https://www.duolingo.com/Emma_L_a

Why you DON'T need a in depth reason to learn a new language.

Emma_L_a
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A huge misconception in many places, school, Duolingo, Memrise, any other language things. You have to have a reason to learn a new language.

Maybe it's learning Spanish to connect and talk with your hispanic grandmother, maybe it's learning Japanese so you can move there one day and get a job. Maybe it's learning Chinese for your job, or even learning Arabic to talk to that one shy boy in the back of your class who struggles with English and is bullied, to make them have a friend to be with them.

I'm not telling you that you shouldn't have a reason, if you have a reason- thumbs up to you.

If you don't have a reason that is "inspiring" or for your life, it doesn't mean you are any less motivated. If you just want to learn German to learn German, go ahead! Enjoy yourself. If you want to learn Korean to understand Bangtan Bombs (because Big Hit don't put subtitles TT) and listen to EXO's new song Tempo without the subtitles, go ahead!

The best experience of learning a new language is the journey of learning it, the ups and downs, the fun and the boring. It's not that you finally learned the language you have to learn for school, your family, your job, whatever. That is satisfying, but the experience of it.

Have fun and learn your language. If you are learning a language that you find boring but you feel you "have" to, switch. Go to another language you have actual interest in and dive in. Study 10 languages at the same time. Study only one at a time.

Just remember that language learning is for anything, not just like a chore or something.

I hope wherever you are have a good day/night, and enjoy your language learning, not despise it.

Adiós; Au revoir; 안녕히.

1 week ago

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/betsys2003
betsys2003
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Relatedly, you don't have to want to speak a language to anyone to want to learn it. People often ask me "Who are you going to speak it to?" Nobody, probably. I actually don't really want to. I'm an introvert and I don't like talking to strangers. But I find languages interesting in their own right.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/glaceon953
glaceon953
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Although I would not say that I'm an introvert, I most certainly am not, I don't speak the languages I learn, I've been studying French for about two years now, in those two years I've only used it twice, even the two events summed up don't account for more than 5 minutes of speaking, do I regret it? Of course not, I like the music, the sound of it, the mere concept of understanding something once foreign to me, and if anybody were to ask, why did you decide to learn French? The answer would be: ''Just because''. Thank you for your input betsys2003!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UsonajLibroj
UsonajLibrojPlus
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I learn everything with the intent to only read and listen but mostly read. And I’m taking college classes in Spanish and French soon.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OmegaGmaster
OmegaGmaster
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I’m an introvert and I don’t like talking to strangers. But I find languages interesting in their own right.

B I G M O O D

I have a tendency to bully myself constantly for this dichotomy. Why am I like this¿

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanna-Louise
Giovanna-Louise
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@ betsy's2003.. May I ask you a question..I simply do not get it.. why don't you intend to use languages that you study? Being an introvert is quite normal A lot of people are introverts...And not wanting to talk to strangers is perfectly normal and natural too. Quite a lot of people even in most extroverted professions dealing with diverse public, feel like that and in private like to be left alone, and do not engage with strangers..

Nothing wrong with just being who you are!! we are all unique..

But having said all this, why are you saying that you would not want to use the languages that you put so much time into studying? Then what for?Languages are strictly for communication.. Isn't it like learning to make delicious food and then not want to make it for yourself or not want to eat it.? If you taught yourself French or other languages, why would you not want to use them for something?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/widle
widle
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There's active and passive use. I'm an introvert learning Finnish, but I'm not planning to go around looking for Finns to chat with. I read books instead. That's communication too, even if one-sided, and so far it's been enough for me.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HulluNiilo

What are you using for Finnish, if online? I'm working Swedish as a second choice since Finnish is not offered here. Most of Finnish learning sites are more 'old-school' in approach, and don't hold my attention/interest as much as Duolingo.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beardy123
Beardy123
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I guess some people use it but not in a speaking way, I.e. Listening to French radio, reading 100 years of solitude in Spanish, learning Czech recipes, learning Welsh just for the fun of it.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betsys2003
betsys2003
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I've also spent plenty of hours playing sudoku puzzles. Am I ever going to be in a real-world situation where I have to solve a sudoku puzzle? Not likely. Does that make the hours spent doing puzzles worthless? No. It trains your brain. Spending time learning a language is worth it just for that. This is what I tell people when they say they shouldn't waste time learning a language in school, because they won't get fluent enough to "use it". Doesn't matter - it still trains your brain.

I find languages interesting. I think it's cool how some languages conjugate their verbs and others don't. How some go subject-verb-object and others subject-object-verb. Until learning a language with some new grammar convention I wouldn't have even thought about that. Swahili merges their subject and verb into one word. Spanish drops most of the subjects entirely. Danish merges their word "the" with the noun. It's simply cool to learn these things.

