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    Foreign Languages for Concept Artists

    I'm going to be entering college this fall and I am wondering what foreign language(s) I should learn to assist my future in the concept art industry.
    I am confident it is not necessary to learn a language besides English since it is so widely used for business. Nevertheless, I believe understanding a foreign language might improve my cohesiveness in working with others who speak the same foreign language. Besides, I have always wanted to become multi-lingual!

    So tell me, what language(s) do you find useful with your work?

    What language(s) do you suggest I take?

    Thanks!

    -Wiggs


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    I think English would be sufficient enough. Since you already mastered that language it's time to take it a step further. Since the two largest populations on the world live in India and China I would suggest Hindi or Mandarin. But those two languages are quite difficult...

    On a more serious approach why not try an European language? German, French or Spanish. I mean, there are a lot of people in different countries that speak French and a big part of South America speaks Spanish....so why not look at it like that?

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    I vote Japanese, Japan is one of the largest growing industries in concept art and gaming. Not to mention it's a pretty sweet language to learn. but that's just me. I would also suggest that you pick up french, German, and maybe even mandarin. but mandarin is hella hard to learn... with all those tonal inflects *shivers*
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostFayth View Post
    I think English would be sufficient enough. Since you already mastered that language it's time to take it a step further. Since the two largest populations on the world live in India and China I would suggest Hindi or Mandarin. But those two languages are quite difficult...

    On a more serious approach why not try an European language? German, French or Spanish. I mean, there are a lot of people in different countries that speak French and a big part of South America speaks Spanish....so why not look at it like that?
    I was considering learning Spanish first since I live in the South (meaning many people in the work force already speak it) and many of my friends are fluent. Then I was considering learning French since many of the artists I have encountered face to face are fluent in French (also several members of my family speak French). Learning German would be fun but I have seen more usefulness in other European languages. As far as Mandarin and Hindi go I'd go with Mandarin; it would be the more beneficial of the two. Wouldn't be a bad idea to begin learning Mandarin just because it is such a largely spoken language.


    Quote Originally Posted by spaztastic View Post
    I vote Japanese, Japan is one of the largest growing industries in concept art and gaming. Not to mention it's a pretty sweet language to learn. but that's just me. I would also suggest that you pick up french, German, and maybe even mandarin. but mandarin is hella hard to learn... with all those tonal inflects *shivers*
    YES!! I wasn't very confident in learning Japanese because I did not know how useful it would be. I'm still a little bit uncertain though; just because it's the fastest growing doesn't mean it's the biggest. BUT! I will agree it is a pretty sweet language. If I were to learn a language for pleasure it would be either Japanese or Hebrew.

    Do you know Japanese spaztastic?





    I know there are also a lot of Russian and Korean speaking artists. Any thoughts?

    -Wiggs

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    wiggs, just because Japan isn't the biggest country YET doesn't mean it doesn't get most of the business and yes I kinda speak Japanese I am very rusty but plan on learning it again. I have all the materials i need, now I just need the time and patience. I also know some Latin, and plan on learning either, french, Italian, Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic.
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    There are only four tones in spoken Mandarin. I didn't think it was any harder than rembering stuff like whether the brakes on my car, or the clock on the wall are male or female (romance languages).

    Written Mandarin requires several years of rote memorization, though.

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    English is more than enough to be honest. Unless your planning to move or something. For you I would go the easy route - learn spanish, since they are the closest different-language neighbors you have.
    Last edited by GriNGo; March 15th, 2010 at 02:58 PM.
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    As China changes from producer to consumer, it'll be the biggest new market for everything.

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    TASmith: bah humbug... everyone knows that India is gonna be bigger than china and eventually rule them.... and it doesn't matter anyway cause Japan is gonna rule the world after 2020... so Wiggles just make sure to learn some Japanese XD
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    I don't know exactly how important it is to be bilingual in the concept art industry.. but, if you're considering, Iwould suggest Mandarin. I'm a few years into learning it now, in highschool, and it really isn't as hard as most people think. It would probably be useful considering the amount of people in the world that speak it, even if Japan may have a more promising entertainment industry..

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    Learning Mandarin or maybe Wu Chinese and visiting Shanghai is probably the best idea.

    I agree with TASmith but China may produce something huge like the Japanese, you never know. I read that they're the fastest-growing consumer of video games, specifically the online RPG like WoW & EverQuest. Naturally they are trying hard to lure that ginormous purchasing power back away from foriegn companies and gain control of it with their own stuff.
    Last edited by biglu; March 15th, 2010 at 08:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spaztastic View Post
    wiggs, just because Japan isn't the biggest country YET doesn't mean it doesn't get most of the business and yes I kinda speak Japanese I am very rusty but plan on learning it again. I have all the materials i need, now I just need the time and patience. I also know some Latin, and plan on learning either, french, Italian, Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic.
    Haha, oh whatevs spaztastic.

