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Essential International Business Languages
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OSL Offline
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Essential International Business Languages
What languages do you think will be essential in this century for international business?

Obviously, this depends on your preferences. Someone who plans to operate solely out of Cambodia will likely find little use in learning Arabic.

These are the languages in which I am advanced to fluent:

-English
-Mandarin Chinese
-Korean
-Spanish
-French

These are some languages in which I am considering becoming functional to fluent:

-Portuguese
-Vietnamese
-Bahasa Indonesia
-Tagalog
-Thai
-Arabic
-Russian
-Mongolian
-Khmer/Cambodian
-Japanese

On previous instances in this forum, I have belittled people learning languages like Japanese and Italian since I considered them to be of little practical use in the future. I rescind this argument as I have included Japanese here - they will continue to be important outward investors in the Asia-Pacific region and own a fiat currency.
07-06-2011 11:06 AM
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OSL Offline
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RE: Essential International Business Languages
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lan...e_speakers

Correction - I listed languages in which I claimed to be "advanced to fluent", but my French is intermediate at best.
(This post was last modified: 07-06-2011 11:09 AM by OSL.)
07-06-2011 11:08 AM
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Vacancier Permanent Offline
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RE: Essential International Business Languages
Learning a language can be not just for business purposes. I for example, have absolutely not the slightest interest in China or Chinese culture, however, I do know that for business, it's vital for anyone wanting to get into the humongous Chinese market. I speak Italian fluently that I learned on my own as I love Italy and Italian culture while I have not much interest there for business at least for the immediate future, in a more distant future, who knows. So you have to distinguish why you are learning a language, is it for business/career purposes or for your own interest/personal growth. Of the languages I speak, French, Portuguese, Italian, English, Farsi and Spanish all were learned first and foremost due to my personal interest in these countries/cultures. Well, French as I grew up in France and Farsi as that's my family's background, but other than that, before I learn a language, I ask myself whether I do have an interest in the country/culture as learning a language is an ongoing process and it takes your personal desire and self motivation to learn it and for that, you need to have interest in that country and its culture. Even tough I signed up for Chinese this semester at a local college, I stopped going as I have no interest in the country/culture at this time, other than the very hot girls. That might be a reason all by itself to rekindle my interest for China/Chinese mandarin LOL. I also adore Japan and am in love with Japanese culture so I've been studying that language also at a college this semester very seriously. Portuguese because I have always been fascinated by Brasil and as I keep on always saying, I'm Brasilian by heart, so business had nothing to do in my decision to start learning portuguese 6-7 years ago. Then, after going there, I saw the potential there and then business became an important part of things when I go to Brasil. All in all, people or at least me, it's not mainly for business purposes but for personal and then, as an extension, business that when I decide to start learning a new language.

As to languages I'd be interested to learn again based on my interest in the country/culture are:
Thai
Javanese/Indonesian
Tagalog
Russian
Arabic
Chinese (eventually as the market and opportunities there are too good to ignore).
I think those will keep me busy for a while as it'll be an ongoing process for the remainder of my life.
(This post was last modified: 07-06-2011 04:43 PM by Vacancier Permanent.)
07-06-2011 04:34 PM
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dk902 Offline
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RE: Essential International Business Languages
(07-06-2011 04:34 PM)Vacancier Permanent Wrote:  before I learn a language, I ask myself whether I do have an interest in the country/culture as learning a language is an ongoing process and it takes your personal desire and self motivation to learn it and for that, you need to have interest in that country and its culture.

This sentence is the most important when it comes to learning a language. It's so true that you have to have an interest in the country/culture/people (women Banana) which maintains your desire and motivation to learn that language. Spanish women helped me learned Spanish faster than you wouldn't believe when I lived in Spain.

I think your story with learning Mandarin Chinese resonates also with me, as I think it will be important business wise for opportunities in the future. However, the country, culture and the people do not really interest me for the moment.

I am a native English speaker and speak fluent French, Spanish, German and halfway there with Italian. I consider the first 4 fundamental in European business, also with international; more so Spanish, i.e. Latin America. However, Italian in my line of work - Finance can also be a niche and I see it as an advantage for me, as there aren't a lot of native English speakers who speak Italian. Also I work with an Italian and it's so similar to Spanish it's a no-brainer. So perhaps try to think of an angle you can work with learning a new language and what niche or opportunity it can bring you?

I intend to live and work in Europe for the near future so my list of languages are very EU heavy - so I think in the next couple of years I need to add to them. Brazil is high on my travelling priority list along with its beautiful ladies too Vacancier, so Portuguese is next, and who knows...Russian...or Mandarin?
(This post was last modified: 07-06-2011 05:11 PM by dk902.)
07-06-2011 05:07 PM
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UgSlayer Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Essential International Business Languages
If you're conversational in Spanish, learning Portuguese will be a cinch. You can probably get it done in a couple of months by buying a portuguese textbook for grammar differences and watching Brazilian movies with subtitles for the accent and vocabulary differences. Good investment imho, since most Brazilian movies that are exported and subtitled are at the very least watchable.
07-07-2011 03:11 PM
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