Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Swedish, Hebrew: Which should I learn?

curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
I'm thinking of studying a language. I was originally going to study Chinese but found out it is "tonal" and because of vocal problems stemming from surgery, I can't speak it because I can't control my pitch. Otherwise, anyone who speaks Japanese, Hindi, Swedish, or Hebrew, can you give me an idea of what difficulties are involved for a native English speaker to learn it? For example, if any of those are tonal, I have to cross them off my list.

I used to know French and Spanish quite well - could brush up but thought I'd try to learn something completely different. Just for fun and to make my brain cells do a few push ups.

Also, someone told me that Indian people are offended if Americans try to speak Hindi to them. ?? Verdad?
2/c Coarse hair med. density.
Highly porous. Color over grey.
I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
Every day is a gift :flower:

Comments

  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Swedish would definitely be the easiest. It's a Germanic language that uses the Roman alphabet.

    For Hindi, you'll have to learn to distinguish among sounds that all sound the same to English-speaking ears.

    Hebrew, like other Semitic languages, has a very different syntactic pattern from English. Instead of changing words but adding suffixes and prefixes, you instead add vowels to a three-consonant root.

    I don't know much about Japanese, but you'd have to learn a lot of ideograms.
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,633Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Of the choices, which one would you say you hear more often where you live? I think it would be best to choose one that you can practice often with others.

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    Swedish would definitely be the easiest. It's a Germanic language that uses the Roman alphabet.

    For Hindi, you'll have to learn to distinguish among sounds that all sound the same to English-speaking ears.

    Hebrew, like other Semitic languages, has a very different syntactic pattern from English. Instead of changing words but adding suffixes and prefixes, you instead add vowels to a three-consonant root.

    I don't know much about Japanese, but you'd have to learn a lot of ideograms.

    Hmmm I might try Swedish. I have been reading a mystery series by a Swedish author (Henning Mankell) and I became interested. It sounds like a kind of depressing country though, but I'm not planning to visit and it might just be this particular author. I do believe they eat sheep's eyes. (non sequitur). On the other hand they eat lingonberries. You can tell I'm proceeding to choose which language in a very logical fashion. Maybe I should study logic instead.
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,633Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    curlypearl wrote: »
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    Swedish would definitely be the easiest. It's a Germanic language that uses the Roman alphabet.

    For Hindi, you'll have to learn to distinguish among sounds that all sound the same to English-speaking ears.

    Hebrew, like other Semitic languages, has a very different syntactic pattern from English. Instead of changing words but adding suffixes and prefixes, you instead add vowels to a three-consonant root.

    I don't know much about Japanese, but you'd have to learn a lot of ideograms.

    Hmmm I might try Swedish. I have been reading a mystery series by a Swedish author (Henning Mankell) and I became interested. It sounds like a kind of depressing country though, but I'm not planning to visit and it might just be this particular author. I do believe they eat sheep's eyes. (non sequitur). On the other hand they eat lingonberries. You can tell I'm proceeding to choose which language in a very logical fashion. Maybe I should study logic instead.

    And you can practice by shopping at Ikea!

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Of the choices, which one would you say you hear more often where you live? I think it would be best to choose one that you can practice often with others.

    Thanks for responding. It's a good idea and you are right, but what I hear way more than anything else is Spanish which I can actually converse in (un poco). My best friend is Vietnamese but that's not a language course that's widely offered.

    I'm just noodling around with the idea. I forgot about Korean - there are people of Korean descent around here. But everyone speaks English; I don't get to hear anything but English and Spanish. Maybe if I learn a language I'll hear it!
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    curlypearl wrote: »
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    Swedish would definitely be the easiest. It's a Germanic language that uses the Roman alphabet.

    For Hindi, you'll have to learn to distinguish among sounds that all sound the same to English-speaking ears.

    Hebrew, like other Semitic languages, has a very different syntactic pattern from English. Instead of changing words but adding suffixes and prefixes, you instead add vowels to a three-consonant root.

    I don't know much about Japanese, but you'd have to learn a lot of ideograms.

    Hmmm I might try Swedish. I have been reading a mystery series by a Swedish author (Henning Mankell) and I became interested. It sounds like a kind of depressing country though, but I'm not planning to visit and it might just be this particular author. I do believe they eat sheep's eyes. (non sequitur). On the other hand they eat lingonberries. You can tell I'm proceeding to choose which language in a very logical fashion. Maybe I should study logic instead.

    And you can practice by shopping at Ikea!

    Now that's a cool idea. :laughing6:
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • kenzie!kenzie! Posts: 5,055Registered Users
    curlypearl wrote: »
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    Swedish would definitely be the easiest. It's a Germanic language that uses the Roman alphabet.

    For Hindi, you'll have to learn to distinguish among sounds that all sound the same to English-speaking ears.

    Hebrew, like other Semitic languages, has a very different syntactic pattern from English. Instead of changing words but adding suffixes and prefixes, you instead add vowels to a three-consonant root.

    I don't know much about Japanese, but you'd have to learn a lot of ideograms.

