Why are you learning a new language?
I was a stay-at-home mom for a while and need to get back to full time work. Out of all the things I can learn to prepare for a good job, a second language is best. I had been in IT and no software or technical education would help me as much as French. Plus technical education is only good for a short time.
A second language is useful forever.
I have two big reasons: Empathy for my patients, and a desperate need to improve my resume to help set myself apart from other new graduates.
I'm a newly graduated nurse in Texas, and the competition for jobs is fierce. We frequently have patients who speak only Spanish, or very little English, so being bilingual is a nice selling point. There are telephone translators available, but they're not the most convenient, far, far less so than, say, being able to just speak with my patients myself. As a student, and an aid before I started school, I've witnessed some heartbreaking cases where it was obvious that what was really needed was just better communication. I can't begin to imagine how terrifying and frustrating it must be to be sick, in the hospital, to not understand what's going on and to often feel like there's no one you can ask, that even when you try, you aren't understood.
I've been trying to learn off and on for years. Any time I'd have a Spanish speaking only patient I would kick myself for not trying harder to learn, and I would go home and start trying again, but I'd eventually get bored/discouraged and stop until the next time I had a patient like that. I'm very grateful for Duolingo, because with the game-ification, as well as the community, I'm finally making some real progress.
I'm learning Spanish for a couple of reasons. Here in the US, the non-English speaking population is growing rapidly, and most of them speak Spanish. Also, I like vacationing in Mexico and the Caribbean, and I think it's disrespectful to go into another country and expect them to know my language without me knowing any of theirs.
I am going on vacation to Italy. Besides, I speak Spanish fairly well already, having spent time in Spanish speaking countries, and was hoping it would help me learn it more quickly. In some measure it has. With this software, the learning is a lot of fun, I just wish I had more time before my vacation!
To be honest i don't have any real reason to be learning a language. I live in a relatively isolated part of the UK and although i imagine that there are French speakers here, there is no huge amount of them to speak to here. Mainly though it is because i am envious of all the foreign people who can speak English, i recently went to Germany and was amazed at all the people who could speak amazing fluent English to me, it made me feel a bit stupid, because although i had previously studied German i could remember more or less nothing. I also have a lot of free time and i want to do something interesting and productive with it.
My dream since childhood has been to learn French and hopefully spend some time in Paris. Duolingo has become part of that dream as I live in a small U.S. city with no opportunity for learning French. I love every second I spend on duolingo. My family thinks I spend every free second on duolingo:)
I love learning languages, so I am! I want to learn German (which I currently am), Italian (I have family from there, so it'll be nice to know what they're saying to me), French (it's a pretty language), Russian (I really don't know...), and Japanese (It's a cool language!) And I suppose I should learn Spanish, my dad really want me to, but I kind of don't because of this horrible spanish teacher I had in elementary school, she kind of ruined it for me. I had her for 4 year and I only learned "Hola, amigo!" as did everyone else. And she had us call her Miss Senora Teacher. And anyways, I just want to learn as much stuff as I can, like languages!
I'll hop in here. It's pretty simple for me: I married into a Spanish-speaking family.
Immediately after meeting my then-girlfriend and hanging out with the Latin American contingent at college, I began to resent the feeling of being left out and resolved to, eventually, be able to at least understand them. That feeling was only intensified after getting married as there was a sizeable contingent of the family that did not speak English. The feeling of not being able to really get to know my new family on a personal level was not something I liked. I felt a foreigner in every sense of the word.
I've since seen quite a few latino(a) friends get married with an American and have that person make no effort whatsoever to learn their new families' language and I was determined not to be that way. So over the last year or so I've really doubled down on my efforts and it seems to be paying off.
As of now I've reached a level where my wife and I were able to make a pact to only speak Spanish to each other, something which has accelerated my learning immeasurably. It's certainly still not anything close to perfect, but I no longer hesitate to speak to any Spanish speaker I meet in their language. I'm also reading my first couple of novels in Spanish (which is exhausting).
As for how Duolingo fits in, it's a fun way to consolidate knowledge and push me to use more advanced verb tenses. Most of the vocabulary I know, but I'm always coming across new things or words I don't utilize often enough so that, should I need them in real life, they would flow without pause.
I heard that learning new things is good for the brain and might inhibit development of Alzheimer's disease. I exercise to keep body and brain fit so why not add more brain exercise? Plus I agree with others; I am tired of being a dumb American! I had 3- years of French in high school but Spanish seems practical living in Florida. I love Duolingo and love the lessons. I am also using Pimsleurs. Next back to French!
Just for the heck of it, really. I'm 16 and am currently learning Spanish in high school. I've found that I honestly love learning languages and I used Duolingo to help me keep my Spanish knowledge from fading during the summer. I tried learning German too, but decided that I would focus on Portugese which is much more similar to Spanish, and which I thought would be a bit easier to learn.
This discussion is a little bit old, but I also want to say something. :)
Currently I am learning more or less four languages: Dutch, Danish, Welsh and Russian.
Why? Well, when you live in Germany (as I do) The Netherlands and Denmark are neighboring countries. When you more specially live in Northrhine-Westphalia (as I also do) it is quite useful to understand and speak some Dutch because the Netherlands are "around the corner" and we often travel there. Nevertheless you won't see many Danish people here, so I learn the Danish language mostly because of curiosity and because I like the sound of the language. It bothers me that most people see Swedish as the "superior" language (based on the pronunciation and the sound) which I must disagree.
Welsh is just interesting. I don't know if I will continue learning it for the next months, but I like the special pronunciation exercise. Russian is mostly for practicing Cyrillic which I at least want to READ fluently - understanding is not so important at the moment.
Other useful languages in Germany would be Turkish and Polish but I found the Polish vocabulary extremely hard because many words are long, complicated and have almost no similarities to words of the Germanic languages. Maybe some time in the future. ;)