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?