Why do You learn a Language?

MarkE us United States

What makes spending the countless hours and all the energy to learn a language worth it for you?

June 07 at 18:40
  • Swedishfinngermanophile fi Finland

    Other than the usual reasons, grammatical challenge spurring development through discipline.

    If you have read many of my post, then this should not be a surprise but here goes. I have not really studied hard languages but I am currently using my summer break to study grammar which I love because of its analytical elements. My goal is to become fluent someday in at least 4 Romance languages and 2 Germanic (vocab and grammar).

    This is something that I have been meaning to do for a long time but I have been lazy. In the last couple of months, I have started to monitor lots of variables (time spent reading, doing grammar, etc.). I have also gotten rid of some bad habits (or done an honest effort to quit), such as eating sugary things and eating convenience food instead of making it myself.

    This has allowed me to have more energy and since I have started to make an effort to be organised (and efficient) and really put in the time, I have gained quite a lot of vocab and a lot deeper grammatical knowledge.

    This is really motivating, for the last couple of years I have been quite miserable and saddened by the fact that I am not on course to achieve the many things that I set out to do (many by my 30th birthday). But in the last two days I have spent 405 and 420 minutes on grammar in a very organised manner.

    Mastering or becoming more familiar with once foreign concepts is something that is very exhilarating. Having made some huge changes and challenging my brain, I feel that my thought process and overall speed with which I operate cognetically (can’t think of a less wordy way of saying it) has fasten.

    Through this recent increase in intensity I have found ways to be more organised. I hope to finally use them to master the languages that I set out to learn and many more. I am also expanding my expectations and goals in other domains as well.

    No matter how much I learn I always want to learn more. I guess the Finnish proverb/saying is true “Nälkää kasvaa syödessä” (The more you eat, the hungrier you get).

    June 07 at 19:26
  • mmyles84 us United States

    I've always been jealous of (and perhaps insecure around) people who are fluent in more than 1 language. Especially since it seems almost everyone can speak English to varying degrees.

    It's been one of my dreams for many years that I have just put off for so long.

    Now at different times over the last 2 years I've studied Farsi and Portuguese. The last couple of months have been extra intense. I study them both everyday for a combined 5 hours (if you include listening).

    Now it's just become a part of my routine. I'm not fluent in either one yet but I feel I may be fluent (B2) in Portuguese by the end of this year if I keep up this pace. Farsi on the other hand will take a bit longer.

    June 08 at 01:34
    • MarkE us United States

      I've been tempted now and then to take a look at Farsi. But the thing that kind of keeps me away from it is the struggle of finding interesting content. How hard have you found it to be to find interesting things to read and listen to in Farsi?

      June 08 at 02:23
      • mmyles84 us United States

        Hey Mark,

        It's definitely more difficult to find interesting content vs. more common languages.

        There was a post about it here: https://www.lingq.com/en/learn/pt/web/community/forum/open-forum/finding-farsi-content

        I took a 6 month hiatus from Farsi so for the last 6 weeks I've been sticking to mostly beginner materials to get back up to speed and improve my listening.

        YouTube has a number of different videos. There is a series called: "Befarmaeed Sham" that I've heard is good for listening practice. Also there is a site for Farsi ebooks: http://98ia.org/ but I won't be utilizing these myself until I finish the mini stories.

        June 08 at 12:54
  • DitzyRobert ru Russian Federation

    Hey hi MarkE!

    My parents are bilingual: they speak Russian and Tatar. It would seem that I'd grow up speaking the two languages as well, but Tatar never sparkled my interest at all, even more than that I despised it with all my heart. As time has been passing, I am starting to regret having harsh feelings towards the language of my nationality. In any case, there's no way I venture on studying Tatar in future.

    Nevertheless, I'd dare to say that English became my true second language, so to speak. Not that my articulation of the English language is perfect, but it's been part of me in a sense. English fascinated me for a long time - ever since I was a little fellow. Video games, in particular, helped the language conquer me, playing games in English had been a dream of mine. That led to hours and hours of studying, which led to the comfort level so games, movies and books steadily replaced grammar drilling and uninteresting online English courses. At this point I am quite content with my English, but there's always room for improvement, as we all know.

    On top of it, I tackle a little bit of French and Chinese. Those two are going slow however, especially Chinese. My major is fundamental and applied linguistics and it includes Chinese as one of the main languages aside from English. These Chinese classes are boring as hell. I still can't comprehend how formal studying could kill all of the interest I had for the Chinese Language so rapidly. That's mindblowing. Really. Something needs to be done.

    I love languages, they're just wonderful.

    Thank you for posting this thread, seeing how language enthusiasts express their love for it is worth a lot.

    I wish you well.

    Robbie

    June 08 at 15:10
    • khardy us United States

      Interesting. I recently watched this video (https://youtu.be/wEzfLQHjUeQ?t=253) in which the Russian author describes how video games influenced his path to English, too.

      Your early feelings towards Tatar echo something I read some time ago, perhaps in Lingq's comments. In a bilingual family one of the parents tried to always speak German to their young child until she demanded, "Don't ever speak to me in that crappy language again!", or something similar.

      June 10 at 15:01
      • DitzyRobert ru Russian Federation

        I suppose a lot of people had a similar experience in the childhood.

        June 11 at 14:51
  • Administrator
    ericrobertz ca Canada

    Everyone I meet: You lived in Japan? Do you speak Japanese?

    Me: No...

    So yeah, would be nice to say yes one day!

    June 09 at 01:50
  • languagelearner893 cr Costa Rica

    I love the reactions when I speak a completely different language than my own, and it makes people think I'm smarter than I am, when the reality is that I am just like them

    June 10 at 20:16
  • EdwinFinch ca Canada

    I do it for me.

    I've always been interested in languages. Even as a kid. I remember wanting to learn German or Spanish with my brother so that we could speak in a "secret language", to help our shenanigans ;)

    In Canada we learn French from grade one to grade ten, and unfortunately I had terrible experiences with all of my French teachers except one teacher (who I only had for one year sadly). I also felt immensely stupid because I did not care about grammar and therefore did not pay any time to studying it (therefore doing poorly in all of my classes). This made me believe I could not learn a language.

    When I first became interested in Mandarin Chinese in grade eleven, I was faced with disgust and resentment from my family. I remember showing my mum and step dad my Chinese name only to be laughed at. Then when I asked if I could go to China for the summer, it was a quick and sharp "NO". I have many other experiences like this from my family. These experiences made me feel deep down that language learning is something that separates me from other people (wtf?).

    To overcome all of these terrible experiences in learning languages, and to change my beliefs in myself and what I am capable of, I am absolutely determined to become fluent in Mandarin. The only way for me to face my fears and to overcome the demons I have around learning languages is to actually learn a language.

    Thankfully I've been learning Mandarin for almost nine months quite reliably and I don't think I'll be quitting again :)

    I love language learning too much, and I love the language learning community too much to let any bad experience in the past take all of that beauty away from me! ❤️

    June 11 at 13:32