Also, there's a lot you can do with languages that isn't just "talking to another person." Reading books, listening to music, watching TV shows.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tacoturtle42

if we are all unique, then we all have our own reasons for studying a language. Don't criticize what you support. It's very confusing.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KevanSF
KevanSF
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There's absolutely no need to justify your interests and hobbies to other people.

Do you need an in-depth reason to do crossword puzzles or soduko or play video games or spend hours on Facebook? An excuse to read poetry or watch anime?

Of course not. Do what you enjoy, what interests you, and don't worry about what others think, for goodness' sake.

True, learning a language can be a gateway to new music, movies, literature, a way to meet new friends, a possible new career, but it can also just be fun, a puzzle, a mental exercise, a hobby, a curiosity.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

If you decide to learn a language, you have a reason "because I want to". Contrast this to having to learn a language. For instance when I was at school I loved maths. But if I wanted to learn maths (not just arithmetic) I had to do an academic course - which included studying two foreign languages. Fortunately I loved the challenge but many of my classmates who were there because they needed to be there to take on science careers hated every minute. So they didn't study and they did badly which made them hate the classes even more - and so on in a vicious circle.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

This is me 100%. When I was in high school, I felt like it was a waste of time learning French and I just wanted to get to maths class. Now I've started doing it for fun and I love it.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beardy123
Beardy123
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I think most say about a reason for motivation, but yes I agree you don't need a 'formal' reason

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Keikou_
Keikou_
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Somebody finally said it

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betarage
betarage
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For me its all about being prepared i want to be able to understand everything there have been so many annoying moments when i could not understand something because it was in a different language recently i was looking for help with a video game but all the videos where in Czech i just don't want to deal with that stuff anymore

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sharon822547
sharon822547
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yes, ya know? This has bothered me. I've never had a good answer, "because I want to ....." never seems good enough, even though that's the answer I'm yelling in my head. I still wish I could give a deeper sound answer that others could relate to or understand.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vabelie
Vabelie
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To be honest, "because I want to" has been my essential reason to do anything and ultimately be what I am ("and what I am ain't no excuses" ;p) since I'm nineteen!
It gives you pleasure and causes no undue pain to anyone? "Because I want to" is the only reason you need, and practicing to say it over and over in a clear assured tone will finally get your point across.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tacoturtle42

because I can.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SchonBaume

I remember the time when me and some of friends of mine were talking about foreign languages at university. they asked me why it is so interesting to you to speak to other languages. I said them consider you are in a gargantuan cylindrical room with too many windows on the wall, if you learn new language, new window would open to you and you would get familiar with new perspective and new culture and new notion and new way of thinking, The more you learn new language, the brighter your room(mind) would be.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/compsognathus
compsognathus
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Great message!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

Personally, I have just recently found my passion for languages. It honestly started when I discovered Eurovision 2018 while listening to the local Portuguese radio station. I was like, "Wow! These songs are amazing!" Later on I looked some of them up, and instantly fell in love with Italy's performance. Along with that, I started to fall in love with the language. So far, language learning has broadened my view of the world immensely. Here in the US I think it is hard not to think US-centric, just because of the way society is run, at least where I am. But I want to learn languages to use them, but also just to discover the world through them.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu_madre_vic

Thank you for saying this. So many people ask me why I'm learning esperanto, and I always wonder: Why does it matter so much to you? It's a hobby just like anything else. And most of the people who question my sanity for learning a conlang aren't even learning any language themselves.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vabelie
Vabelie
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One sentence I like: Learn English if you want to make money; Learn Esperanto if you want to make friends. You already speak English.

As Esperanto is actually "useless", those who learn it all do it by choice, because they share this crazy idea that humans should be equal and understand each other. (Well, some are there only to understand the mecanics of language through a very simple one, but they are welcome nonetheless.) The best things in life are those that serve no practical purpose: art, love, knowledge for the sake of it…
Let me get my German trees to gold, and I'll join you in Esperanto, as I wanted to do ever since I learnt about its existence. And you're right, why do they care about your hobby if they don't intend to try? You don't question theirs; If they really wanted to understand, they would ask questions, not blindly criticise. You take nothing from them, don't let them take from your fun.
Hey, why don't you tell them "why would you care?", in Esperanto, and smile with grace and the slightest bit of irony?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SunghoonKi20

Hi Emma, this is a great post.

For a long time, there has been a rumor circulating in Korea about people learning Korean to understand K-Pop better. It is rather exciting for me to witness someone actually doing it. Korean, just like other East Asian languages, is a hard language to learn for people whose mother tongue is English, but if you enjoy K-Pop and Korean culture, the amount of content that you will be able to access is virtually endless!

