Language · Uncategorized

Is interest enough for language learning?

My language bookshelf 😊

I am sure I have made it no secret that I am a language learner. I currently have four languages on my ‘Language Hit List’ with a few that always seem to flutter in and out of my actually wanting to learn them. The reason I have decided to write a blog post on this question is because I was checking out another language blogger’s most recent posts and this was one of the questions she posed and it had me thinking for the rest of the evening.

We hear so often that we should learn a language so that it can boost our chances of getting a job, that it makes us more marketable if we can speak more languages; and when we find out that someone wants to learn a new language, the first question asked is, “So what do you want to do with it?” and that question has always baffled me into spluttering confusion. What do I want to do with it? Well, I want to speak it, of course! I want to be able to travel without having to scrape by on “travelers lingo” or pulling out a phrase book every five minutes. I want to connect with native speakers in a way that you can’t really do when you aren’t speaking their language regardless if we can communicate or not. I want to simply be able to say I am fluent in more than one language. I want to learn about different cultures in more ways than just reading a book about it. I want to be able to watch foreign movies and dramas without having to read subtitles (if they are even offered!). Because it has been a hidden dream of mine since I was in middle school to be able to speak another language. And finally, BECAUSE I WANT TO! What’s so wrong about that?

I firmly believe that just about everything starts with an interest. Why else would we do things if we were not interested in doing them? And being forced to do things can only result in bitterness, resentment, and boredom. Those three things, day after day, year after year will put you first in line for the train to jaded town. And who wants to live their life jaded and unhappy? No one, that’s who.

I think taking an interest in a language is a perfect reason to learn a language, and it does not matter how that interest comes about. TV dramas and movies? Sure. Traveling goals? Cool! Fancy date night and you want to impress him/her? That’s alright too. Meeting the in-laws? Good luck lol. The point is, learning a language does not have to be just for career purposes. Learning languages can be a hobby just like working out, knitting, or reading books (which I also do – hence, this blog). People have a choice in what their interests and hobbies are and while one person might like going for their evening run after work, another might enjoy catching up on the latest sports statistics, and yet another might like learning languages for fun and they shouldn’t be judged or looked at skeptically because they do.

I think the U.S. is and has always been so career oriented and power driven, and has always wanted to obtain the next best way to find a leg up: How to get into college, how to get that job, how to get that promotion, how to make the most money, how to gain the most power, and with our current president, he’s probably trying to figure out a way to take over the world. 

Just kidding…but not really.

The point is, the list goes on and on. If it’s not pertaining to business and career, people seem to think that it’s pointless and I have just one thing to say to that:

If it brings you happiness or any type of joy, then it is never pointless.

I do still get a bit agitated and flustered when people find out some of the languages that I want to learn and the next question out of their mouth is “What do you want to do with it?” I want to speak it, duh! Or even, “Oh, do you need that in your current career field?” No, no I do not need them in my current career field…Then I have to deal with the confused looks on their faces and try to fight the feelings of obligation in explaining why I am choosing to learn them anyway. Maybe I should just direct them to this blog post lol!

But alas, I can’t change people’s thoughts about all of this. I am just happy that I have finally accepted the fact that yes; it is okay to learn a language just because you are interested. It is not weird for language learning to be a hobby.

My language hit list (ones I am actively working towards learning):

• Spanish – I’ve wanted to learn Spanish since I was in the 8th grade.

• Thai – Because I am freakin obsessed with all things Thailand.

• Korean – Korea as a country is so interesting and Hangul was so easy to learn (mostly). Also, Korean skincare? Yes please!

• Brazilian Portuguese – I have wanted to visit Brazil and learn the language since I was in the 8th grade, just like with Spanish

The languages my interest level fluctuates with:

• Japanese – Simply because Japan is freakin awesome! But I have a fear of the three different writing systems (Hiragana, Katakana, & Kanji).

• Mandarin Chinese – Because it sounds cool and because Chinese dramas are hilarious, but that writing system though…yikes.

