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Language general ed. req.

  1. Jul 20, 2009 #1


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    Alright i need to take a language to fulfill the gen ed requirement, just wondering what people think. I could take Spanish and without much effort go through it, leaving time to study my science classes. Or i could devote some effort to learning a language i am unfamiliar with, ideas for which new ones are between german and french. I could see that german would be useful for understanding german publications, same for french... however there is so much software now that takes different publications and produces them in a language such as english...

    Anyone in the field find learning a certain language like german useful? i know math and physics over there is elite...

    anyone have experience with something like this?
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  3. Jul 20, 2009 #2
    Well if you are thinking of going to grad school, something to keep in mind is that most have a foreign language requirement that consists of being able to translate a paper in french, german, or russian (note usually not spanish).

    To answer your question, working knowledge of one of these languages would definitely be useful, but i'm not sure a would sacrifice a science class, or time spent on a science class, for it at this time.
  4. Jul 20, 2009 #3


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    yeah that is why i was considering french or german, not going to bother attempting the difficulty of russian as i hear it is extremely time consuming. But exactly those 2 for the phd qualifier...i know i could probably learn them on my own time, but its either i learn one in my 2nd year of undergrad or just take spanish and save the time for working on my more advanced sciences...only to pick up german or french at a later time if my qualifier requires a publishing translation...hmmm
  5. Jul 20, 2009 #4


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    Really? I'm in grad school now and I never heard so much as a peep about any language requirement. (And yes, I have read the entire grad program manual :wink:) It seems a little unbelievable to me, since I learned German as an undergrad, well enough to spend a month in Germany (well, okay, everyone there speaks English :frown: never mind that!) but I still haven't been able to properly read, much less translate, a scientific paper in German. It would have taken me considerably more time studying the language to learn the specialized vocabulary that scientists use.
  6. Jul 21, 2009 #5
    Not all grad schools have the requirement, but many do. Also, it is much less daunting than it seems. Typically you're given a (language)-English dictionary during your exam. For most, it is not something to stress about.

    I would say if you are able to learn french or german without it interfering seriously with your major, you won't regret it. Otherwise, do the spanish and worry about the others later.
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