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Foreign languages and physics?

  1. Jul 26, 2014 #1
    I'm currently a junior at university and I'm contemplating whether or not to study a foreign language. I already know 2 other languages besides English (Arabic and Aramaic, the latter my native tongue), but just knowing other languages is enticing. So, I was wondering, would learning a language be distracting to my work in physics at university? How many hours or minutes and how often should one study and still maintain good grades at school? Please share your experience.

    Edit: I also forgot to mention that I do not want to lose my social life either.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2014 #2

    symbolipoint

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    Would it be distracting to studying Physics? NO. In fact, you should find any language course you pick to be easier than any of your physics or mathematics courses. IGNORE how many minutes or hours per week you would need to study. The language you study and learn is not nearly as stressful as physics or mathematics. Working hard for your chosen language will no trouble, and you should likely be able to earn an A. Actually, you will need to study nearly everyday; but like said, this is not stressful.
     
  4. Jul 26, 2014 #3
    Learn German, think of all the famous German physicists and mathematicians. It's always better to learn from the masters.
     
  5. Jul 26, 2014 #4

    Astronuc

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    One could probably manage a foreign language, e.g., 4 courses over two years. German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, . . . are possibilities. There is considerable amounts of research and technology in each language.
     
  6. Jul 28, 2014 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    I disagree. First, its not always best to learn from the pioneers - I would not say "masters". Maxwell, for example, is incomprehensible - even to a native speaker. That's why we use the modern treatment of Oliver Heaviside.

    Second, those texts are a century old.
     
  7. Aug 4, 2014 #6
    Thanks for the reply everyone. I'm not so sure if I will actually take a foreign language class as I have heard many negative things about language learning in a classroom environment. I've always heard that self-teaching is the best method for language learning.
     
  8. Aug 4, 2014 #7

    symbolipoint

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    Self-teaching a language is not a good method of learning. Maybe some people can learn self-taught, but this is not within the nature of languages.


    Learning in a classroom environment may be good, or bad, or mid-quality, DEPENDING on the purpose and instructional design. Decide based on the instructional approach which the instruction for the language is designed.
     
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