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Comparative applicant without foreign language

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I plan on applying to phd programs in the fall and would like to research comparative political economy. I speak a little french and a little spanish but am far from fluent in either. Regionally, I am inclined toward south-asia, though I would like to be a bit more of a generalist than an area specialist.

Saying all that, is my lack of language ability going to hurt me? Strong undergrad academic record and GRE, decent research experience.

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Lots of people pick up language skills in grad school. It just adds courses to your first two years, and may take up a summer or two as well doing immersion in the country/region. That won't give you the fluency to do ethnographic work, but you can write survey questions, carry out interviews with a local assistant, go to archives, etc. with the skills that you pick up in a couple of years of study.

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Lots of people pick up language skills in grad school. It just adds courses to your first two years, and may take up a summer or two as well doing immersion in the country/region. That won't give you the fluency to do ethnographic work, but you can write survey questions, carry out interviews with a local assistant, go to archives, etc. with the skills that you pick up in a couple of years of study.

Thanks! Great info as always..too bad for me though, was hoping to become "fluent" in Arabic

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Fluency takes years, particularly for a difficult language like Arabic. If you're a US citizen, you can get a FLAS grant to spend your summers in intensive language training, and to fund your academic years so long as you take some language classes (if your university is connected to the FLAS program). So that can get you up to speed to do research. Fluency takes years living in the region - I have spent 3 years living in the region I study, and while I'm quite proficient in the language, I would not call myself fluent...

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Fluency takes years, particularly for a difficult language like Arabic. If you're a US citizen, you can get a FLAS grant to spend your summers in intensive language training, and to fund your academic years so long as you take some language classes (if your university is connected to the FLAS program). So that can get you up to speed to do research. Fluency takes years living in the region - I have spent 3 years living in the region I study, and while I'm quite proficient in the language, I would not call myself fluent...

...and besides, the age factor probably starts to matter a lot once you are 21+

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