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Second most important language

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
Poll Question: What is the second most important language in the world after English?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
5 [4.13%]
35 [28.93%]
25 [20.66%]
9 [7.44%]
47 [38.84%]
You can not vote in this poll

68 messages over 9 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 8 9 Next >>
Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 5111 days ago

4143 posts - 8864 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 57 of 68
21 October 2011 at 1:17pm | IP Logged 
Марк wrote:
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
Марк wrote:
 English is not that easy either. How could it be
that Czechs, Poles, Bulgarians refused
to learn Russian and started learning English instead, which is much more difficult for
them?


There are a lot of reasons for that, and none of them are linguistic.

I understand that. The main reason is that the USSR lost the Cold War, and the USA
remained the only super-power in the world. When America falls, English will loose too.
If China replaces America, Chinese will replace English very quickly, despite its
difficulty to someone.


I will tread very carefully now, because I do not want the thread to be shut down for becoming political, but I do have the following thoughts.

Mark, you love your country, for which I have the deepest respect. Loving your country is a wonderful thing. However if I may offer my opinion, I think the conditions under which people learned Russian/had to learn Russian had a lot to do with its decline.

The role of English is different, as it is dominant in culture almost all over the world, a role Russian never had. I have been in Russia and Ukraine and seen lots of American films dubbed into Russian, and listened to American music. In the USA and England, or for that matter the rest of Western Europe, they do not listen to Russian music, or Chinese music or for that matter even their own music. If I watch TV I will during a year see 90 % in English, 9 1/2 percent Norwegian, and 1/2% of all other languages combined. Much the same is true for the rest of Western Europe, even though in France, Spain and Italy, which are the countries I know best, they are better at promoting their national culture.

Russia has given us some of the best classical music, some of the most brilliant theatre, some of the best novels and I would dare to say - the best ballet in the world, both at the level of creators and at the level of performers.

However none of these were helpful in promoting the Russian language, and Russian is not a strong part of contemporary popular culture.

Personally I think it is sad that Norway, which borders on Russia, has no access to any Russian language channel. It would have done me personally a lot of good, and helped me to learn a language which I love, but which I find so incredibly difficult. It would also have helped broaden our horizon, since Norwegians in general know nothing about Russia,and would struggle to name more than 3 contemporary Russians, but we know every insignificant detail of the lives of the most obnoxious American singer.

My choice in this is to learn Russian, and to try to teach my daughters a little of it too, (they can count to about 30 in Russian) but I will hardly start a trend.

All of you Russians here on the forum can however do a lot. For many of us Russia is very exotic, and for some possibly even a bit frightening. You have the possilbility to show by example that there are more that unites us than what separates us. I would love to learn as much as possible about daily life in Russia, and how Russians look at the world. That is a unique gift that only you can offer us. And that might actually start a trend :-)

Edited by Solfrid Cristin on 24 October 2011 at 10:55pm

10 persons have voted this message useful



Matheus
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 4858 days ago

208 posts - 312 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*
Studies: English, French

 
 Message 58 of 68
21 October 2011 at 1:46pm | IP Logged 
jiajia wrote:
Matheus wrote:
I just can't imagine, sorry. People say Chinese Mandarin has more than 1 billion native speakers, but it's so fake. It has indeed those number of speakers, but not all of them are native speakers.


May I suggest that you focus less on the comparison of the total population and turn a bit more attention to the other factors. Frankly, never have we believed that Chinese would be the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th important language after English. Personally, I'm quite fond of Brazilian Portuguese and Italian. It seemed that you had tried to prove your opinion (Chinese is unimportant, very hard to learn, or whatever) to everybody, as if somebody forced you to admit that Chinese was, or would be the 2nd most important language. Actually, we're not at all proud of our 845 million native speakers of Mandarin, nor are we very interested in GDP ranking. No offence!


