https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

Learning a friend's native language?

Hello! I have some internet friends from other countries and lately i have been interested in learning Russian. I have a friend from Russia so by hearing how the language sounds and getting to know more about the culture I have now become interested in actually learning to speak the language.

However, in a way I am a bit hesitant to tell my friend about my interest in learning Russian. Partly because I am not yet sure if it's just a temporary desire or more serious, but also because my friend might find it weird. I have not earlier expressed any interest in the language and self I feel a bit odd when my friends try to learn a bit of Swedish. Maybe it's just me but this is something that keeps me from telling my friend about wanting to learn Russian.

So my question is: Would you feel weird about your friend suddenly wanting to learn your native language?

Your thoughts on this is appreciated :)

June 17, 2019

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/diecidieci

I'm learning Russian (at a very slow pace) and I haven't told my Russian friend about it --- because I think it would make me feel embarrassed about my slow progress. I'm also not even trying to become fluent in Russian, but I feel like that would have to change if my friend, or my Russian in-laws (that I never intend to tell that I'm learning Russian for fun) found out about it. I don't think learning Russian would be very fun for me if I had to take it seriously.

Would you feel weird about your (internet) friend suddenly wanting to learn your native language?

A little bit? I think it would be a nice thing for a friend to do, even if they're not aiming at perfection... but my native language is pretty useless outside my country, so it would be a bit odd --- unless my friend was already interested in learning foreign languages just for fun.

It's kind of funny; I met my Russian friend in Russia, back when I wasn't that interested in learning the local language but had to learn the basics to communicate with cashiers/taxi drivers/cleaning ladies/etc, to make my daily life easier. She helped me a lot with my Russian back then (and I still occasionally ask her how to say things in Russian).

And now my friend lives in my country and I'm helping her to learn my native language (which she needs to learn as a necessity).

I think I'm only going to tell my friend that I'm learning Russian if I ever manage to become more advanced in the language with my slow pace.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/mortificator

Регулярное общение на изучаемом языке может существенно повысить скорость его изучения. Long live Kimi Räikkönen! :)

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

You're right!

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

Yes I agree with you. I think I would also feel pressured to learn the language fully if I told my friend and also that it might remove a bit of the fun and my motivation to learn.

My native language is also not big and isn't spoken outside of my country so maybe that's why I also find it a bit odd when my friends try to learn some of it. Russian however is a really big language and knowing it could be useful.

Even if I barely knew how Russian sounded or barely knew things about Russia and its culture before meeting my friend it's not because of him I'm learning the language. I am also learning Korean and for similar reasons (I like how the language sounds, how it's written, the culture etc). So if I ever were to tell him I suppose those are valid reasons and hopefully won't make it weird :)

But same as you, for now I won't say anything, especially since I don't know if I'm serious about learning it.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/mortificator

Doesn't your (boy)friend want to learn your native language? Or you both prefer communicating in English?

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

We're not a couple, just friends haha. We have never really talked about learning each other's languages. From what I know he doesn't have any bigger interest in learning languages, and my native language is small and only spoken in my country so he won't have much use of I maybe unless talking to me (since what I know he don't know anyone else that speaks my language atm). We both communicate in English, it's what we have always done and it's comfortable :3

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/chocochipkookie

I wouldn't feel that weird, I would probably just think it was a hobby for you. If you introduce it in a way that doesn't make it sound like they are the only reason for learning Russian I don't think it would be weird or creepy. Maybe say to them something like you are interested in the culture, and it sounds really cool so you started learning it.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

Thank you! Yes, you could be right. Even if I barely knew how Russian sounded and barely knew anything about the country or culture before meeting my friend, he is not the reason I want to learn it. I am also learning Korean because I am interested in pretty much everything about the language and culture. With Russian I like how it sounds, how it is written, that it's a language with many speakers. Lately I've started listening to Russian music too and really like it.

I still haven't seen everything. Like there is still a lot I don't know about the culture since I've been hesitant about finding out more and more, especially because of my friend.

But if I do tell him I'll give the real reasons why I wanted to learn it and hope he doesn't find it odd :) thanks for your response.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Steinschn

TL;DR I would really like it, if some would try to learn my native language. It may be a bit weird if you say 'I want it to learn because of you'. But if you phrase it, that you decided to learn that language because there you have someone who could help und you could talk to with it, why not?

