Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Legendre
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:05 am

Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby Legendre » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:41 am

I just found out my programme requires me to learn either French, Russian or German. Any suggestions?

I like French. I am Asian and the ladies back home love French. :lol:

IfhhoteCannot
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:11 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby IfhhoteCannot » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:45 am

It seems like the language test is usually reading a mathematical text in the language and demonstrating an understanding. I am currently using Pimsleur to learn German and I think it is wonderful (it is quite expensive but I got it at my local library). It's conversational based, but I think it's a great start, especially if you have to commute each day (I use it while I drive). Other than that, you can always enroll in a summer class at a community college to pick up the basics.

longtm1989
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:01 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby longtm1989 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:49 am

I'm learning French, too. There's an app in apple store called trés bien that is very nice. You will learn phrase by phrase, with the reading from a native speaker. Try the free version first.

PNT
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:01 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby PNT » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:48 pm

Depending on your field I think French is the best choice as many important papers in for example algebraic geometry are in French and I believe they still publish in French?

In any case reading a paper in another language is a lot easier than reading say a novel. The language is math.

qbranch
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:19 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby qbranch » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:46 pm

I intend to study German for use with number theory. At most schools, there is a course you can take specifically designed towards readiing for research (though not specifically for the mathematics discipline). Also, I don't think any of the grad students I have talked to take it very seriously. They all say that you can get by with very minimal preparation. I still think that it would be extremely useful, so if I have time, I plan to take the course.

PNT
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:01 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby PNT » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:15 am

qbranch wrote:I intend to study German for use with number theory. At most schools, there is a course you can take specifically designed towards readiing for research (though not specifically for the mathematics discipline). Also, I don't think any of the grad students I have talked to take it very seriously. They all say that you can get by with very minimal preparation. I still think that it would be extremely useful, so if I have time, I plan to take the course.

For number theory I definitely recommend French as a lot of major recent advances in number theory from Weil and co are in French.

qbranch
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:19 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby qbranch » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:31 pm

PNT wrote:
qbranch wrote:I intend to study German for use with number theory. At most schools, there is a course you can take specifically designed towards readiing for research (though not specifically for the mathematics discipline). Also, I don't think any of the grad students I have talked to take it very seriously. They all say that you can get by with very minimal preparation. I still think that it would be extremely useful, so if I have time, I plan to take the course.

For number theory I definitely recommend French as a lot of major recent advances in number theory from Weil and co are in French.


This is true. I hadn't thought about that. I was thinking about all of the older stuff like Hasse, Hecke, etc.

PNT
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:01 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby PNT » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:02 am

The thing is, most of the older stuff has been translated and covered in English books ect. Where as most of the stuff in French has not (legally I don't think people are allowed to publish translations of Grothendieck's and Deligne's work ect) and they still publish papers in French today. Certainly in my own work already I have come across a lot of sources in French that I have had to decipher, I think French would be the most useful.

BYA
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:06 pm

Re: Foreign Language (French, Russian or German) PhD Requirement

Postby BYA » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:45 pm

I second PNT. Even though I have a minimal knowledge of another international language, I am keen on learning to read mathematical French for reasons already given above.




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