I don't think it is unimportant, it's the language that unites China. I said that I don't think that Chinese could be the first/second lingua franca in the West, because the languages we speak are far more similar to English and Spanish, and it would be much easier to learn. And about the 1 billion speakers, my point is that many people just imagine that Mandarin is the only spoken language in China, and every single speaker has native speaker abilities in it. When the reality is that are are lots of Chinese dialects and people use Mandarin as a common language. It's ok to say that Chinese (including all varieties) has 1 billion native speakers, but the problem is that people say that Mandarin has 1 billion native speakers, and this is not true.
1 person has voted this message useful



Mad Max
Tetraglot
Groupie
Spain
Joined 4828 days ago

79 posts - 146 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, French, English, Russian
Studies: Arabic (classical)

 
 Message 59 of 68
21 October 2011 at 2:20pm | IP Logged 
It is also relevant the political point of view of ALL countries. The new World
linguistic order depends on third countries too.

For example, Mandarin Chinese will be important if Japan, South Korea, North Korea,
Singapore, Vietnam, etc make it compulsory in their school system, or at least, it is
very studied there.

It is also very important for English, if India, Pakistan, and other countries mantain
English as official language.

Finally, Spanish depends on Brazil, Italy, France, United States, etc.

For example, all countries of the Latin American Summits (France, Italy, Brazil,
Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Philippines, Morocco, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile,
etc) can make Spanish compulsory in their school system. And USA too...

So, it is also very important the political opinion of other countries to know the
order of the top 3.
1 person has voted this message useful



ilcommunication
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 6469 days ago

115 posts - 162 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Portuguese, Mandarin

 
 Message 60 of 68
22 October 2011 at 1:49am | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
The role of English is different, as it is dominant in culture almost all over the world, a role Russian never had. I have been in Russia and Ukraine and seen lots of American films dubbed into Russian, and listened to American music. In the USA and England, or for that matter the rest of Western Europe, they do not listen to Russian music, or Chinese music or for that matter even their own music. If I watch TV I will during a year see 90 % in English, 9 1/2 percent Norwegian, and 1/2% of all other languages combined. Much the same is true for the rest of Western Europe, even though in France, Spain and Italy, which are the countries I know best, they are better at promoting their national culture.

Russia has given us some of the best classical music, some of the most brilliant theatre, some of the best novels and I would dear to say - the best ballet in the world, both at the level of creators and at the level of performers.

However none of these were helpful in promoting the Russian language, and Russian is not a strong part of contemporary popular culture.

Personally I think it is sad that Norway, which borders on Russia, has no access to any Russian language channel. It would have done me personally a lot of good, and helped me to learn a language which I love, but which I find so incredibly difficult. It would also have helped broaden our horizon, since Norwegians in general know nothing about Russia,and would struggle to name more than 3 contemporary Russians, but we know every insignificant detail of the lives of the most obnoxious American singer.

You're absolutely right about influence, but I disagree on the subject of contemporary culture. It's not that the Russian-speaking world didn't produce excellent movies or pop music...it's that the "west" was forcefully closed to all those cultural aspects and in many ways still is. Russian-speaking cinema could line up pretty confidently to English-speaking cinema, and yet no one's heard of "Come and See" (Иди и смотри) or "Zvezda" (Звезда) in the "west" because we've all been told that everything related to Russian is dull, dreary and inferior. That's the myth (or lie) that lies at the heart of this. That's also why it's supposedly some ghastly evil that Russian was taught in eastern Europe, while English being taught in the same exact region not one decade later is "freedom". The hypocrisy of it all is enough to knock you into the dative case...but I digress.

And I say all this as someone who really loves and appreciates both the English language and American culture.

Quote:
My choice in this is to learn Russian, and to try to teach my daughters a little of it too, (they can count to about 30 in Russian) but I will hardly start a trend.

All of you Russians here on the forum can however do a lot. For many of us Russia is very exotic, and for some possibly even a bit frightening. You have the possilbility to show by example that there are more that unites us than what separates us. I would love to learn as much as possible about daily life in Russia, and how Russians look at the world. That is a unique gift that only you can offer us. And that might actually start a trend :-)

Very, very well said.
3 persons have voted this message useful



noriyuki_nomura
Bilingual Octoglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 5117 days ago

304 posts - 465 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin*, Japanese, FrenchC2, GermanC2, ItalianC1, SpanishB2, DutchB1
Studies: TurkishA1, Korean

 
 Message 61 of 68
22 October 2011 at 9:39am | IP Logged 
I just read through nway's detailed graphics/figures and I am really deeply impressed by nway's passion in languages (and their influence etc). Keep up the good work nway!