On your main point, "because I want to" should be a good enough reason to study something. I am studying French because when I was learning history in school, for some reason I liked France. I wanted to learn French so I am doing it now.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/snowy522973

Exactly! Learning new things is fun, and you don't need to justify a reason for it. I'm learning Spanish simply because it sounded enjoyable and I'll be able to speak with more people in my area (Mostly English but some Spanish). Enjoy your learning, everyone!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MichiPf

You are so right! I'm studying something, that has nothing to do with languages and i'm stressed. But when i had a little free time I tried duolingo and realised, that learning a new language just for the fun of it is relaxing to me. And even if I will never use that language I have a great benefit in learning it --> relaxing when I'm stressed and being able to understand a language nobody would expect.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanna-Louise
Giovanna-Louise
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@Emma_l_a

Very well written ,your post and right on! Fully agree with what you were saying.. thank you for an interesting discussion that it started..

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garciarakrak

Or understand "Yes or Yes" by TWICE. :)

Whatever allows us to appreciate the world in goodness, then we could pursue that!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fuzzy285293

my sole reason for learning Spanish is because I never finished it in high school due to circumstances beyond my control, and I want to prove to myself that I can do it. Will I ever travel to Mexico or Spain and use it? probably not, but just knowing another language is a pretty cool thing in itself. to be able to watch Spanish television or read books written in Spanish and being able to understand it is also a goal. I have already partially achieved that goal, as I have a couple of Spanish books on my kindle, that I read regularly. while I may not know what all of it says, I can translate enough to figure out what is going on at this point.. who knows where I will be at with it in a years time...

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AaronD.2
AaronD.2
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Sure, about half of the languages I'm studying are purely out of curiosity and a romantic view of history. No connection whatsoever through heritage, religion, or by reason of necessity.

Catalan, French, Dutch, Esperanto, Hawaiian - I don't have any "deep" reason for any of these. I just want to be able to read more languages, and learn some more basic Hawaiian phrases to use on my island.

Spanish, German, Latin, and Hebrew, however, I do have more relatable reasons for.

That said, our innate curiosity is what has always lead us to explore plus ultra - further beyond - and what reason is deeper than that?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aPorLa14

Language learning is a hobby. For me a hobby is anything that lets you explore your brain's potential while having fun. There doesn't need to be a practical reason behind learning French or Korean as long as you're into it by default. It's the same way a lot of people learn the guitar without joining a band. They do it because it's fun and that's all.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_
xMira_
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YESSSS-- thank you. I totally agree. I always tell people that I'm learning Korean because "I wanted to add a new script to my list xP" when it's really just I wanted to be able to listen to kpop w/o subs

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JPC231
JPC231
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I whole-heartedly agree. I was bored and had nothing else to do, so I said "you know what? I'm goig to learn Portuguese." It is both rewarding and fun to know I'm gaining a useful skill.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/acooley960

Here's another alternate reason for learning foreign languages: if you need or want to construct your own language at some point, it is incredibly helpful to learn the basic grammar concepts of many different languages, of course with real vocabulary examples, so as to not simply reword your native language (English, in my case).

But yes, learning a language for the heck of it is totally a sufficient reason!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mini_moose
mini_moose
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Amen.

Also ARMY for life ^^

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Meital640
Meital640
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Me fascina tu foto de perfil.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Emma_L_a
Emma_L_a
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Gracias. Yo gusta tu foto también.

(I have no idea if that's right but ohwell)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bodyshower

you are right

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WinterSoldier.

I agree with you on some things. But I would like to point out that everyone who I knew who didn't have a reason to do something i.e learn Swahili, or get an A soon gave up on their quest. Having a reason is important, now the reason could be trivial, I want to be able to order Borsht in Russia without a translator, or I want to be able to understand Enrique Iglesias songs with out google translate, but those are still reasons. Still nice post, have an upvote and a lingot

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elda_Mengisto
Elda_Mengisto
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I can understand your point--I'm only learning Mandarin because it was a simple risk in high school that blossomed into an ambition. And there are some people who learn languages because of media they've been exposed to (Korean because of K-Pop, Japanese because of anime and manga for example).

At the same time, it's good to have a decent reason to learn a language, so that when it gets difficult, one would remember why they decided to learn the language in the first place. At the very least, I get to learn to write poetry in it. :)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JadenPotatoes

I can understand English. What is important to me is not to be fluent but to be comfortable to read and speak in language.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Emma_L_a
Emma_L_a
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You seem to have good grammar. Are you a foreigner?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JadenPotatoes

Yes, I'm Italian. Never spoke in English in real life, only on internet.

6 days ago
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