Most useful foreign language for lawyers

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robcataus
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby robcataus » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:35 pm

lol, this thread totally got hijacked.

AbsolutLax
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby AbsolutLax » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:42 pm

If they tend to categorize Cantonese and Mandarin under the same name of 中文 (instead of 普通话 and 广东话), we can too.


Just stop trying, you have no idea what you are talking about. The point i'm getting at is why even include Cantonese if it's pointless to learn. Mandarin is the largest spoken language in China, both among the general population and in the Chinese professional world. Cantonese is mainly spoken in Guangdong (where Guangzhou/Canton is the capital) and Guangxi provinces. The only reason Cantonese has been important thus far is because Hong Kong put pressure on the rest of China to learn it, but now with Mandarin becoming more popular there in the schools, Cantonese is even less necessary.

Maybe you should know a little background about the language before you make blind claims that you want to learn it.

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robcataus
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby robcataus » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:50 pm

AbsolutLax wrote:
If they tend to categorize Cantonese and Mandarin under the same name of 中文 (instead of 普通话 and 广东话), we can too.


Just stop trying, you have no idea what you are talking about. The point i'm getting at is why even include Cantonese if it's pointless to learn. Mandarin is the largest spoken language in China, both among the general population and in the Chinese professional world. Cantonese is mainly spoken in Guangdong (where Guangzhou/Canton is the capital) and Guangxi provinces. The only reason Cantonese has been important thus far is because Hong Kong put pressure on the rest of China to learn it, but now with Mandarin becoming more popular there in the schools, Cantonese is even less necessary.

Maybe you should know a little background about the language before you make blind claims that you want to learn it.


wtf? Is your period late? I wasn't saying anything offensive or argumentative. You made a claim that no such language as "Chinese" exists; that what we are referring to as "Chinese" is called "Mandarin" (opposed to Cantonese and the hundreds of other dialects that exist in China). Fair point. I was only making a tongue-in-cheek joke that even many Chinese natives lump up all the languages together and refer to them as "中文" or "Chinese." If they specifically mean "Mandarin," they will refer to it as "普通话." And your claim that Cantonese is pointless to learn is laughable (I know two friends of mine that work in very lucrative jobs in Hong Kong as expats, and it was because they were two of a VERY few Americans who spoke Cantonese fluently that they got the job--believe me, they didn't graduate with honors or from an Ivy). You seem to like making extreme statements ("You have no idea what you are talking about" -- someone may be wrong from time to time, but taking it as far as saying they have no idea what they are talking about is often incorrect in itself), which won't serve you well in life, let alone the legal world.

AbsolutLax
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby AbsolutLax » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:00 pm

Listen pal, you got digitally bitch slapped, just except it. lol

No, but all kidding aside i completely agree that it would be wise to learn Cantonese if you would like to practice in Hong Kong, but other than that and the few regions I mentioned, its not the best choice.

I actually change my mind, I think the most useful language to learn is Pig latin. Think about it, it makes sense. ;)

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como
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby como » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:10 pm

AbsolutLax wrote:Listen pal, you got digitally bitch slapped, just except it. lol

No, but all kidding aside i completely agree that it would be wise to learn Cantonese if you would like to practice in Hong Kong, but other than that and the few regions I mentioned, its not the best choice.

I actually change my mind, I think the most useful language to learn is Pig latin. Think about it, it makes sense. ;)


Which is worse, being 'digitally bitch slapped' or making a digital ass of yourself?

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:10 pm

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Last edited by Snooker on Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:12 pm

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Last edited by Snooker on Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Sobriquet
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Sobriquet » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:13 pm

Not to interrupt this pointless argument, but another question: is there a point to speaking a foreign language without any skill in reading/writing it? I am orally fluent in a native language that may or may not be useful, but I can't read or write more than ~20 words.

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como
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby como » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:21 pm

Sobriquet wrote:Not to interrupt this pointless argument, but another question: is there a point to speaking a foreign language without any skill in reading/writing it? I am orally fluent in a native language that may or may not be useful, but I can't read or write more than ~20 words.


