Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Picking a Language to Study

As part of the linguistics MA at BYU, I have to study two foreign language: one to the 300-level, and the other to the 200-level. One of the languages has to be non-Germanic and non-Romance, so that rules out taking French and German together, which would be my first choice. I’ve studied French for a total of five and a half years (three in junior high and another one and a half in college), and though I can still read it decently well, I certainly couldn’t pick up again where I left off. I figured I’d go with French and something else (Russian? Hebrew? Welsh, assuming that it’s offered through at least 201?), but I’m not sure I want to keep studying French. I’m starting to feel like maybe I’m tired of it—or rather, I’m tired of having to start over again because I’ve forgotten so much.

My other option, of course, is to learn two languages from the beginning. The problem is that I applied to begin the MA program summer term, but none of the linguistics classes I need are offered then. My plan was to take just a language class that term, but it appears that of all the options I’m interested in, French is probably the only one I can take—101, 102, and 201 are all offered summer term, but 101 is not offered for German, Russian, Hebrew, Welsh, or most anything else.

And that’s where I start to get this crazy idea about starting with German 102. Brinestone took two years of German in college and got pretty good, and she’s taught me some basic vocabulary and grammar. And I took a semester of Old English, so that gives me a bit of head start. And I worked through several Rosetta Stone exercises last night (hooray for free access through the county library!) and then read most of a chapter in Brinestone’s old textbook. I was surprised at how much I understood.

So, the question is, can I get through all the German 101 material in under three months just by studying on my own? Or should I give up on that idea, stick with French, and maybe study German some other time? I guess I’ve still got a few months to decide.

Graduate School 4 Replies to “Picking a Language to Study”
Jonathon Owen


4 thoughts on “Picking a Language to Study

    Author’s gravatar

    You can totally do it, and probably without much trouble, either. I say go for it.

    Author’s gravatar

    Yeah, you’ll rock it.

    Author’s gravatar

    I agree. You already have an aptitude and interest in languages — it’s just a matter of picking up vocabulary and basic grammar. I think you could even knock out German 102, but that might be more of a stretch. German doesn’t really become difficult until you hit the more complex grammar.

    And I’m totally jealous that your library offers Rosetta Stone. My county library dropped the license a few months ago.

    Author’s gravatar

    I suppose it’s not going to hurt to try studying German on my own. I can always take the placement test before the term starts and then decide if I’m really ready to dive in or not.

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