Reasons to learn French?
Honestly, I seem to have no reason to learn French. Sure it sounds beautiful, and with it comes a culture full of history yet I still find no motivation.
I look at other languages and they draw me in so much, but after all the work I put into French I would be an idiot to let it go, so I will continue! Yet, I find it so difficult to continue with no source of motivation. So, I'm asking people to help share their motivations for learning this language! Perhaps share some songs, French culture, stuff about France or anything that will help keep me interested!
Now I know motivation comes from inside but I don't have an idea of where to draw it from, so I've decided to ask for help.
Thank you in advance for any ideas.
I will share my experience from someone that started the french course and has never had any class or trip to France or a country where French is spoken. I started the french course and it seemed impossible in the beginning, but I continue and when I was about the level 10 the words started forming in my brain, at the time I was listening to many songs, of authors like Calogero, Vianney, Coer de Pirate, Zaz and others. Those days there are many tv show on Netflix that I would recommend too, like Marseille and La Mante. Please don't give up, it's a magical moment when you realise it's not that "impossible" and the language starts to appear in your brain. It takes maybe 3 or 4 languages for us to see that is not that difficult to learn a new language, you just have to believe it and continue. Have fun!
Your investement of 690XP in French is not really a huge investment.
Even if you only do 10 XP a day , that's still only 2 months.
You say there are other languages "that draw you in" . Go for what does motivate you. French will still be there. Since this service is free , it has only cost you time.
ULikeFOod, I have nearly 7 decades of life experience, so let your perception (whatever that may be) of what I'm about to say have that information.
You asked why we are motivated. For me, I love the sound of French and love the language although I've never been to France. It was a language of choice in school, periodically throughout my adulthood, and is once again my language of choice for expanding my brain. In one of my Neuroscience Continuing Ed courses the professor said the best way to stave off Alzheimer's and Dementia is by learning a language, any language. I choose French.
When the studying gets tough, which it often does, I play youtube videos of children's songs and stories (they are the only ones I can understand; I'm not satisfied with listening to adult versions where the only words I can detect are oui ou non!). But, then, I love kids, so their songs/stories remind me of them.
With that said, life is too short to do what doesn't interest you, and goals change. Life is supposed to be fun; nevermind the boors who tell you life is about stability, persistence and stamina! You need those things as they relate to certain goals (such as college, trying to advance in career, and raising children), but not to what you do for yourself, of your own choice!
Choose a language that appeals to you. I have learned, over the years, a little French, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, and ASL. But I will tell you that I would not put myself through German or Russian or Arabic; those languages do not please my ear (even though I find the people and cultures WONDERFUL). I prefer Romance languages.
One last thought: be sure you are using a language tool that matches your learning style. I have a friends who swear by 3 different on-line tools. None of those tools motivate me. You mentioned Memrise. I use that to supplement Duolingo; I like hearing different French people speak (in lieu of Duo's voices). But I get so bored with the Memrise program; it's only memory work (at my level) and is not creative for me at all. I much prefer Duolingo. But my friends much prefer their other programs.
I wish you well! Enjoy what you do!
I actually find these harsh languages like Russian, German, Arabic and Hebrew really interesting. Russian especially. They don't sound beautiful like French or Italian, but they have character. Unfortunately, I'm really turned off by the thought of learning a new alphabet. So as much as I might want to learn spoken Russian? Probably won't happen because you can only go so far if you cannot read it. People could tell me over and over that it's not that hard, and it's worth it etc. etc...but I'm already so turned off by thought, nothing would help. I've been able to read as long as I can remember and reading as much as I can as soon as possible is just the way I learn. I gave up on Hebrew after two weeks of struggling with the aleph bet. Maybe it was too soon, but I actually don't regret it. I just need that Latin alphabet.
The russian alphabet is way more similar to the latin alphabet than the hebrew alphabet is, so it would probably be easier to learn. I tried the russian course for a bit, and the alphabet was the least of my problems! You can always give it a try. Why not start when you don't know if the alphabet is really that difficult? What worked for me was seeing it as a puzzle I had to decipher, and before you know it, it becomes really easy!
I want to focus on French (and Spanish) for a while, but I just might. Some of the letters look like Latin ones but make a completely different sound, so I don't know if that would just confuse and frustrate me. The Hebrew alphabet was definitely a nightmare. I really tried for those two weeks, which probably wasn't enough but I seriously wasn't catching on at all.
This is just for me personally:
I play old Cajun music on the fiddle, and play songs that hardly anyone bothers to play anymore. I was thanked for taking part in preserving a dying culture. Once I am fluent in French, I want to also learn Cajun French and help preserve a dying language.