    Very cool!! I know some Latin and Greek myself and I can recite a multitude of different fish, shellfish and crustaceans and some phrases in Japanese.


    Quote Originally Posted by Marlee. View Post
    I don't know exactly how important it is to be bilingual in the concept art industry.. but, if you're considering, Iwould suggest Mandarin. I'm a few years into learning it now, in highschool, and it really isn't as hard as most people think. It would probably be useful considering the amount of people in the world that speak it, even if Japan may have a more promising entertainment industry..
    How long have you been taking classes? I'm curious to know your progress over the time you've been taking the classes.



    So far there's a lot of support for learning Chinese and not a whole for anything else. I still have a couple of months before I make my final decision so I'm in no rush.


    I'm projecting the future of my foreign language studies and I've run into a dilemma: how long does it take to learn a language. Everyone learns at their own pace and everyone learns differently. My thoughts are it will take at least 2 years to understand the basics of a language and 3 years to become a novice.

    Can anyone tell me from their experiences in learning a language how long it took them to learn a language to a certain point?

    -Wiggs

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    Hey wiggs, it took me 4 years to learn Japanese however I did a majority of my learning in about 6 months with a friend of mine who is from Japan. I actually learned more from her than anything. I however tend to learn fastest through immersion as my brain has been hardwired that way since I was like 2 and lived in Germany, where I picked up quite a bit and knew how to speak by the time we left when I was 5.... however since I never had a chance to speak German in the states as most 5 and 6 year old Americans don't know it, all I remember now are the most important words..... the bad ones XD
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaztastic View Post
    Hey wiggs, it took me 4 years to learn Japanese however I did a majority of my learning in about 6 months with a friend of mine who is from Japan. I actually learned more from her than anything. I however tend to learn fastest through immersion as my brain has been hardwired that way since I was like 2 and lived in Germany, where I picked up quite a bit and knew how to speak by the time we left when I was 5.... however since I never had a chance to speak German in the states as most 5 and 6 year old Americans don't know it, all I remember now are the most important words..... the bad ones XD

    Neato! That's pretty sweet that you picked up on Japanese so quickly. Sad how you don't remember all of German but at least you remember the best parts, eh?

    I'm actually going to be learning through Rosetta Stone. I've heard fabulous things about it and I'm willing to invest in learning my first second language from them. As to how I'm supposed to keep speaking Chinese I know of a website that offers interactive-online conversations with people who are fluent in whatever language you wish to speak. Y'all ought to check it out!

    http://www.livemocha.com/

    -Wiggs

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    Recommend Mandarin Chinese only if they're teaching traditional characters.
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    I'm going to learn French next (read: Ubisooooft)

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    Chinese is one of the hardest languages to learn. One thing is knowing the vocab and grammar but another thing entirely is understanding actual chinese when spoken. Learning chinese is a very long process that needs a lot of commitment. I'd actually suggest Spanish or French instead, both quite widespread, too, and a lot of people speak these languages as their second language. Since you're American, probably Spanish would be more useful.

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    I'm not a professional, but I took it upon myself to learn Japanese and German. Really don't want to learn Spanish or Chinese, but I'll probably pick up Chinese and Latin later in life.

    Japanese is pretty easy to learn, speaking. The hard part is reading and writing their languages as they have anywhere between 4-5,000 characters to learn before they can read the local paper. You'll have to learn Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Not to mention Romanji which is the english looking words: Watashi wa nihongo ga hanashimas ka.

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    Rosetta Stone is pretty awesome I will say. And Stark you are oh so right about the amount wordage one must learn before they can read the daily's blech... I was doing good until laziness overcame me after I graduated hs...
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    I'm pretty much decided on taking Chinese and then Japanese. Though I'm sure it will not be necessary to speak either for business (yet) but I'm sure it will come in handy.

    Also, I have been told Chinese and Japanese are related to one another like French is to Italian. Is this true? I know the Romance Languages - French, Italian, Spanish, English and Romanian - are all related thanks to Latin. Are some Asian languages related by a common root this as well?

    Thanks!

