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Author Topic: Best Languages to Learn for Science?  (Read 5625 times)

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nomonitor

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Best Languages to Learn for Science?
« on: November 03, 2010, 05:11:21 AM »

I'm a sophomore majoring in Chemistry in the United States and my first language is English.  My career aspirations are to attend grad school and conduct research.  I'm required to take a couple semesters of a foreign language and I'm wondering what some of the best languages are to learn for the purpose of communicating with other scientists internationally.

I only have space in my schedule to pursue one language as of right now, what might be a good one?

Thanks
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nj_bartel

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Re: Best Languages to Learn for Science?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2010, 06:39:12 AM »

German and Japanese both seem to be big for chemistry.
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wpenrose

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Re: Best Languages to Learn for Science?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2010, 03:13:19 PM »

Much modern chemistry is done in China. You can see this by looking at the journals. But Chinese is an extraordinarily difficult language to learn. Consider German, which at least gives you access to much of the old, pre World War I chemical literature. If you can take 'scientific German', so much the better, since it's targeted at the sort of language used in science. Also, you are only really concerned with German --> English, not the other way 'round.

Dangerous Bill
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nomonitor

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Re: Best Languages to Learn for Science?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2010, 02:35:51 PM »

Thanks for the input, I think I'll sign up for German.

 :)
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FreeTheBee

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Re: Best Languages to Learn for Science?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2010, 10:08:55 AM »

When it comes to communication nowadays English is by far most important, so you're lucky there. A fair amount of older literature is written in German and French. In some fields Russian could be useful as well.
I think German is a good choice.
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TheUnfocusedOne

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Re: Best Languages to Learn for Science?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 08:25:32 AM »

From what I've heard most manufacturing of chemicals happens in China.  Not a bad idea to bone up on your Mandarian.
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Organic Mark

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Re: Best Languages to Learn for Science?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2010, 03:29:26 AM »

Many of the old chemistry textbooks were written in German. Actually, if you studied chemistry some decades back, Germany was required because not all of it was translated into English yet.
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