Help finding a fourth language (that I would actually want to learn)

I just joined today, and it was mainly to ask this question here where I know there are many polyglots or aspiring polyglots. I was raised with both English and Spanish, so for a long time I felt being bilingual was adequate. In high school, I started working on getting to a more advanced level in Spanish, since all I had was the basic things you learn at home. In the process, I started thinking that it might be fun to learn a third language.

In September I started learning Japanese, which I mostly picked because I like the way it sounds and I wanted to learn a language unrelated to the European language group. I’ve learned about 1500 kanji (but more than half are passive memory only), and I think I’m currently at what Steve calls the second stage, with “Less than 10% unknown words in most conversations,” although that percentage increases significantly if the conversation is about a subject I have little knowledge in. All in all, it’s been a lot easier than I expected, especially after hearing how hard Japanese is. I think the grammar is much simpler than Spanish, and the kanji make it easier to remember vocabulary words.

Now that I’ve realized how fun and rewarding learning a new language can be, I’m sure that I don’t want to limit myself to just three. However, I’m having trouble finding another one that meets my somewhat picky qualifications: something I like the sound of, from a region whose culture I’m interested in, and that has a lot of interesting media available online for free. I considered learning another Romance language, since that would be the easiest, but I don’t like the sound of French, and I haven’t found anything in Portuguese or Italian that I’m interested in. I considered Mandarin, but I don’t really have much interest in Chinese culture, so it would be hard to stay motivated.

I guess I was lucky to pick Japanese, since there seems to be a huge overseas community of fans that are willing to write transcripts and translations for drama cds, subtitles for everything, and even novel translations. Even though a lot of the material available is breaking copyright laws, I can’t really object since as an unemployed student there’s no other way I could have acquired hundreds of hours of drama cds, audio books, radio shows, and music, not to mention plenty of dramas, manga, and light novels.

Obviously by the time I’m ready to start another language, I should have some disposable income to spend on it, which will make the “available online for free” qualification less important in the future. So what I’m mainly looking for here is just for you guys to throw some ideas my way; tell me what’s awesome about your language (or the language you’re studying) and why I should be interested in it.

Wow, sorry that post was so long. You can skip everything up to the last sentence if you don’t feel like reading it.

…and by September I meant November. Sorry.

I actually never looked into online language learning communities until quite recently, and I was surprised to find that there are so many sites and so much discussion about the best methods to use. I’ve been using the input method, and focusing on learning kanji and picking up vocabulary through reading and listening. The grammar seems to come naturally now that I’ve heard the patterns over and over. I’ve been having fun reading Steve’s blog, since I agree with pretty much everything he says.

Are you going for conversational fluency, written fluency or all four skills in Japanese? If you are aiming for a high level of fluency (somewhere between Japanese Language Proficiency Test Levels 1 and 2) you may wish to learn all the jōyō kanji (常用漢字) before moving on to another language.

Perhaps you are more gifted than I am, but I see Japanese as almost a lifetime learning project.

Maybe Russian would fit your needs.

Wait, did you confess to being a lawbreaker?

I NEVER said I wanted to move on to another language immediately. I’m only 20 so I’m pretty sure I have plenty of time to get fluent in Japanese. I would just like to hear some opinions on the good points of various languages, since I really don’t know much about them. I picked Japanese kind of at random.

Haha, “lawbreaker.” It’s not like any Japanese companies are losing a customer or missing out on a sale when I download content that isn’t even for sale in the U.S. Pretty much the only thing that is licensed and sold over here is anime, and I don’t like it very much. You must be from a different generation, since most of the people I know have no problem downloading games, music, movies, etc. I don’t do that normally, but at the same time there’s no way I can pay $20 plus shipping for an hour and a half long drama cd that I might not even like.

I was joking, but if you only want polyglots age 20 and younger to respond, then you will miss a lot of members really, really old people…like age 27, or 30. Don’t ask Steve, he must be at least 35.

I never said it was a bad thing that you were older. I definitely want to hear from people of all ages. I was just trying to explain something that is completely normal and not even debated among people of my age group. Sorry if it came across wrong.

