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One language leading to another...

Hey all!

Since starting here on Duolingo almost a year ago (that's a little hard to believe, but another post for another time), I've gone from pretty much a language-learning hater to a language-learning lover (an L-Cube). Has that happened to you, and in what way?

March 5, 2015



I can relate. In high school... Ugh I get shivers when I think about those days... I took French and it was a pain because I did not like my teacher or some of my classmates and frankly the pace was too fast for me. I ended up receiving a pretty bad grade. Fast forward to college, and that is when I fell in love with French and I got the highest grade in the class. Finally, I got the hang of language learning! My positive experience led me to study more about languages and I found my calling..... Historical linguistics!! :D


I had a very similar high school experience with french. I was known as the guy who hated french class and generally struggled with it. Four years after finishing high school, I was reading a biography on St. John Paul II (Witness to Hope) and felt very inspired to learn Polish so that I could read some of his poetry and philosophy in the original language. The complexity of Polish fascinated me and for about 6 months I dove headlong into studying it. The next step in my language learning adventure was when I entered the seminary last fall to become a Catholic priest. I had to start studying Latin and I quickly began to love it. The language itself was fascinating, but also the professor had such an enthusiasm for language learning in general that I caught the bug. I'm now working on Latin (in school for grammar and on Memrise for vocab), Spanish, French, as well as German on Duo, and anxiously awaiting the Ukrainian, Russian and (far off) Polish course!

I think the biggest hurdle for me was coming to realize that I actually am capable of learning another language. I had always believed, because of my high school experience with French, that I "wasn't gifted" at learning languages, or that i didn't have what it takes. Once I started learning Polish, I watched a number of talks online that dispelled that notion. They explained how there wasn't a language learning gene or anything that stopped people from learning if they didn't have it. Sure enough, once I familiarized myself with how to learn a language it became much easier. Shockingly, I even realized that I'm good at it. I've gone from being known as the guy who hates foreign languages, to the "language geek", all because of an attitude change and a little practice!

I still have a long way to go before I can call myself a polyglot or even fluent in most of these languages, but the journey to that goal has become a great source of joy in my life, and for that I am very thankful.


I love your story!


Wow, I can't imagine YOU ever hating languages! That is wonderful that you've had such a transformation in such a short time!


'Tis true. ;) Thanks. ;)


My English teacher said in high school there is no hope for me to learn English, and now I am here and learning another lenguage via Englis. I'm sure I make a lot of mistake, but I understand everything and I enjoy the process.


The point of language is communicating. If you can understand what you hear or read, you are communicating successfully. Stop focusing on your errors and celebrate your successes!


Awesome that you are proving them wrong just by learning! Your English is very good. :)


Gogogo!!!! The thing I love the most is to prove them wrong by doing it!!!


Hi, So nice to see you! :)

Well, I never hated it or any subject, but I bought into the hype, like many of us do, that I wasn't particularly good at it because I didn't learn to speak it although I took it in High School for about 2 or 3 years. I realized if you just save up the money and take intensive courses you will, with concentrated work and most importantly time, be able to do well in another language. As long as you get out of the Basic level and into the Intermediate level (past learning numbers over and over and over - that I can't stand) you can have some fun with it. :) "Mastery" takes much longer, but I can't believe how much these other languages have become a part of me and changed my brain. They don't necessarily get massively easier after the first one, but you do learn that it is possible to pick up another language (although you then develop the fear of losing it!) and can approach it more efficiently and with a sense of hope. :)


Hey, tnel!

I agree about getting past the basics. The first hump is the hardest, but once you get past it, it's hard to go back. :) Yep, not significantly, but enough that it keeps it fun without being too tough.


Yes, French was my worst subject at school. I thought I had no language ability whatsoever. Hurrah for duolingo for teaching me otherwise. I came here reluctantly as my son was nagging me to learn a language with him. Now I am addicted.


The best stories are the ones that end with "I'm addicted". ;)


I always loved languages, I always wanted to learn as many of them as possible, and I always lacked motivation to continue, so I would give up after a few weeks. That's why there about ten languages now, which I can understand to some point, 1.I know grammar (Greek), 2.I know a lot of vocabulary (Korean), 3.I can understand most of the language being spoken (Japanese), or 4.I can understand something when I read it (Norwegian) and as ridiculous as it is - besides English - I've never been able to get to the point of combining all of it together. So I'm not really able to use any of them at this moment. (hopefully I'll be able to master them with the release of new trees :) ) Duolingo helps me to keep focused on the goal and I'm quite satisfied with the results. (It's been five months of studying Spanish everyday and that's a record for me).

The second thing, that Duo did for me, was letting me to look at German in a different way. I used to hate this language (I took classes at school for six years and still couldn't understand anything) but now, while going through the tree, I started to enjoy it. And even after finishing my tree and I still enjoy learning new vocabulary and grammar. :)


That's great about you and German! New perspectives can be immensely helpful. :)

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