I think so. You wouldn't be doing transactional work in that language, but you could definitely help communicate finer points with clients, or just go the extra mile making a client feel comfortable and what not.

de5igual
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby de5igual » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:25 pm

Snooker wrote:Well rob, the problem with the categorization is of translating it all into English.

If a cantonese person said:
"Wo sik gong jeungman" (我識講中文)
you'd translate it into mandarin as:
"Wo hui jiang guangdonghua" (我会讲广东话)
And translate it into English as, "I can speak Cantonese." You need to follow mandarin as a base for cantonese->English translations.

If the cantonese person said:
'Wo m'sik gong guokyu" (我唔識講國語)
You'd translate it into beijing mandarin as:
"Wo bu hui jiang zhongwen" (我不会讲中文)
And for Taiwanese mandarin, you'd just leave the base terms along:
"Wo bu hui jiang guoyu" (我不会讲国语)
Any of which would translate into, "I can't speak Mandarin", but the beijing dialect uses "Zhongwen" (Chinese) because Guoyu (National Language) is an obsolete term that now refers to Mandarin from the Taiwanese perspective.



fixed

i sort of disagree with the second point. if i were to translate that cantonese sentence into mandarin, i wouldn't use 中文 as a replacement for 國語. because then, you're 強調ing the distinction between the two 方言s.

how's that for chinglish.

de5igual
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby de5igual » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:28 pm

como wrote:
Sobriquet wrote:Not to interrupt this pointless argument, but another question: is there a point to speaking a foreign language without any skill in reading/writing it? I am orally fluent in a native language that may or may not be useful, but I can't read or write more than ~20 words.


I think so. You wouldn't be doing transactional work in that language, but you could definitely help communicate finer points with clients, or just go the extra mile making a client feel comfortable and what not.


but it can also be argued that if you're not at the level where you're able to read/write, is your knowledge of that language truly sufficient to explain legal terminology and the finer points of contractual language?

AbsolutLax
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby AbsolutLax » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:34 pm

being digitally bitch slapped...thanks for the clarification though

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:35 pm

f0bolous wrote:
Snooker wrote:Well rob, the problem with the categorization is of translating it all into English.

If a cantonese person said:
"Wo sik gong jeungman" (我識講中文)
you'd translate it into mandarin as:
"Wo hui jiang guangdonghua" (我会讲广东话)
And translate it into English as, "I can speak Cantonese." You need to follow mandarin as a base for cantonese->English translations.

If the cantonese person said:
'Wo m'sik gong guokyu" (我唔識講國語)
You'd translate it into beijing mandarin as:
"Wo bu hui jiang zhongwen" (我不会讲中文)
And for Taiwanese mandarin, you'd just leave the base terms along:
"Wo bu hui jiang guoyu" (我不会讲国语)
Any of which would translate into, "I can't speak Mandarin", but the beijing dialect uses "Zhongwen" (Chinese) because Guoyu (National Language) is an obsolete term that now refers to Mandarin from the Taiwanese perspective.



fixed

i sort of disagree with the second point. if i were to translate that cantonese sentence into mandarin, i wouldn't use 中文 as a replacement for 國語. because then, you're 強調ing the distinction between the two 方言s.

how's that for chinglish.


oh goodness I was caught using the mandarin characters to describe cantonese, my reputation as a chinese speaker is doomed >_<.

I am the kind of guy who tries to say "so delicious!" in cantonese and says "so horny!" instead. impossible/useless to learn -- no good teachers.

As for replacing guoyu with zhongwen, that's how it's said in beijing mandarin. Technically, in beijing linguistics, guoyu refers to taiwan mandarin, so is replaced with zhongwen. Cantonese still uses guoyu, a relic from sun yat sen, but that's not reflected in mainstream mandarin.
Last edited by Snooker on Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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como
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby como » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:36 pm

I should have said that it can ONLY be an advantage. If you're not comfortable using that language in a certain context, you should use your professional discretion. At the same time, it cannot hurt to speak and understand a foreign language (even if only to the extent that lay people speak it).