By the way, what is this “CD” of which you speak? Can I play it on my victor talking machine? Now, let’s see according to copyright law…and your confession (not coerced in any way)

People always think I’m older than I am until they see me, then they think I’m younger.

welcome to LingQ :slight_smile:

If you like to argue, I would definitely recommend to learn Russian :slight_smile: But speaking with Russians be prepared to hear comments of all kinds: from very polite to strongly impolite.

Anyway, I see that you’ve studied lots of languages. Do you have any ideas besides Russian (which I probably won’t attempt; I don’t think I would be good at it. The only reason I’ve done somewhat ok with Japanese is because the grammar isn’t complicated, and there were zero new sounds.)

Sorry, the above post was meant for Mait. And I don’t like to argue, I’m kind of a shy person…

The drama CDs I was talking about are something that have been extremely useful; they are basically a dramatized version of a manga or novel. Much more interesting than an audio book, and they use famous voice actors so the acting quality is usually high. I can’t think of an English equivalent. It’s also possible to find the original work that they based the script on if a transcript isn’t available.

That’s true…and he’ll need a place to hide when I report him for infringement of copyright law. The Russian Federation is vast.

Ok, maybe this was the wrong place to come.

How much grammar do you know? I have three thick volumes of Japanese grammar (the last one came out in 2008) from The Japan Times. I’m like, almost terrified to even open it, but I do because I am very, very brave…:smiley:

Portuguese (cool language of the future), German (big library here), French (not for you), Russian (big language and culture), Korean (popular dramas. Japanese girls love them.), Mandarin (passport to other Chinese languages, there is a way to learn Mandarin through color now), Italian (great culture and people), and there is Swedish. I don’t know much about Swedish, but it’s similar to Norwegian and Danish so you can get three languages for the price of one in a way.

There is always Arabic/Greek and Hebrew if you are very serious.

When I was twenty I could only kinda speak two and a half languages…wait, that’s just like you…Have fun at LingQ. Btw, Cakupa (Sakura in Russian Cyrillic) is very smart. Listen to her.

Wait, there is also Thai. I noticed that the 101podcasts are adding Thai-a good sign that it is moving up in popularity.

As French, Portuguese, Italian and Mandarin have been already struck out of the list of you-want-to-learn languages, and you know English, Spanish and Japanese, LingQ can offer you only

  • German
  • Russian
  • Swedish
  • Korean.

In fact, I find only German and Russian to meet your requirements.

"- something I like the sound of,

  • from a region whose culture I’m interested in,
  • and that has a lot of interesting media available online for free."

As the first two requirement are personal, only you can judge if some language meets them or not.

I personally prefer Swedish, but it seems Swedish does not meet your 3d requirement.
I know that there are a lot of free media online for Russian. (online radio, podcasts, torrents after all…)
It seems German section of LingQ library are very big.
Korean… I am not interested in Korean at all, that’s why I can’t say anything.

I like Korean, and Swedish also appeals to me a bit. So yeah, those might be good candidates. Mandarin would probably be useful, but I don’t like the way it sounds… I used to think I would get used to it if I listened to it a lot, but then I had a roommate who spoke it really loud on the phone all the time and that didn’t help. I don’t think I’ll ever be like Steve, with 12+ languages. Probably 4 or 5 is enough.

As far as Japanese grammar goes, I’m not really sure how much I know, or rather don’t know. I did look over a few short grammar texts, but I think that will be more relevant when I want to speak and write more. I haven’t found the grammar too confusing; maybe because all I heard before was how hard it was, so I went in expecting the worst. For now I’m still mostly listening/reading, and I don’t have any major gaps in listening comprehension anymore, unless it’s something full of medical or scientific terms that I haven’t studied at all. I was in Alaska with no internet for two months, and didn’t study any kanji at all during that time, which was a bad idea.

One thing that I found funny was going on a Japanese video site similar to Youtube, and searching for videos in Spanish, to see what they think it sounds like. The comments were pretty interesting. Some of them think Spanish sounds like Chinese, and a few said it sounded like Kansai-ben. And a lot of them noted how all the vowel sounds are the same.

(by the way, I’m a girl. You seem to think I’m a guy.)

Cakypa- It doesn’t have to be something offered on lingq.