Reading an article from a Lebanese linguistics professor and people had been asking him about what "essential" "key" or "must learn" languages they should study. Many people would put Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French etc (aside from English) on this list, but his was not a static, hard-and-fast list of the most important languages. He stated that for someone with an interest and motivation to learn various languages, a solid half-dozen is an attainable goal, and they should be under the following guidelines:
1. Classical language related to your culture
2. Modern Culturally significant language
3. Language of International significance
4. Exotic language
There will be opportunity for more than one language for more than one of these listings, but for someone of American background or culture he suggested Classical Greek or Latin for the first Criteria (I took Latin for four years, but you'd be CRAZY to pore over it alone for no reason), something like German or Spanish or French for the second, English naturally as the predominant international language, but Chinese certainly qualifies. For the exotic languages, people were suggesting everything from Thai and Russian to Breton and Basque. They're obviously less useful, as are learning Classical languages, but I understand their significance. Arabic can certainly make it in there in one category or another, as well as Hindi or Japanese.
I found it interesting.
And I should be updating about my recent much-awaited trip to Thailand. I was only there for three days and intended to post three separate entries for each one. I probably still will, but I didn't bring my computer with me and have been swamped since I got back. Thoughts and impressions of Bangkok are forthcoming.