Edited by noriyuki_nomura on 22 October 2011 at 9:39am

4 persons have voted this message useful



Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 5111 days ago

4143 posts - 8864 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 62 of 68
24 October 2011 at 6:47pm | IP Logged 
ilcommunication wrote:



You're absolutely right about influence, but I disagree on the subject of contemporary culture. It's not that the Russian-speaking world didn't produce excellent movies or pop music...it's that the "west" was forcefully closed to all those cultural aspects and in many ways still is. Russian-speaking cinema could line up pretty confidently to English-speaking cinema, and yet no one's heard of "Come and See" (Иди и смотри) or "Zvezda" (Звезда) in the "west" because we've all been told that everything related to Russian is dull, dreary and inferior. That's the myth (or lie) that lies at the heart of this. That's also why it's supposedly some ghastly evil that Russian was taught in eastern Europe, while English being taught in the same exact region not one decade later is "freedom". The hypocrisy of it all is enough to knock you into the dative case...but I digress.



Please note that I have not made any judgement of the value or quality of Russian contemporary music, or cinema, I simply note that some parts of Russian culture have reached us, some have not. I can obviously not comment on how Russia is presented in the USA, but when it comes to culture, we in Norway definitely have no image of "everything related to Russian being dull, dreary and inferior".

It is not a matter of Russian versus the West, it is a matter of US/British culture versus the rest of the world. If you saw my approximate numbers of films on Norwegian TV above, you saw that "English" culture is drowning everything else. In the EU they have discussed giving quotas for European film, and I believe there are programmes for supporting popular music. For better or worse, the US has world dominance in this. If you ask any European teenager for 5 names of singers or actors from Germany, France, Spain or Italy, most of them would not be able to. Ask them about American singers or actors, and they will name dozens.

Edited by Solfrid Cristin on 24 October 2011 at 10:59pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



clumsy
Octoglot
Senior Member
Poland
lang-8.com/6715Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4955 days ago

1116 posts - 1367 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English, Japanese, Korean, French, Mandarin, Italian, Vietnamese
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swedish
Studies: Danish, Dari, Kirundi

 
 Message 63 of 68
24 October 2011 at 9:47pm | IP Logged 
I have voted for Spanish, as I though they (Spanish speaking countries)are generally richer than China, but I may be wrong.


Mad Max wrote:

For example, Mandarin Chinese will be important if Japan, South Korea, North Korea,
Singapore, Vietnam, etc make it compulsory in their school system, or at least, it is
very studied there.


A lot of them do study Mandarin.
As I can see from looking at penpal profiles from the region.
Maybe except for Vietnam.
And Singapore... well they ARE Chinese, so they don't need to learn it.
Singapore has 4 official languages, while Chinese is the majority language.

Edited by clumsy on 24 October 2011 at 9:53pm

1 person has voted this message useful



fiziwig
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4642 days ago

297 posts - 618 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 64 of 68
25 October 2011 at 12:17am | IP Logged 
The question for me is not which other language has the most speakers, but which other language has the most speakers I'm likely to want to chat with, or has the most movies I'd like to see, or the most books I'd like to read.

Beyond that, is the question of just how much effort would be involved in being able to read the classics in that language, or watch movies in that language. If the culture is too alien to my own then not only do I have to learn the language, but I have to learn a monumental amount of cultural background that is likely to be taken for granted in such books and movies.

These are the reason I picked Spanish over Chinese. Iberian and Latin American cultures are similar enough to my own that I'm already half way to cultural literacy. Also, the language is Indo-European, which gives it a lot in common, structurally and lexically with English. And it uses the Roman alphabet instead of some cumbersome and impossible to learn system with a billion different abstract pictures.

So it's a matter of effort vs payoff. I get a lot more bang for the buck learning Spanish than I can learning Chinese, and there's more I can do with it once I'm fluent. So there may be who knows how many billion speakers of Chinese, but they are all virtually inaccessible to me, and we have virtually nothing in common to discuss, whereas Spanish speakers can be found in every city in the U.S., and México is a short car ride away.

Edited by fiziwig on 25 October 2011 at 12:20am



2 persons have voted this message useful



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