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Old 01-16-2013, 06:44 AM   #1
maps
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Chinese or Spanish

Hi all

My daughter is choosing her classes for her first year of high school. For the language part, we are torn between Spanish or Chinese. My husband says it would be to her advantage to try Chinese since it may make her stand out for college. I think Spanish would be the more practical language for the US.

Opinions? (She doesn't care one way of the other)

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:53 AM   #2
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Well ultimatley it's up to her. Spainsh might be easier to learn as I am sure she already has some basic knowledge and exposure of the laguage. However I would probably go with Chinese, that might come in handy in the future especially in business.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maps View Post
Hi all

My daughter is choosing her classes for her first year of high school. For the language part, we are torn between Spanish or Chinese. My husband says it would be to her advantage to try Chinese since it may make her stand out for college. I think Spanish would be the more practical language for the US.

Opinions? (She doesn't care one way of the other)

Thanks!
Depending on what she wants to do with her life (although I know I changed my mind from when I was in HS to when I got to college!), both of those are extremely marketable languages. I woud go with Chinese, as it's more challenging and so it would be better to learn while younger versus picking it up later, whereas since there are similarities between Spanish and English, she'd have a better chance of picking up Spanish later if she wanted.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:20 AM   #4
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I'd let her choose.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:28 AM   #5
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I think she should decide. While it's nice to think in terms of college and career, it doesn't really matter if she's miserable in the here and now.

My DS15 chose Chinese last year, because he thought it would be interesting. I know at least one kid dropped the class, and DS ended up hating it, and switching to Spanish this year. DS15 is not the world's best student.

We did wind up having a Chinese exchange student for a few days, because of the Chinese class. The whole family enjoyed his visit.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:29 AM   #6
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Chinese is a very difficult language to learn. They really be getting only the basics in high school I would guess. Our school just started offering this and so far the only thing they have learned is how to count and say hello. They have been in class for 5 months now.

But I would let her choose as well. Has she already had Spanish in middle school? Does she like it?

My kids are half Spanish and they still didn't want to take it in High school after the middle school experience. My oldest took Latin and my daughter is now taking French(so she can go to Paris)

As for what looks better on a college application- well I don't think what language you take really matters- as long as you take one.

That being said I used to work with someone that was really not bright at all- couldn't do the basic tasks-(his dad was a big wig so he got the job) He could speak Chinese though. And he was responsible for taking out the Chinese business men to dinner. That's it. So I suppose there is the option of being the only one that knows it giving someone job security.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:35 AM   #7
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I took 3.5 years of Spanish in high school. That was 20-odd years ago and the only 3 languages offered were Spanish, French, and German; and none of the others interested me. By the time I was a senior, I was relatively fluent as long as people spoke slowly at me, and were willing to put up with what I am sure was a pretty awful accent. My grandpa volunteered at a church-based community service center/relief agency and would often take me along during "migrant season" (we have a large cherry-picking season mid-summer that attracts farm workers) to help translate for the Hispanic farm workers.

That said, I have used it very little since my high school days, and have lost almost all of it. I can still translate a little, especially if it is written, or spoken very slowly. I can make myself understood enough to request a bathroom or a policeman, or to order food. I can still count and identify colors and say basic things like good/bad, hello/good-bye, slow/fast, left/right, thank you/you're welcome, etc. That's about it.

DD18 is taking French and is on her 2nd year. Her sole reason for taking it is that she wants to be able to travel in Europe/France. Honestly, I think she has learned very little.

I would let the student choose, but know that Chinese is HARD, and if she doesn't have a natural aptitude for languages it might be discouraging. Also, a lot depends on what she thinks she may do as an adult. Where will she live? What career will she have? In the United States, in a lot of areas, Spanish will be a more "useful" language. In the business/International community, Chinese might be more widely used.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:42 AM   #8
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If she wants to continue with language in college then it will be easier to find a school that offers Spanish. Other than that, they both seem great. I took French.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:53 AM   #9
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Asian languages are hard to learn. Not only do you learn a new vocabulary, you also have to learn new symbols. It isn't ABC anymore.

Both could help her long-term earning potential. A lot of places are looking for Spanish speakers. If she is planning on a corporate career, a lot of corporations are going global and would like Chinese speakers.

I took one semester of Japanese in college and it was one of the toughest classes I took. But if she wants toward Chinese, the younger she starts the better.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mombrontrent View Post
Well ultimatley it's up to her. Spainsh might be easier to learn as I am sure she already has some basic knowledge and exposure of the laguage. However I would probably go with Chinese, that might come in handy in the future especially in business.
Its also something that will stand out on a resume.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:06 AM   #11
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Unless she's planning to major in international business of some kind, it won't make a difference in a college application. She should choose what interests her.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:07 AM   #12
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I'd encourage her to choose Chinese, if she's leaning towards a future in business.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:21 AM   #13
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Chinese. Obviously, it is your daughter's choice, but I would pick Chinese. Actually, it isn't that hard to learn. The tones are tricky and that is the tough part. Grammar is really easy. The characters are just little pictures.

Both languages will be extremely helpful in the future. They are the top two languages in the world in terms of number of people speaking them and that will only continue to grow. Both will be very attractive for future employers.

My elementary school children are in a Mandarin Immersion program. All they speak in school since they started kindergarten. They think Chinese is super easy and HATE English as it is so hard to learn!!!!
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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Spanish because:
1.) More chance to practice it in the US with various people
2.) South America will be just as competitive as Asia in the future. (ie, oil, communications industries)
3.) Easier to learn
4.) Can watch Spanish TV to accelerate skill
5.) More need for Spanish speakers in US.

Funny story: my American friend has a long-distance boyfriend who was native to Germany. They became serious and she flew to Germany to meet his mother. His mother did not speak English and my friend did not speak German. The whole time they both spoke to each other in Spanish!
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taitai View Post

My elementary school children are in a Mandarin Immersion program. All they speak in school since they started kindergarten. They think Chinese is super easy and HATE English as it is so hard to learn!!!!
English IS hard to learn if you aren't a native speaker, especially if you speak a language that is from a different "family". The sounds/grammar/etc will be totally foreign.

However, English, and for example, German, share so many similarities, and have roots in the same "family" (West Germanic). It is much easier for a native English speaker, especially one who is a teenager (the older you get the harder it is to pick it up - elementary kids would have an easier time) to pick up a related language. Spanish is easy to pick up for people in the US because we tend to be so exposed to bits and pieces of it from a very young age. Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street?

For a native English speaker, however, Chinese (Sino-Tibetan family) is completely foreign and shares no roots. That will make it much more difficult.
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