Snooker
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Snooker » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:41 pm

AbsolutLax wrote:Mandarin then Spanish

People keep refering to Chinese as if there was some language with this name...


Chinese usually means Mandarin, the language of business in China.

mr.undroppable
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby mr.undroppable » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:51 pm

it is ridiculous to claim learning the language is harder as an adult. Assuming people get `fluent` at their native language around the time they are in high school think about it like this: Have you put yourself in a total immersion environment for 15 years and not been able to attain fluency? I have a very good guess that unless you have some kind of horrific learning disability which prevents you from learning `language` in general, that 15 years living in China, going to elementary school and spending all day learning the chinese characters, math, science, etc in Chinese, that after 15 years you would be pretty damn fluent.

The problem is adults who think that they can get fluent in a few years by spending an hour or two a day studying the language. In reality, adults can learn much much faster than children because they have access to the abstract concepts behind most words so they only have to learn the `word` for each abstract concept instead of the word and the concept (which is why ten year olds sound like idiots even in their native language - it takes a long time).

The problem is that it takes terrific motivation to put in the time to become fluent, not that children are better, per se, at learning language.

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robcataus
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby robcataus » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:18 pm

mr.undroppable wrote:it is ridiculous to claim learning the language is harder as an adult. Assuming people get `fluent` at their native language around the time they are in high school think about it like this: Have you put yourself in a total immersion environment for 15 years and not been able to attain fluency? I have a very good guess that unless you have some kind of horrific learning disability which prevents you from learning `language` in general, that 15 years living in China, going to elementary school and spending all day learning the chinese characters, math, science, etc in Chinese, that after 15 years you would be pretty damn fluent.

The problem is adults who think that they can get fluent in a few years by spending an hour or two a day studying the language. In reality, adults can learn much much faster than children because they have access to the abstract concepts behind most words so they only have to learn the `word` for each abstract concept instead of the word and the concept (which is why ten year olds sound like idiots even in their native language - it takes a long time).

The problem is that it takes terrific motivation to put in the time to become fluent, not that children are better, per se, at learning language.


Forgive me for saying this matter-of-factly without providing citation, but it has been relatively well-researched that infants are better at picking up language than adults are. If you're interested in it, google it, but I'm in class, and I'd rather spend this time replying:) One example is simply that adults no matter how immersed they are in another language, are constantly being counter-weighted by their mother tongue (thoughts, for example). Infants lack this burden. Anecdotal of this is the fact that I have never met someone who learned a language in their adulthood who didn't retain an accent. My stepmother speaks 7 languages, French originally, and has lived in the US for 14 years. She now admits that her English is better than her French (since she does her work in English), but you can hear her accent from a mile away.

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robcataus
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby robcataus » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:23 pm

AbsolutLax wrote:Listen pal, you got digitally bitch slapped, just except it. lol


Normally I hate people who correct grammar/punctuation, but in the context of your insult, that's hilarious.

mr.undroppable
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby mr.undroppable » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:02 pm

robcataus wrote:She now admits that her English is better than her French (since she does her work in English), but you can hear her accent from a mile away.


Fluency doesn`t necessarily mean perfect accent. Lots of adults sound like fools because of their accent even in their native language. Your post proves my point, after 14 years in the U.S. your mom`s English is probably pretty close to fluent (by fluent I mean she can speak, read, write, and listen at around a high school graduate`s level) and my guess is that if she were subjected to playground taunts over her accent she could probably fix that too. Riddle me this batman, why would it be harder for an Australian, Brit, or any other variation of English speaker to fake an american accent (like actors do all the time in movies) than it would be for a foreigner with the same vocabulary to do the same to get rid of their foreign accent?