• Haitian Creole – This is such a beautiful language & I was introduced to it about 4 years ago by a guy that I liked at the time and even started learning it. But now the language itself holds bad memories for me and my interest in going to Haiti wanes more and more every year due to all the natural disasters that take place there. But man, it’s a beautiful language!

Fleeting interests (ones I had an interest in at one point in time but lost interest & motivation):

• Dutch – I watched a movie on Netflix in Dutch once. Thought I could do it. I obviously lied to myself.

• French – Also a really cool language but my motivation is not strong enough to get past the difficulty level of it.

• Indonesian – I found an Indonesian YouTuber by accident a while ago and thought it would be super cool to be able to know what she was saying. And the language is romanized so that was a positive. But it sounds so strange! How the heck can I make those sounds with my mouth?? 😳 My motivation is not there yet.

Thanks for stopping by and reading yet another Random Musing of mine.

What languages are you guys currently learning or aspiring to learn?

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Is interest enough for language learning?

  1. I am learning Japanese. I guess with Mandarin background it’s much easier as Kanji is like… given. Haha but it’s still quite hard honestly. I keep weekly progress in my blog so have a read if you like!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aside from English, she speaks Korean, Japanese, and Chinese! She is originally from Singapore if I’m correct. Her blog is called hangukdrama.com if you want to visit her page. Lots of helpful language learning tips and language book reviews

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interest is definitely enough and one of the most important things!

    Sometimes my younger brother says learning languages is a waste of time, but what does he know, right? xD

    I’ve probably mentioned to you many times that I’m learning Korean and Spanish! My fleeting language interests were Italian, Japanese (then I realised that the more I learn about the culture, the more discouraged I am about Japan. I do want to go there, though but only for a brief holiday) and Irish. Technically, the people in Ireland should know how to speak it fluently but most of them really don’t xD So immersion is quite difficult. You need to go to Galway or Connemara or somewhere like that.

    I definitely want to learn Mandarin in the future though! There is something really intriguing about the culture. And I heard that conjugation is even easier than Korean! DANG! That really grabs your attention when you’re learning Spanish xD

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It made me think too. When I initially started writing after clicking the reply button, I didn’t even know I was gonna make that point about free time being a luxury. Korea is the epitome of contrast between having no free time and using the small amount of free time for mind-numbing activities. So thanks for making me think. Happy learning!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Presently learning Korean. Native French/Dutch speaker, from that little country Niall lives now. I did learn Spanish and Chinese in the past.

    I definitely think one can learn a language out of shear interest. That’s what I did when I started learning Korean. Back then, I had no goal of sticking around in the country more than a couple of months. Yet, here I am, planning for the longterm. I’m happy I didn’t waste two years before getting to it.

    However, one should not forget where people come from when asking “what are you going to do with that language?”. Many people that have asked me that come from an environment where free time is a luxury. They have to think first about how to feed themselves and/or others. It just happens to be that learning a language takes a lot of free time. I’m happy I have that luxury. I can understand others do not.

    Like

    1. I can understand that as well. And I understand people have families to take care of also. My point was pretty much that tons of people have hobbies and in order to even have hobbies, one must have free time to do them; even if it’s only 10-15 mins a day. And also that learning a language doesn’t have to just be for career purposes. That’s all. In my personal experience though, I have only ran into people who think learning a language doesn’t make much sense unless it’s beneficial to the career or one is a professional traveler of sorts (my friends and family included).
      I currently work at the “bottom of the food chain” at a bank with people who probably make double and triple what I do and all I ever hear them talk about is the things they do in their free time and the places they travel to. It just made me think.

      Like

  5. That definitely helps! Living in an area where the language is constantly spoken. And I find it so baffling that Irish can be one of the official languages of Ireland yet it is hardly used anymore! I hope it’s not a dying language. So cool that you are almost fluent tho!

    Like

  6. I’m learning French, mainly by spending most of the year living in the French-speaking part of Belgium! I learned a little Dutch on Duolingo, as it’s the language of the other half of the country. It’s an interesting language, similar to English in many ways, but really opaque in others. I’m also brushing up on my Irish with Duolingo. I was almost fluent when I finished school, but even in Ireland so few of us speak it so I don’t get to practise.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s