More Intelligent Life has an interesting series concerning what the best foreign language to learn is. The contenders are Arabic, Chinese, French, Latin, and Brazilian Portuguese. If we interpret “best” to mean “most useful,” and if I had to choose from only those languages mentioned, I would have to go with Brazilian Portuguese. To be honest, the best language to learn really varies depending on one’s situation.
This quote from Josie Delap’s article extolling the virtues of Arabic made me laugh:
When you understand how beautifully Arabic fits together – why the root meaning “west” leads to the words for “sunset” and “strange” – the sense of illumination is sublimely satisfying. No mere French subjunctive or Russian instrumental can do that.
Admittedly I cannot speak for French – as it has been much too long since I studied that language – but you’re wrong, Josie. Nothing compares to the satisfaction of learning the Russian case system. 😉