Whether or not infants pick up language faster or not is irrelevant. I can pick up a phrasebook and speak better than an infant in any language in a matter of minutes. The problem is infants get 24/7 exposure to the language for their entire youth while adult learners of a foreign language have much more limited exposure, which is a fact that does not require a citation.

TheJudge
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby TheJudge » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:03 pm

mr.undroppable wrote:it is ridiculous to claim learning the language is harder as an adult. Assuming people get `fluent` at their native language around the time they are in high school think about it like this: Have you put yourself in a total immersion environment for 15 years and not been able to attain fluency? I have a very good guess that unless you have some kind of horrific learning disability which prevents you from learning `language` in general, that 15 years living in China, going to elementary school and spending all day learning the chinese characters, math, science, etc in Chinese, that after 15 years you would be pretty damn fluent.

The problem is adults who think that they can get fluent in a few years by spending an hour or two a day studying the language. In reality, adults can learn much much faster than children because they have access to the abstract concepts behind most words so they only have to learn the `word` for each abstract concept instead of the word and the concept (which is why ten year olds sound like idiots even in their native language - it takes a long time).

The problem is that it takes terrific motivation to put in the time to become fluent, not that children are better, per se, at learning language.



Haha, you clearly have no understanding of the concept of learning. Tell your viewpoint to the generations of researchers of child and adult learning who all have supported the conclusion that children learn much faster and easier with regards to languages because they actually don't "learn" the language, they just emulate what they hear. This is the whole concept behind the Rosetta Stone programs, which btw, are considered the best and most effective language training programs out there. How do you think children who grow up bi-or even trilingually manage to separate and become fluent in three languages? Yeah right, I remember seeing all these four year olds sitting in their room learning vocab from dusk til dawn....

mr.undroppable
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby mr.undroppable » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:19 pm

TheJudge wrote:Haha, you clearly have no understanding of the concept of learning


I have several years of experience teaching ESL students I also study foreign languages myself.

You are making an assumption which I never espoused, that adults and children learn in the same way. Adults learn faster exactly because they aren`t restricted to just emulating, they just need to learn the arbitrary pronunciations of words they already possess the abstract meaning of in their native language. I am not discounting the Rosetta system, but what I mean is that emulating abstract concepts takes longer for children. How many five year olds even understand the concept of something so everyday as `disappointment` or `empathy?`

You are also assuming that the only way to study vocab is by `studying` it `in your room from dusk till dawn.` Children are assaulted with new vocab all day (at home, from friends, from the tv, at school, and on and on), most adult learners probably take an hour or two a day to try to read or watch something in the language they are studying, the volume of the vocab they are being exposed to is not something you can compare. That is, unless the adult learner is totally immersed, which is what I have been saying is required to become bi-lingual (and what the Rosetta stone software is trying to simulate).

If kids learn so quickly then why would a fourth year language student at college most definitely be better at reading and writing then a four year old native speaker? The problem is that after college most people stop studying or simply maintain while the four year old is just beginning to start his language acquisition seriously.

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Sobriquet
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby Sobriquet » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:22 pm

f0bolous wrote:
como wrote:
Sobriquet wrote:Not to interrupt this pointless argument, but another question: is there a point to speaking a foreign language without any skill in reading/writing it? I am orally fluent in a native language that may or may not be useful, but I can't read or write more than ~20 words.


I think so. You wouldn't be doing transactional work in that language, but you could definitely help communicate finer points with clients, or just go the extra mile making a client feel comfortable and what not.


but it can also be argued that if you're not at the level where you're able to read/write, is your knowledge of that language truly sufficient to explain legal terminology and the finer points of contractual language?


In some languages, the ability to read/write is completely separate from the ability to verbally communicate.

Regardless, I agree that I do not have the ability to speak lawyer-talk in this language. But is it really expected that to derive any professional benefit from the ability to speak a second or third language, you must have the ability to "explain legal terminology and the finer points of contractual language"?