    Hmmm I might try Swedish. I have been reading a mystery series by a Swedish author (Henning Mankell) and I became interested. It sounds like a kind of depressing country though, but I'm not planning to visit and it might just be this particular author. I do believe they eat sheep's eyes. (non sequitur). On the other hand they eat lingonberries. You can tell I'm proceeding to choose which language in a very logical fashion. Maybe I should study logic instead.

    And you can practice by shopping at Ikea!

    We were just at Ikea today!! We're going back tomorrow with a friend's pickup truck...too much stuff!


    I vote for Swedish!! I'm biased though. I'm Swedish and grew up with all of the food and traditions. I really would like to learn how to speak Swedish one day...
    Rock Chalk Baby!! If you aren't from Kansas, you just won't understand!

    Dame Kenz Matilda Jayhawk-Rocksalt, heir to the family diamonds.
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Kenzie, I visited a place in NYC called Sweden House. I had great food there (no sheep's eyes). They also have lovely jewelry.

    If I learn it, I'll say hello to you in Swedish. I'm getting excited about this now. I have to find out if Sweden House offers courses.

    :blob6:
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    Japanese or Hindi. Japan currently needs a lot of EFL teachers and knowing Japanese can really boost your chances, and even if you have no intention of teaching EFL, it will give a chance to work here, and they do have the second or third largest economy.

    India's population is projected to keep growing, think Hindi might be useful to know.

    Problems with Japanese: There are three different "alphabets" and the sentence structure is a whole lot different from anything i've ever seen :)
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
    "
  • helloyellowbirdhelloyellowbird Banned Posts: 1,632Banned Users
    IDK, would you actually use Swedish though? It isn't widely used unless you live in Scandinavia. I know that you didn't list German, but I think it's a good choice. German is spoken all over Europe and in the United States. I would have recommended Chinese, but because of your problem I say don't do it.
    eIZWI.gif
    :love10:
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I think what I'll do is take a few classes at once, because for me the most important thing is the teacher. I will get back 80-90% of my money if I quit after the first class, so I'll just quit the ones I don't want to continue.

    It's a little cuckoo, I know, but that's how I tend to choose things. Sample a lot of different things at one time, and compare. I'll probably end up saying Hello (German) How (Hindi) are (Swedish) you (Korean) and the little men in the white coats will have proof that I'm certifiable.

    Thanks everyone! I'll let you know what I pick. A bientot.
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    What I would do when learning a new language is to go to the Wikipedia article. It will tell you all the sounds in the language, using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). You can then check out what sounds the IPA letters represent at this site.
  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    Given that I would probably never really need to use any of those languages, I would just choose based on which I thought was the most interesting (linguistically and culturally)--so I would probably choose Hebrew. At the very least, if you learned to read it, you would gain the opportunity to try to read the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (I think...), which would be pretty cool to read in it's "original" form.
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Eilonwy, you are impressive. Seriously. Thanks - I'll do that.

    You may not want to answer this, and that's fine but what on earth do you do for a living? You're like our own Encyclopedia Brittanica.

    You remind me of K. Hepburn in the Tracy Hepburn movie in which Spencer Tracy comes to replace Hepburn and crew with a computer. Great movie.

    Glad you are one of us.
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Kikapoo wrote: »
    Given that I would probably never really need to use any of those languages, I would just choose based on which I thought was the most interesting (linguistically and culturally)--so I would probably choose Hebrew. At the very least, if you learned to read it, you would gain the opportunity to try to read the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (I think...), which would be pretty cool to read in it's "original" form.

    Being Jewish I have a special interest in Hebrew and it will definitely be one of those I try. It's going to depend on the teacher though. Thanks for responding, Kikapoo!
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • Crazy Kinky CurlyCrazy Kinky Curly Posts: 116Registered Users
    I think sometimes Indian people get a little annoyed when people assume that Hindi is the only language spoken in India. There are something like 30 official languages in India. My guy speaks two Indian languages and neither of them are Hindi-so he gets annoyed when people go "oh, you're from India so you MUST speak Hindi."

    Personally I vote Japanese. But, if you already have a strong grasp of Spanish and French why not round it out with Italian or Portuguese and become a romance language expert?
  • empressriempressri Posts: 4,812Registered Users
    japanese and chinese might be the hardest, because i was told by different people that speak both that the way you would talk to a child, versus adult, versus elderly person is different? something along those lines.

    then with chinese im guessing you'd be learning mandarin cause an army brat friend of mine that spent time over there said cantonese isn't really a written language.

    yeah now i see kayb's explanation about japanese, that too.

    but hey im a language person and i want to learn every language that i'm able to. i like a challenge ;)

    i learned spanish, then started picking up french, creole (haitian french) and italian.
    Lady Hasytal in the Land of Product in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
    "Trust is knowing your SO would do the right thing in the face of strange vagina." Nej
    [/B]
  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    empressri wrote: »
    japanese and chinese might be the hardest, because i was told by different people that speak both that the way you would talk to a child, versus adult, versus elderly person is different? something along those lines.

    yeah now i see kayb's explanation about japanese, that too.

    but hey im a language person and i want to learn every language that i'm able to. i like a challenge ;)

    i learned spanish, then started picking up french, creole (haitian french) and italian.


