https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeniusJack

Why I learn languages

About 14 months ago, I was watching the tv show Young Indiana Jones. And a scene from one of the episodes, really inspired me, and I loved it so much. It's one of the reasons I learn languages. To be able to do what he does in the video, easily switch from one language to the other :D

Here's the video.

February 25, 2015

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jktsmith

My pre-teen son once asked me what superpower I would most like to have, and I said I would like to be able to speak and understand any language. He sighed and said that was probably the worst superpower ever when there are so many really great ones I could have picked and besides one of the X-men had that power and he died.

Postscript: My son is now an adult and speaks French, Spanish, and Urdu. (Hah, my parental Superpower?!) Thanks for the clip! Charming.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jayway223

That could prove very useful if you're on the run from very dangerous people, so you have to blend in wherever you go! :))

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmareloTiago

Cypher was never an X-Man. He was a New Mutant.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jktsmith

Son, is that you?

; j

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

The ability to speak and understand any language the worst superpower ever? Not by a long shot.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jktsmith

Thanks, scilling! Loved them all, whether sincere or parody or kinda hard to tell. Now I need the superpower to go back to 1996 with my snappy response that the Dazzler has a far worse power than (thanks, Deodwyn) Cypher. Although hmm, I must admit I have witnessed adult contemporary clear a room in no time. And yet, just like a kid in '96, never clean it.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KevanSF

One reason I've always liked learning new languages is that everything -- the whole world -- seems fresh and new in the new language. Even the most banal of sentences ("The duck eats the bread.") seems somehow magical when you're learning it in a new language. It's almost like being a little kid again, with the whole world out there, fresh and ready to discover. Not only the words are new, but some of the sounds are new, and also the they way the words fit together (word order, endings, ie grammar) is often new, since different languages choose to mark different things grammatically, so you're looking at the world from a different perspective. I find it really interesting and fun!

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Knoxienne

So true! That's how it is for me too. :) I love learning new words for all the things that everyone comes in contact with every day.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ilmarien

Haha, something a little bit like that happened to me a few months back. Ended up at a table full of Latin Americans after a big soccer game, got brave and tried to speak Spanish with them, and then one turned out to be Brazilian and I tried to switch to Portuguese, and then it turned out he'd grown up in France, and voilà, même meilleur!

I wouldn't have been able to maintain a conversation in any of them, but it was still kind of fun.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Azure_Waters

That sounds super fun! Lucky you :)

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ilmarien

Hehe, it was. My friend meanwhile wandered off and apparently found some German speakers somewhere else in the bar the same day. The glory of Manhattan soccer pubs, haha.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Azure_Waters

No way!! Sounds like my kind of night!! ^_^

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Selcen_Ozturk

That's cool:) Did you have a chance to speak any of the languages you learned here? Even if it is online?

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeniusJack

Oh, yes, I have!! :) Online, I've spoken all of my languages. And with some people, switched between several :D In real life, I've spoken Dutch and Italian with different people :)

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Selcen_Ozturk

great! I guess in about 3 months, we can speak Turkish on skype :P

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeniusJack

Haha, maybe! :D I would love that, Selcen!

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KristenDQ

It depends on what language you want to know the answer to for me. I'm certified in American Sign Language, learned Spanish on here, am currently learning French on here, and my next course is Italian. Here's why for each:

American Sign Language: When I was in college, I was studying to be a teacher and got my Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education. We had to take a foreign language as one of our requirements. My dad suggested A.S.L and I decided to follow his suggestion. I've always kind of liked it because my aunt and cousin both sign as well (and we're all hearing). As I was taking A.S.L 1 I noticed that many of the preschools around here incorporate it into their curriculum. Fast forward 4 years: I was getting my BA in Social Work when I realized I needed two electives. I liked A.S.L so much and still used it that I asked my academic advisor if I could take those courses I was missing for my Certificate in A.S.L and transfer them into my BA (I took them at the same school I got my Associate's from). I had talked about going back to school after I got my BA to get my certificate for years so when I was signing up for the courses, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for the certificate program. I worked with elders at the time, and decided to teach A.S.L to those who wished to learn while getting my Certificate. So now I use it to make communication easier for those who have speech or hearing issues.

Spanish: I used to volunteer for a local nonprofit. I started as a Receptionist and later got promoted to an Office Assistant. We have a large Spanish-speaking community here and many of my clients either had Spanish as their first language or it was their only language. We had a few case workers who spoke Spanish fluently who took on those clients, but often times I wouldn't understand what they wanted when they called or came into the office. There was frustration on both ends: they were frustrated I wasn't getting their needs met, and I was frustrated that I couldn't understand them in order to help them. So I decided to meet them halfway and learn Spanish.