    -Wiggs

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    Hey Wiggs in a distant way Japanese is related to Chinese, Cantonese not mandarin. Although they do use Kanji which is Chinese script. I suppose once you understand the basics of Mandarin and Cantonese you will understand the basics of Japanese... I have a theory that Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin are the stems of most modern language, so if you learn those you should be able to understand the base concept of almost all languages. I am not sure where anglo saxon stems from but it would be fun to find out. Oh learning Latin Helped to pick up Japanese faster, so that might be thought for you. either way you will have fun learning a whole new language. Just be sure to practice it daily or you will forget.....
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    Haha, so what you are telling me spaz is that Japanese and Chinese are related fundamentally but not all throughout.

    Knowing Latin will help me learn Japanese? Are the changes in the words similar when changing the parts of speech? I took Latin for my foreign language my first two years in high school (and would have continued all the way through if I did not have to devote so much of my time to math since I'm so terrible at it).

    I'm interested to see how Hebrew and Aramaic play into other languages, most especially Hebrew!! One day far far in the future I will learn Hebrew. I love the culture and I love the language. I plan on visiting Israel one day so long that it is still on the face of the planet.

    And no matter what language I learn I have family, friends and livemocha.com; I am sure I will never be at a loss of someone to talk to.

    -Wiggs
    Last edited by Wiggles; March 17th, 2010 at 01:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spaztastic View Post
    Rosetta Stone is pretty awesome I will say.
    I would really like to get this for Japanese. Learning the language is not essential, but it would still be a really cool accomplishment, and considering Japanese is a huge force in game design it could easily have some benefit down the road.

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    Hey Wiggs, I think Aramaic would be more helpful base wise than Latin, but Latin is spoken similarly to Japanese grammatically wise. Aramaic and Arabic are written similarly to Japanese, Hebrew is kinda the base for most languages I think most Germanic ones anyway, and Aramaic and Egyptian is for most Asian ones. Basically if you start learning any language it will help with others because of the part of the brain used to learn it. kinda like learning basic math helps get you to more advanced math once you understand the concept. as well as how chess helps with logic and strategies, and math helps with music. like that, anyway I am done bloviating* .
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    Liffey Rosetta stone is awesome, and well worth the price. If you can get an educational discount do, because it takes off quite a chunk.
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    Uh, I'll be really honest here. I don't get why you people want to learn Chinese. I know it's the biggest economy and growing and whatnot, BUT, the only real people who would need to learn the languague are the ones who translate games, and everyone else, doesn't have an excuse to lose time in this type of thing. You don't intend on even going to China, so why bother?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GriNGo View Post
    Uh, I'll be really honest here. I don't get why you people want to learn Chinese. I know it's the biggest economy and growing and whatnot, BUT, the only real people who would need to learn the languague are the ones who translate games, and everyone else, doesn't have an excuse to lose time in this type of thing. You don't intend on even going to China, so why bother?


    Your post epitomizes the exact reason why I created this thread. What better way to discover the importance of learning a foreign language than through the eyes of those in the art industry? I pose the question simply because I don't know the answer myself.



    Let me ask you: don't you think it would be beneficial to you if you could freelance for folks who don't speak your language? Since China will most likely be expanding its economy I would expect more job opportunities to start popping up for people who can understand Chinese. Same goes to Japan and their economy. And even if their markets don't expand I am sure knowing either would increase job opportunities both in the corporate world and freelance, yes?



    On side note, I am not trying to get people to learn Chinese. I want people to post their opinions on what language(s) they want to learn and why and vis versa with languages they don't endorse.



    Why learn Chinese? Because it would be fun!! And who knows, I might want to travel to China one day. I never throw away an idea because it occurs inconceivable.



    -Wiggs

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    Answer to your question. You have a point about the freelancing, but you forget to note that almost everybody in the world is already busting their asses off trying to learn english. I'm pretty sure if someone contacts you, or if someone posts a job online in search of talented foreigners (even if the job is in China,Japan), the offer/contact/interview will be in English. Now if you plan on moving to these countries, then everything changes... but if you intend to just travel for tourism, then I would rather waste my time developing my art skills. When your an adult, its tough to learn new languages. Anyways, good luck on whatever decision you take.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GriNGo View Post
    Answer to your question. You have a point about the freelancing, but you forget to note that almost everybody in the world is already busting their asses off trying to learn english. I'm pretty sure if someone contacts you, or if someone posts a job online in search of talented foreigners (even if the job is in China,Japan), the offer/contact/interview will be in English. Now if you plan on moving to these countries, then everything changes... but if you intend to just travel for tourism, then I would rather waste my time developing my art skills. When your an adult, its tough to learn new languages. Anyways, good luck on whatever decision you take.
    WOW. Do all people who speak English natively think like this? That learning another language is pointless and a waste of time because everyone speaks English anyway?

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    Sticks actually if every American thought that way we would all pick up spanish...
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