What language should I take in college?

<p>Hello all. I hope this is the right place to post this...</p>

<p>I am trying to decide what language to take in college. I need to fulfill the language requirement because I have no AP/dual credit, and plus I want to become fluent in something other than English. Here's what I'm considering:</p>

<p>Chinese - I'm a Chinese-American, and I've been learning Chinese since a very young age, but I'm not very good. I can understand enough to get by in ordinary, everyday conversation, but when it comes to listening to more complicated things like the news, I get lost. I can speak enough to get people to understand what I'm trying to communicate, but not eloquently and I often find there's a lot that I don't know how to say. (I'm in China right now for summer vacation.) As for reading and writing, I'm pretty terrible. I can recognize a few hundred characters, maybe, but if I try to read anything lengthy I need to look up a lot of words. The thing is, I can easily improve my Chinese on my own--I have all the tools, and it's pretty much just a matter of memorizing more characters and forcing myself to speak it exclusively when I'm surrounded by Chinese speakers (like my parents). I just lack the motivation to do so. So maybe if I take a college class, then I'll have to push myself to get better but...I don't know.</p>

<p>French - I took three years of it in high school. French IV, however, didn't make it as a class at my school so there's a gap in my learning and I've forgotten a lot of things. I don't think French is as useful as Chinese, but I do think it's a beautiful language and it would be nice to improve my French skills.</p>

<p>A completely different language that I have no experience in - Such as...I don't know. </p>

<p>Also (if this is relevant), I am not sure what my major is going to be yet...I'm still trying to decide between passion and practicality. (Passion = English [with an emphasis on creative writing]; practicality = something science-related [here I was thinking pre-pharm or environmental studies].) </p>

<p>Any advice?</p>

<p>you should probably stick with chinese. China is becoming global power now so being able to speak chinese is an great job skill for anyone trying to get a job in the future workfore as well as today internships. the reason why you are struggling isbecause you have lived in america I think; now that you are doing summers in China you can be immerised in the language and you will find that you will be able to understand it much better than you did before once you come back. It gets easier to learn a language as you get older as well because your brain becomes sharper and reasoning skills used to interpret context clues in speech and writing become more efficient and effective!!!</p>

<p>Understanding Chinese can offset taking a useless major (job wise) as well. That way you can follow your passion (English) knowing that you have a great job skill that you can fall back on if your major itself is not as much help getting a job as pre-pharm or something.</p>

<p>"It gets easier to learn a language as you get older as well because your brain becomes sharper and reasoning skills used to interpret context clues in speech and writing become more efficient and effective!!!

<p>I thought it became harder as you got older.</p>

<p>DCHurricane's got that right. All credible scientific studies say that you lose the ability to truly learn a language past the age of 11 (as in, you'll never think in another language fluently).
Exceptions to that are kids raised bilingual- they have an easier time learning a third language (ie raised knowing spanish and english, french or italian are easy to learn as they're both romance languages and essentially follow the same rules as spanish).</p>

<p>But back on topic- op, how long do you plan on taking that language? It seems in your case, Chinese would be the most beneficial since you're likely to use it regularly. Although I agree that french is beautiful (I'm at the point where I can understand it but not really speak it since I haven't taken it in years), if you're only going to take a semester or two you'll be back in the same position in a couple of years.</p>

<p>Coming into college I was in the exact same position you are in. I am Chinese (half) as well and I can speak Chinese conversationally and read/write few characters. I had taken Spanish up to Spanish IV in high school. I ended up deciding to take spanish in college instead of Chinese primarily because if I chose to, I could just go back to Taiwan and pick-up on my chinese skills that way instead of wasting my time taking a course. Plus as an international relations major with a concentration in latin-american studies, I felt that it would be best to pick up on Spanish over Chinese in that context. </p>

<p>In your case, it's ultimately up to you but I'd lean towards Chinese mainly because with your prospective majors (english/pre-pharm or environmental studies) it seems like there would be very little opportunity for you to utilize your french skills (compared to Chinese) unless you study abroad or want to work abroad in a french-speaking country.</p>

<p>Hmmm, alright thank you guys! I'm going to go with Chinese, mostly because it will definitely be more useful. Now, I should probably see if I can test into a higher level.....</p>