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Engineering Best language to learn for a career in science/engineering?

  1. Dec 19, 2008 #1
    Although most people speak English, I am curious as to which language would be most beneficial while I pursue a science/engineering career. I do not plan on staying in the U.S. so I was wondering which language would help me the most. Also, which country/city/nation or whatever you want to use, is the most advanced in science and technology? That info would have the largest impact on the language I would learn.
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  3. Dec 22, 2008 #2
    From what I understand pick one and run with it. Having a higher education in science and knowing two languages has unique opportunities in whatever language you choose. I am taking japanese, I constantly read about cutting edge physics/chem research being done in japan. Also pick the language of a culture you find interesting it will make it much easer to learn the language then if your just learning it for some vague job opportunity later in life.
  4. Dec 22, 2008 #3


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    One might try various languages.

    German, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic represent some large markets. Japanese and Korean would be interesting but the markets are more indigenous.
  5. Jan 23, 2009 #4
    I would look at developing areas, i.e. China, Latin America, Southeast Asia. These places have the most likely chance at developing an economic and scientific boom as their GDP grows.

    I think it has a lot to do with what field you want to go into. I have decided on civil engineering, so it makes sense to learn a language of a developing region (in my case, Spanish).
  6. Jan 24, 2009 #5
    I heard somewhere that French is a good pick in general, just because of how widely it's used in different parts of the world.

    As for scientist/engineer...I've been wondering the same thing for a while.
  7. Jan 25, 2009 #6
    I have the utmost respect for people who are able to learn another language and utilize it fluently - holding discourse that is expressed easily and that is articulate enough to truly express one's thoughts/emotions.

    I've tried to learn Spanish on my own for probably 10 years, and it just hasn't happened. I've done the Instant Immersion Software, Textbooks, Rosetta Stone, and even a few classes. Sure I can get around at an all mexican restaurant or on vacation, but I have a narrow filter in which I'm actively translating English to Spanish in my mind. It is definite gringo-tongue.

    Someday as an Engineer I hope to really learn another language by being immersed in situations where I have to use it and I experience a true immersion style of learning.

    I wanted to audit some of the intermediate level college courses where no english is spoken, but I simply don't have time in my schedule right now.

    Kudos to those who learn a technical skill and fluently speak multiple languages!
    (You can read this as, "I'm Jealous"!)

    EDIT: Oh, I would pick Spanish if you plan to stay in the Western Hemisphere. Mandarin or Arabic would certainly be applicable, but they are umpteen times more difficult due to the different character sets that you will need to learn for reading/writing.
  8. Jan 26, 2009 #7
    I think you should learn either Mexican or Indian, although supporting literature and learning resources for them are rare.

    I want to learn japenese just because I think it sounds cool and a lot of the research in the field I am in has a lot going for it in japan. That and it has very similar phonics as americanized english. I also wont need the subtitles on when watching Kill Bill. Honestly, I think you should just pick which ever language sounds good to go for it.
  9. Jan 26, 2009 #8
    I believe different countries have different areas of specialisation, so perhaps you should see what each of them offer and decide accordingly. The issue here is, if you feel you want to do it with the aim of assisting you in your science/engineering fields, then you really have to go all-out. You'll have to master the language in order for it to be of use when intricate, technical concepts are involved.
  10. Jan 28, 2009 #9
    Depends on the specific career you're looking at.

    Spanish for developing countries and civil engineering, Hindu for neuroscience and biology, Mandarin for engineering, Russian for aerospace (if you plan on working on space exploration projects), and middle eastern languages are generally good for mathematics even though any language will suffice for that.
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