TheJudge
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby TheJudge » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:40 pm

mr.undroppable wrote:
TheJudge wrote:Haha, you clearly have no understanding of the concept of learning


I have several years of experience teaching ESL students I also study foreign languages myself.

You are making an assumption which I never espoused, that adults and children learn in the same way. Adults learn faster exactly because they aren`t restricted to just emulating, they just need to learn the arbitrary pronunciations of words they already possess the abstract meaning of in their native language. I am not discounting the Rosetta system, but what I mean is that emulating abstract concepts takes longer for children. How many five year olds even understand the concept of something so everyday as `disappointment` or `empathy?`

You are also assuming that the only way to study vocab is by `studying` it `in your room from dusk till dawn.` Children are assaulted with new vocab all day (at home, from friends, from the tv, at school, and on and on), most adult learners probably take an hour or two a day to try to read or watch something in the language they are studying, the volume of the vocab they are being exposed to is not something you can compare. That is, unless the adult learner is totally immersed, which is what I have been saying is required to become bi-lingual (and what the Rosetta stone software is trying to simulate).

If kids learn so quickly then why would a fourth year language student at college most definitely be better at reading and writing then a four year old native speaker? The problem is that after college most people stop studying or simply maintain while the four year old is just beginning to start his language acquisition seriously.


Well maybe we are talking past each other here. All I am claiming is that young children just pick up a language if they are exposed to it at a young age. Or did you ever have to "learn" English (I assume that is your native). Probably the answer is no. And learning to write and read also wasn't that hard or time consuming in elementary school.

Going back to my original point, I claim that someone who acquires the ability to speak a foreign language as an adult deserves some credit for it because it usually involves a lot of work and continuous learning as opposed to a native speaker who as a child just learns the language in a natural way that doesn't require a lot of hard work (at least not the verbal part).

amyamy
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby amyamy » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:43 pm

... I think my ability to speak chinese has earned me the COA gig (knowledge of the language is not necessary, but given the great number of immigrant cases in the circuit such knowledge would help one way or another).

I wish it would help me to get a job that I like after I got my JD... though I will work hard on grades first.

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robcataus
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Re: Most useful foreign language for lawyers

Postby robcataus » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:33 pm

mr.undroppable wrote:
robcataus wrote:She now admits that her English is better than her French (since she does her work in English), but you can hear her accent from a mile away.


Fluency doesn`t necessarily mean perfect accent. Lots of adults sound like fools because of their accent even in their native language. Your post proves my point, after 14 years in the U.S. your mom`s English is probably pretty close to fluent (by fluent I mean she can speak, read, write, and listen at around a high school graduate`s level) and my guess is that if she were subjected to playground taunts over her accent she could probably fix that too. Riddle me this batman, why would it be harder for an Australian, Brit, or any other variation of English speaker to fake an american accent (like actors do all the time in movies) than it would be for a foreigner with the same vocabulary to do the same to get rid of their foreign accent?

Whether or not infants pick up language faster or not is irrelevant. I can pick up a phrasebook and speak better than an infant in any language in a matter of minutes. The problem is infants get 24/7 exposure to the language for their entire youth while adult learners of a foreign language have much more limited exposure, which is a fact that does not require a citation.


I didn't prove your point. She's been here for 14 years, I believe I was speaking by 2, "fluent" by 3-4. And there's a difference between an accent derived from locale, and an accent affected by your mother tongue. Her accent is better defined as an inability to pronounce words that she has been surrounded by for 14 years. In fact, her accent is something she very much believes has had a negative impact on her job prospects in America (personally, I think accents are great--at the very least those with accents are bilingual and probably speak more languages than I do). Competency in languages, especially Chinese, are just as much determined by pronunciation as they are by ones grasp on grammar and word memorization. Believe me on this, I have tons of funny stories that resulted from my use of bad tones. For many foreigners, you can study Chinese for years, live there, and still never *truly* grasp tones the way an infant would in 4-5 years.




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