What Language To Learn?

Lost In Translation

I’ll put it simply:  I think that learning a foreign language if you are going to stay in the US is worthless.  What’s the point?  You can travel thousands of miles in any direction and run into only native English speakers.  What benefit does learning a language provide?  Except for people who have a reason (translators, etc…) I would say there is none.

Now, things change if you move or travel to another country.  When we moved to Serbia, all business with the government had to be conducted in Serbian (perhaps our government could take note).  Most people around us spoke no English so to just live, we had to learn Serbian.

But say you want to learn a language.  As a native English speaker, which language do you pick?  I’ve been thinking about learning another language living in Europe to help ease my pains as I travel.  Which to pick though–I thought I had written about this before, but I can’t find anything on my site…guess not…arg, I can’t even find the article I remember reading.

Anyway, which to pick?  This morning, the Telegraph had the top 10 (for the UK).  Here is the article (a slideshow really) and here is the list:

10. Portugese
9. Japanese
8. Russian
7. Cantonese
6. Arabic
5. Polish
4. Mandarin
3. Spanish
2. French
1. German 

For me, Spanish in high school took the desire for it away.  I’d only learn French if I were to live there.  I had seriously considered Russian (somewhat good in Eastern Europe…although Serbian has allowed me to get by as much as I think Russian would) and German.  Glad to see German was at the top.

Image from tochis via flickr

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