Well I started to learn kinda out of boredom and since I hadn't really a reason I didn't know which language I should learn. Started with spanish, but shortly after I figured, learning a language without being able to talk with someone in that language is kinda pointless. So I talk with my best friend, whos half russian, and he really liked the idea that I would maybe learn russian for the funs. Besides my family nobody nows at the moment, because I don't know, too, if it is just a sudden desire or if I will really learn the language. But my friend is actually a big help, since he tries to educate me and I can ask a lot.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

It's nice hearing that people would not find it weird. I agree with you and maybe my friend would like the idea too. If I were to tell him I would of course say how it is, that I was interested in the language and I, like you, sort of started to learn out of boredom (I have summer vacation right now haha). After all Russian is also a very big language which can be useful knowing and my friend knows I like languages.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SageofSoul1

Not at all! I'm actually starting Russian, myself! I'm wanting to be able to speak in some of the people I know's native tongues to better help with a project I'm a part of (I'm not getting paid for working on this project--I'm just an outside helper). The grand majority of these people speak Russian and there's only a few of them that speak English and I'd really love to speak the language so I could communicate with them. From what I've heard, though, it is a hard language to learn, but I'm determined!

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/mortificator

it is a hard language to learn

Difficulty of learning foreign language only depends on similarity between target language and native one. Russian in not harder than any other.

there's only a few of them that speak English

Almost all of them studied English at school...

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SageofSoul1

sigh Ok. If you want to make an argument, yes, "no language is any harder than another one". Ask most other people, though, and they'll say that it's one of the harder languages, which implies that there is a difficulty scale. It's nearly impossible for anything to be on average with all of the other things in its category. 49.9999999% will be above average, 49.99999999% will be below average (in the case of an odd number--if it's an even number, then 50/50). That's just how it is.

As for the second statement, what makes you think they studied English in school? That's like saying every American learns Spanish in school. Just because English is the most widely spoken language in the world, that doesn't mean that every school in the world is going to force their students to learn it. And just throwing "almost" in there isn't enough to cut it.

Sorry for the flame war, but I'm not one to sit around to comments that are stated just for the sake of arguing.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

Well, we obviously don't know your friends, but it's a fact that nearly every Russian studied English in school. Not every school in the world is going to force their students to learn it, but every school in Russia does.

It's also an unfortunate fact that the overwhelming majority of those who studied in school have very limited English and certainly aren't able to carry on a conversation...

June 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/mortificator

Ask most other people, though, and they'll say that it's one of the harder languages

I asked The Foreign Service Institute's School of Language Studies (https://www.state.gov/m/fsi/sls/c78549.htm). And they said that Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean are twice harder...

That's like saying every American learns Spanish in school.

Isn't that truth? :) I also don't like flame however we must be accurate.

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

I think that's a great reason to learn the language! You will have great use of it :)

June 17, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/John977401

Definitely Not!

I have had friends I needed a translator for. A lot of times things would translate weirdly or the sentence wouldn't make much sense. I do however understand that there is a pressure there that you feel when either you are learning a new language. I am 6 months into learning Russian (my GF's Native Language). Her and her family are very supportive but there are still days I still feel like I shouldn't be doing it, or its not my thing and to stay out of it. HOWEVER.. In the end its really all about you. If you have a desire to learn different languages go for it because at the end of the day, yes, its part of someones culture, but its not THEIR language. Its universal and anyone is allowed to learn. You don't need to have heritage in a culture in order to learn its language.

Hope my 2 cents helped. Good luck with learning!

June 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/poptartrainboww

Thank you for your response!

there are still days I still feel like I shouldn't be doing it, or its not my thing and to stay out of it.

My feeling exactly:(

If you have a desire to learn different languages go for it because at the end of the day, yes, its part of someones culture, but its not THEIR language. Its universal and anyone is allowed to learn. You don't need to have heritage in a culture in order to learn its language.

You're absolutely right about this. I do have an interest in languages and I just happened to get one for the Russian language as well and want to learn it. I will tell my friend about it when/if I really decide to become fluent in it.

Have a good day and good luck with learning as well!

June 19, 2019
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