    I forgot abt that...but yes, that is also something to take into consideration when studying Japanese. Thanks Empressi
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
    "
  • helloyellowbirdhelloyellowbird Banned Posts: 1,632Banned Users
    empressri wrote: »
    japanese and chinese might be the hardest, because i was told by different people that speak both that the way you would talk to a child, versus adult, versus elderly person is different? something along those lines.

    then with chinese im guessing you'd be learning mandarin cause an army brat friend of mine that spent time over there said cantonese isn't really a written language.

    yeah now i see kayb's explanation about japanese, that too.

    but hey im a language person and i want to learn every language that i'm able to. i like a challenge ;)

    i learned spanish, then started picking up french, creole (haitian french) and italian.

    The writing is typical simplified Chinese characters, sometimes traditional.
    eIZWI.gif
    :love10:
  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Kikapoo wrote: »
    At the very least, if you learned to read it, you would gain the opportunity to try to read the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (I think...), which would be pretty cool to read in it's "original" form.
    Unfortunately, the modern Hebrew spoken in Israel is pretty different from the Hebrew in the Torah. I'm not sure just how different they are, but I know that separate classes are offered for modern and biblical Hebrew.
  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    curlypearl wrote: »
    Eilonwy, you are impressive. Seriously. Thanks - I'll do that.

    You may not want to answer this, and that's fine but what on earth do you do for a living? You're like our own Encyclopedia Brittanica.

    LOL well thank you.

    I'm currently a student. I majored in linguistics, so I know a fair amount about this particular topic.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
    Eilowny, do you know anything about Khmer?
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 12,182Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Everyone, thanks for the helpful input. Lots to consider. :wave:
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • LinysaLinysa Posts: 29Registered Users
    I lived in Japan while serving in the military, so I'd vote for Japanese. The spoken language not tonal, or difficult to pronounce. It's almost Italian-sounding with lots of vowels.

    There are levels of politeness that are used. My teacher assured me that she was teaching me the middle level, and that the people I encountered would not expect a foreign speaker to use these levels the way a native speaker would anyway. The Japanese I encountered seemed to appreciate foreigners who made even the effort to learn to say "hello," or "thank you." You are learning a new language more for your own interest and challenge anyway, and Japanese can offer that.

    The written language is challenging -- many Kanji, the pictographs, which came originally from China, and two phonetic alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. The phonetic alphabets are really not that difficult to learn; it's just practice, and the Kanji are just so interesting. Many of them look like their meaning -- the Kanji for "middle" or "medium" is a square with a line through the middle. The more complicated Kanji can be very intricate; it's a real art to writing them.

    And again, this is a hobby, for your own interest. You can probably focus on the areas that interest you. I took classes for awhile that focused on speaking/survival type Japanese. When I became interested in the written language, I hired a college student who wanted to earn some extra money, and I told her what I wanted her to teach me. We became good friends, and I learned a lot from her.
  • ninadefninadef Posts: 243Registered Users
    curlypearl wrote: »

    Hmmm I might try Swedish. I have been reading a mystery series by a Swedish author (Henning Mankell) and I became interested. It sounds like a kind of depressing country though, but I'm not planning to visit and it might just be this particular author. I do believe they eat sheep's eyes. (non sequitur). On the other hand they eat lingonberries. You can tell I'm proceeding to choose which language in a very logical fashion. Maybe I should study logic instead.

    Hey, as a Swede I take offence!
    Just kidding BUT my country is not depressing at all nor do we eat sheeps eyes (just the thought *barf*).

    I have never read this author, in fact I kind of stay away from Swedish films and books because there are generally pretty dark and sad and there's way to much swearing in the movies.

    My country is a beautiful one, a lot of really nice (and happy) people, the crime rate is.... eh... lower. The negative is the really long winter (Nov.-May).

    Anyway, skulle du välja att studera svenska kan jag ju hjälpa till!1.gif
  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,633Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    ninadef wrote: »
    Anyway, skulle du välja att studera svenska kan jag ju hjälpa till!1.gif

    You're sending cookies to all the curlies? :dontknow:

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,391Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Eilowny, do you know anything about Khmer?
    Nope, just that it's Cambodian.

    But if you'd like me to "translate" any jargon you come across while reading about the language, I'd be happy to do so :)
  • CurlyPolkaDotCurlyPolkaDot Posts: 1,174Registered Users
    I vote Japanese, My brother lives in Japan :) He's English (like me) and he moved their...3 years ago? 2? He already speaks fluent Japanese :)
    2c/3a - M/C - ii/iii
    Countess DuckyDot :duckie: , Keeper of the book of Vegetarianism and Arty Pants, Leader of the Curly Ducks in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

    Away and might not be back. See me at: http://walkintowhispers.blogspot.com/

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