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Student-Finance Major,

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How many languages should we learn in bussiness? which one we must have to learn?

In Asia every students are forced to learn english.But I think that's not really inspire for us .If you really insteresting for any languages you will study it by yourself instead of forcing.
Every teachers,parents,bosses told us that we have to speak as more as different languages but in this world have too much languages.
Beside english which language is the most people speaking?
And second?

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    Nov 28 2013: I see some really good points, but most are based on convention and usage. What we should ask instead, are a few structural questions:

    1.What is the learning/leverage load of a given language. For instance, if I learn French, it would take less time to learn than, say, Japanese (which I did learn in college), in addition, however, I would also have already learned a lot of the structure for other romance languages as well as being able to acquire vocabulary in the other romance languages due to cognates. Given that, we might find, hypohetically, that the time it takes to become fluent in Japanese, we could have learned 2 or 3 of the romance languages.

    2.There is a reason to suggest Chinese, given population and rise to world prominence. However, if we look at the number of languages that use the Western alphabet, as opposed to the Chinese or Japanese systems, then we must consider that the time spent learning another Western language is of much higher carrover value than would be learning Chinese.

    3.The last point I would make here has to do with the clarity of logic in word construction and tense formations. Here we would need to ask the linguists: Which has the most readily understandable and most streamlined set of rules for formation of new words, for borrowing new words from others, and for changing tenses of words. The future will most need the language which can adapt the fastest without becoming a linguistic version of Frankenstein's monster.
    • Nov 30 2013: but why do you want to do anything if there is no necessity. for example, I live in Netherlands, I never thought about learning Dutch because dutch people speaks perfect English, you will not have any problem living or working here as long as you speak English. and I think the reason they speak fluent English is because of the similarity between English and Dutch, which according to your opinion won't be very difficult to learn for English speaker. but if you don't get any added value from something, why would you bother to do that? just to show other people how many language you can speak?
      • Dec 1 2013: Will Wu, I understand your point of view, but I don't agree with it.

        The Netherlands are an exception to the rule, maybe comparable to Spanish people in Portugal. They can spend their whole lives in Lisbon speaking only in Spanish, but will never fully integrate into the culture, unless they learn Portuguese or at least ''Portuñol''

        In most other countries you should at least give your best to learn the local language. You don't have to be perfect, but if you show some respect and commitment to their local language and culture, they will definitely respect you back.

        You can also perfectly survive in Hong Kong solely with English, but try and speak Mandarin or Cantonese and you'll see the difference.

        Anyways, our friend Erik Richardson wasn't even denying the fact, that you can live & work in many countries, by just speaking in English or Spanish... but that there are certain 'language groups' containing 3-4 similar languages, that one could learn in the same time as one single language.

        For example, a Portuguese person can become fluent in French, Spanish & Italian (all of them!) in less than 5 years, whereas only learning Chinese would take him approximately the same time.
        • Dec 1 2013: Hi, Pedro Simas, thank you for your opinion.
          Maybe you didn't notice another comment I put in this thread. I stayed in Japan for 3 years, I speak very good Japanese, within 5 minutes talking with Japanese, they might not notice I am foreigner. I believe there are 4 reasons:
          1.Japanese is very close to Chinese
          2.Japanese doesn't speak a lot of English
          3.I was working there, I need to have massive communication with them
          4.I have a good sense of foreign language(I am better than a lot of those who stayed in Japan for more than 10 years)

          I think the first reason proved Mr.Erik's point is partly correct , after working 1 year in English environment, I am feeling my English can never reach same level as my Japanese. but I am very excited I can speak English, because the countries/cultures/people English can connect me to is very different from what Japanese can bring, because Japanese is too close to Chinese, I probably pay less time learning Japanese, but the reward is also much less accordingly.

          And without other 3 reasons, I will never learn Japanese. If Japanese speaks good Chinese or English, if I don't need to work in Japan, why would I learn Japanese? just because it's easy to learn? no matter how easy it is, to master a foreign language, at least 1-2 years are needed, I can take advantage of this time to learn something I do use, why do I waste time on something I never use? even it is just one hour. but it looks to me that Mr. Erik think you just learn some easy language, no matter if you will use it or not.

          Not to say, we all know, good language environment is the best catalyst to help with the study, if you never have the chance to use it, it also means you never have the chance to practice it, how can anyone master a language in this way? this is also the same reason I don't study Dutch, all Dutch people speaks very good English, if I want to communicate with them in very elementary Dutch, they will say cut it out, why don't we speak English!

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