Cajun French for the most part is still multi intelligible with standard French. I use duolingo for the same reasons and when I watch Cajun French videos I understand them honestly better than Parisian French.
Either learn a different language or look at French from different angles than the usual stereotypes. You're right, most people couldn't care less about reading the 17th century classics, and most of those "reasons to learn" are just a prequel to another case of the "paris syndrome" :-D
But there is more. French is one of the top sources of european fantasy books. And crime novels. And some awesome scifi. They have awesome popular culture, like movies and tv series, we just don't get to see those a lot (due to their marketing not being as strong as the US one, most things don't get to the cinemas) and it often looks as if everything interesting about that culture was at least fifty years old.
The French still opens doors to top science, some articles even get published earlier in French than English. It is not true about science as a whole, English has been parasiting on other languages and countries too much, but it is definitely so in some niches.
There is a lot of good contemporary popular music, etc. I actually think you might have just not googled enough. As an entry point, you can use the selection of songs at lyricstraining.com and search the youtube for more.
And don't forget that vast majority of the interesting stuff is hard to notice before you actually know the language. So, the better you get, the more you discover.
Some people are motivated to learn to play a musical instrument, they have no reason to learn it, they could watch a music video instead! Other people learn to swim, they have no reason to do so they can just avoid the water! Many people learn to drive, for no real reason, its just as easy to take the bus! I can go on and on. Should there be a reason to learn something difficult? That is a question only each of us can answer for themselves. But consider this, we are the only animals that actively seek to learn. We do this well into old age. This is an inherent feature of being a human being. By learning something as complicated as another language you are conditioning yourself to learn just about anything else. So if you are looking for a reason it would be this, to make you a better learner and in the end a better human being.
I agree with you. OP is suffering from the sunk cost fallacy: the more you invest in something, the harder it is to abandon it.
I love to read books, but I abandon the ones that I start that are not interesting. Life is too short to read bad books.
Dear OP: follow your instincts. Study what you're passionate about. Maybe one day, the journey will lead you back to French. Maybe not, and that's ok.
The one caveat I have is this: maybe your passion is still French, but you're finding you've hit a "wall". In that case (and only you know if this is the case), keep pressing on. Progress is happening even if you're not feeling it. Motivation waxes and wanes, and that's ok, too.
Finally, the time you spent on French is not " wasted", as your brain learns important language-learning skills. Another language will use those brain pathways that your French studying created. Really.
Unless you have to learn a language for work, school or life- don't learn a language you don't want to learn. If you're not motivated- why torture yourself?
The only language I'm learning I don't enjoy learning is German- but I have a strong practical reason to learn it so I'm not giving up. The others... if I didn't enjoy learning them, I wouldn't bother. The truth is- I have fun learning them (especially Esperanto).
That said, you asked why learn French; French is a very useful language. It may not be spoken by as many people as Spanish or Arabic or Mandarin; however, it is spoken by many people around the world. Also, with the growth of certain French-speaking African countries it will probably become more prominent before the end of the century.
It is a useful language, and although English is technically a Germanic language- French in some ways almost seems almost as close a language. There are a lot of shared words.
Learning French may help your English vocabulary too, strangely enough. Many English words came to English from French. French being England's neighbor.
If you're in North America you have a neighbor speaking French: Quebec. If you're in Europe your neighbour is France. Lots of places speak French in Africa, the Caribbean, the pacific.
No matter where you are in the world, you're never too far from a French speaking country. France his been very important in the world historically too. Lots of scientific discoveries, novels, and important historical events were written about in French.
I personally would love to read the works of Alexandra Dumas one day in his native tongue. I love his novels.
In all honestly, I just like the sound of French and want to read French literature in its original language because so much is lost in translation. I didn't even think about whether it would be "useful" outside of reading French novels in French.
What is "useful" varies from person to person. If you are an American working for a Japanese company, Japanese will be more useful to you personally than Spanish. Unless you need to learn a certain language to further your career or it's part of your heritage/you have family there, there is no reason to learn a language you don't like. I do believe that certain languages just "click" better for certain people. However, sometimes you hit a wall no matter what. For me, hearing that a language is widely spoken and how it helps in that and that field wouldn't motivate me if I'm not enjoying the learning it and not directly effected.
Since you are only on level six of French, I suggest that you look around. Try a few languages. See if any language and/or culture speaks to you. If you end up learning something like Spanish or Italian, the little bit of French you did learn might actually help you. Or, you might go back to French. If you really don't like it, nothing anyone says will make you like it.
I don't know how old you are but in my late teens and very early 20s, I causally studied a lot of languages here and there and I'm finding that it actually helps me now.