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Choosing the language you want to  learn

Learning languages | Francois Micheloud's homepage

The first step is to decide a target language. The first foreign language you want to learn is usually quite obvious, but beginning with the second there's usually a choice to be made.

As a general advice, a language that will be both useful and easy to practice is advisable. Beware of difficult languages that you can hardly practice, they will be hard to come and eventually you can loose them. If you are lucky enough to live in New York or London, practicing any language should be possible.

Here's a list of major languages with some observations to help you assess if that's what you want to learn. I recommend you to read my Language learner's guide before starting, as it contains definitions of all the specific terms used in the individual language pages.л refers to  лifficulty, from л easiest to ллллл most difficult. Color broadly refer to linguistic group.

Click for file

English

.
The most useful of all languages, pretty easy to learn and a breeze to practice. лл
More...
Click to read the full file !

Spanish

.
Easy, logical and useful language that is on top of most people's list. More... л
Click to read the full file !

Mandarin

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Immensely difficult, be it in its maddening writing or most tricky pronunciation. Learning it is the language achievement par excellence
More...
ллллл
Click to read the full file !

German

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Rather difficult but sharp, accurate, great for business and giving access to a wealth of culture.
More... ллл
Click to read the full file !

French

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Complicated and illogical, this is the enfant terrible of the romance languages, difficult but charming.  More... ллл
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Japanese

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Difficult writing and subtilities but simple in other aspects, japanese is a must for those who want to understand Japan.
ллллл
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Dutch

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Easy language for those who already speak german or english, if you love Amsterdam or Belgium you should take it.  ллл
Click to read the full file !

Italian

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Arguably the most beaufiful spoken language there is, a must for the arts aficionado.
More...
лл.
Read the review !

Thai

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Very difficult language but definitely a great country. лллл
Read Mark Bailey's review ...
Click to read the full file !

Russian

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Incredible language that is less difficult than most people thinks and opens you worlds to discover. More... лллл
Click to read the full file !

Portuguese

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Easy language for those who already speak another romance language, portuguese is not the first choice in this group unless you have a special reason. л
Read Pedro Sр's review ...
Click to read the review

Korean

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Very interesting language, great cooking and a country with a future : why not take it ? Mark Bailey reports.. ллл
Read the review ...
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Farsi

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Great indo european language with a load of culture and a fascinating country to discover, Iran. ллл
ллл
Click to read the full file !

Esperanto

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The most famous of all artificial languages, this one is also the most widespread. Read the contribution sent by Mark Bailey. л
More...
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Turkish

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A wonderful grammar and a great civilization all clad in the roman alphabet should be enough to convince you. лл
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Greek

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Difficult but a great language, be sure to take modern greek first even if you want to read Plato in the text. лллл
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Hindi

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Probably the easiest indian language there is, it is also the most useful. ллл
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Arabic

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Difficult but if you master a general arabic you can travel far and read a lot. лллл
f.GIF (156 bytes)

Finnish

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Probably the most difficult European language to be learned, but rather fascinating. ллллл
Read Stephen Day's review...

If you think a language should be included, why wouldn't you write a review for a language ? Just send me a blue print and I'll publish it in the next edition.

 

Learning languages | Francois Micheloud's homepage