whatsoever - those who have taken the language in school, even f
32 Post contains images fxramper : Are you learning for pleasure or to better chances in the business world? Your OP wasn't super clear. If it's to put on a resume to help earn employme
33 einsteinboricua : You already picked, but another vote for Spanish can't be bad. Consider it like Australian English and American English. Not only is there a differenc
34 Post contains images signol : Actually, English is a hybrid Germanic / Romance language. Blame the Saxons who arrived first, then the Normans who spoke French From an ease of lear
35 captaink : Well I dunno about Venezuela, but here in Mexico it means "to f**k", as in consensual sex. But you are correct, in Spain, and many other countries it
36 Post contains images iakobos : The written form is über phonetic, isn't it ? I lived in Germany in the 70's and at that time very few Germans understood English. Things have chang
37 LH459 : By now you've already decided, but I wanted to reinforce your decision. I am a fully bilingual German and English speaker. Spanish was the language I
38 Post contains images Derico : I already can write, speak and work in English. Ya puedo hablar, escribir y trabajar en Español. Che sho besto el Argentino y lo laburo, arre. Just g
39 Aeroflot001 : Yes you are right about that 100% in Argentina it is rarely used to pick up something or to grab something instead it means to pick up and grab someo
40 einsteinboricua : Not to mention that Spanish words (French and I believe Italian too...don't know if Portuguese and Romanian, the other Romance languages) have gender
41 Post contains images Quokka : Don't worry too much: neither can the French, as any Canadian can confirm. I guess the question is what you want to learn the language for. If it is
42 signol : True but I'm not sure they left much of a linguistic legacy. Yes - it may be a long word but it is said exactly how it is written. signol
43 Derico : Yes, but that's a problem English speakers would have with most languages from Europe, all which have gender of some sort. Spanish is very straightfo
44 Lufthansa411 : I am not going to tell you to take one or the other, both have their place. However I will suggest you do some thinking about what generally you want
45 AustrianZRH : So have German nouns - and we have three, not just two (masculine, feminine, and neutral). der Mann - the man (m) die Frau - the woman (f) das Flugze
46 Post contains images signol : and another anomoly - das Mädchen - girl (n) As compound words take the gender of the last segment, and the diminutive -chen is neuter... signol
47 Derico : There is a Spanish neuter noun, but it's much more infrequent because it is only reserved for adjetival abstract nouns (nouns formed from adjectives a
48 Zkpilot : Same with the English numbers.... Close to 300m speakers in the US, 25m in Canada, 22m in Australia, 4m in NZL, 60m in UK, 4m in Ireland, 10m in Sout
49 Aesma : When I was 11, to get in the better class at school, you chose German as first second language. So I did that. In fact I already had 2 years of German
50 Derico : Diese kleine Geschichte, die Sie erzählt haben, war sehr traurig für meine Augen zu lesen. It seems obvious that you can't remember much German now
51 einsteinboricua : Not to mention that some French letters don't follow a pattern in pronunciation. That's an advantage for those willing to learn Spanish: ALL the lett
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