French: We also have a large French or French Canadian community here. Although I fall under the latter category (my great grandparents were originally from Quebec), I only knew enough before starting my French course to get by. As I mentioned earlier, I used to work with elders. Many of my elders were first generation immigrants who had memory issues, including Alzheimer's Disease. Many of my residents did speak English, but it wasn't their first language and as Alzheimer's progresses, many people revert back to their native language, and in this case many of my residents did. Many of my residents came from Canada, so they would often speak mainly French. Many of my co-workers didn't speak French, and while I did speak a little, I was of little or no use, so I decided to meet them halfway and learn French.

As for Italian, I always wanted to learn it as I think it's a beautiful language. My mom also works for an Italian based company where many of her bosses speak Italian or Spanish (a few speak French) so we're taking those courses together!

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HebrewLearner

Any inspiration to learn a language is great. For me I started learning Hebrew because I'm going to Israel, want to learn Polish because I'm going there, want to learn Italian because of the great history and want to learn Greek for the same reason as Italian.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jayway223

Ha ha! That was funny! I shall do this one day! :D Just not with those exact languages, but most, yes. :))

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeniusJack

Haha, it really is! :D Me too!! That's my goal, except, I would like to know all those languages :D

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Noseinbook

I hope to be able to do that one day. Ironically, I am watching the first season of Young Indiana Jones right now for school.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hellerm

I am totally motivated now! That was a really cool video! Thanks! :D

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Naylor1993

This reminds me of a waiter I met in Greece last summer. As well as Greek, he spoke fluent English, French and Polish with the customers and even learned Albanian, the native language of some of his colleagues.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Taloua

I would like to see this scene if you remember it.

February 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

Oh no! The video didn't work for me. :( may I ask what I missed? Any tips on how I can search for it? From what I've heard here this reminds me of the time I was on a boat ride in Turkey and the guy driving the boat gave us the tour in 5 languages. :)

February 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/efisgpr

Ciao,

Click this (already cued up to the right time for you): www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zs1onzpnmms#t=353

Jones is dining out with a young lady (played by Liz Hurley) who, prompted by his mentioning having fought for independence in Mexico and served in the Belgian army, springs some French on him, which he answers in French.

She continues with German, Italian, Hungarian, Swedish, Greek, Arabic, and Welsh. She finally stumps him with the Welsh, however. She graciously offers that her mother was Welsh.

Further, he mentions speaking Spanish (while speaking Italian), that he prefers ancient Greek to modern, since it is "so much more poetic" and that his father spoke a lot of "Medieval English".

It was a good bit of writing, as the dialogue included charming lines that showed chemistry between the characters and advanced fluency.

Link to he episode's imdb page for anyone interested: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0752179/

February 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kingthatcher

I'd hesitate at the "advanced fluency" part, the accents were so incredibly horrible (I can't judge the welsh and hungarian, but the others were horrible). but cool of the directors to include it in the script. :)

February 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/efisgpr

I noticed that too, but I would take issue with great pronunciation being a prerequisite for "fluency". For example, one could live work in Germany for 25 years and never be talented &/or motivated enough with respect to accent reduction to attain great pronunciation, but would almost certainly have an expansive vocabulary, along with knowledge of idioms, slang, cultural nuances & the like. Thus, said person would speak German with advanced fluency, despite the bad accent.

They are nearly totally separate issues, IMHO.

I am very particular about developing great pronunciation from the beginning and support it wholeheartedly, to say the least, but you just can't equate great pronunciation with level of fluency. Fluency refers to the ability to flow, as in speaking at a natural speed.

There can be no disputing that they are most certainly flowing while speaking complex sentences, despite the horrid pronunciation.

Besides, as I stated, the writing "showed ...advanced fluency". Of course, I meant the lines, not the delivery thereof, as I was discussing the "writing" not the acting.

February 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paulaha88

Case in point: Henry Kissinger

February 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/efisgpr

Exactly, thanks...Or my friend's mom from Mexico who's been here for nearly 40 years, understands everything, uses every expression, etc. but uses almost purely Spanish phonetics while speaking English.

Or even people with a speech impediment....they are even native speakers with bad pronunciation.

February 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kingthatcher

Anyone with any study or even hearing the language once would not make the mistakes in mispronouncing lugha that they did with the arabic part, or the "spreche" in german, or really many of their errors (they would be all resolved by listening to someone say them, even just once, with any sliver of the correct pronunciation -- it feels like those videos on youtube that people make of english speakers at the drop of the hat trying to pronounce random words in other languages). But like I said, nice of them to include it in the script (writing).

February 26, 2015
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