Why did you learn a language?

31 posts / 0 new
Senior Member
Joined: 12.07.2016
Pending moderation

So, why did you learn a language?

What was your reason to start jabbering a tongue none of the people around you understand?(The case with me and Arabic)

Why did you read the thing that seemed to be beyond your comprehension?

Joined: 09.04.2017

I discovered a song in the language and I fell completely in love. With the language, with the country, with the people. I don't know how to explain it but even though I suck at it, it feels so natural to me, it feels like home. More so than my native language, at least. It sounds crazy, but I feel like I was meant to speak that language.

Edit: Silly me, I should have specified. This language I'm referring to is Swedish

Joined: 09.04.2017

Since I'm learning 2 languages, the story for the second one is that I was cruising Duolingo awhile back and I was like "oh, Turkish seems fun" and I was right

Super Member
Joined: 13.11.2014

Crazy series of events. Met a Greek friend online. Started college and ended up doing my thesis on Greek mythology. Traveled to Greece after to see the places I was researching for so long. Immediately fell in love with the music, food, language, everything. Something like swedens0ur said, it felt like "home" for me. Now I see my future there. Greek isn't exactly going to do me much good on my CV, but this is the only language I've had enough passion to stick with.

Guest

At around age 15 I fell in love with Norwegian much in the way that @swedens0ur describes. I just thought to myself one day, "I wonder what it sounds like." It just came into my head. Then I did I search and I just got well, extremely interested or obsessed with it. I found one book on it in an old book shop, that had been published in the 60s. I still have it. Then, I bought one of those Teach Yourself courses with cassette tapes; and Iwas mad about anything I could find that was about or from Norway, Norwegian,etc. It was my personal language that I adored, and it got me exposed to Swedish and Danish.

But that was a long time ago.
I edited this post. It was longer before, much too long.

Guest

@bap19891

This most probably isn't goood "professional" advice, but it's good personal advice. Leave the CV to the world work on it but keep following
through with your passion. Sorry for the unsolicited "advice" but I thought ... I read that and was like wow.

Senior Member
Joined: 21.10.2016

Well, my passion for learning languages was almost killed by the cruel world around me as a child.

Besides English, I was forced to study Swedish in school (sorry @swedens0ur ), and even though I didn't hate it as much as the average Joe in Finland, it was still boring, stressful and felt completely unnecessary.

My teachers kept saying that studying Swedish will be useful some day, even if you don't personally know anyone who speaks Swedish, perhaps you'll need it at work etc. and I thought "yeah, right, whatever you say, you old hag"

But then I finished school and started learning languages as a hobby. First Russian, Hungarian, Estonian, until I fell in love with Norwegian - and oh god how happy I am now that I "wasted" those 6 years studying Swedish. Teachers were right, it ended up being useful eventually :party:

Super Member
Joined: 15.03.2014

The first foreign language I learned is English; because it was a compulsory object in my elementary school, and my mother encouraged me to be fluent in it :p

A decade later, I saw news about some polyglots, and I thought it was cool - but I never really started learning another foreign language, until...
I realized that for years I spelled Marco Reus' name wrong; yeah, it was my motivation to started learning German (although I'm still far from fluent) :p

Joined: 09.04.2017
bap19891 wrote:

Crazy series of events. Met a Greek friend online. Started college and ended up doing my thesis on Greek mythology. Traveled to Greece after to see the places I was researching for so long. Immediately fell in love with the music, food, language, everything. Something like swedens0ur said, it felt like "home" for me. Now I see my future there. Greek isn't exactly going to do me much good on my CV, but this is the only language I've had enough passion to stick with.

The difference here is that I'm not at all anywhere near fluent (and I've been doing this for 9 years). I don't have anyone to practice with. Absolutely nobody where I live speaks Swedish.

Joined: 09.04.2017
Väärentäjä wrote:

Well, my passion for learning languages was almost killed by the cruel world around me as a child.

Besides English, I was forced to study Swedish in school (sorry @swedens0ur ), and even though I didn't hate it as much as the average Joe in Finland, it was still boring, stressful and felt completely unnecessary.

My teachers kept saying that studying Swedish will be useful some day, even if you don't personally know anyone who speaks Swedish, perhaps you'll need it at work etc. and I thought "yeah, right, whatever you say, you old hag"

But then I finished school and started learning languages as a hobby. First Russian, Hungarian, Estonian, until I fell in love with Norwegian - and oh god how happy I am now that I "wasted" those 6 years studying Swedish. Teachers were right, it ended up being useful eventually :party:

I wouldn't call it a waste Wink smile but I'm really glad it paid off!

Joined: 09.04.2017

I'm not going to reply to every one if you individually because that would spam the forum, but you all have beautiful stories. I love hearing stories of people falling in love with language!

I have another story, about French. I don't actively study, but I did for all 4 years of high school and on my own in college, so about 7 years almost.

When I signed up for high school we had to pick between Spanish or French, because German was no longer available to new students. I've never really cared for Spanish (sorry everyone) so I signed up for French. I went into that class with the attitude of "this is stupid, I hate this, I wanna learn German." When school started, I found my passion for language, the only thing I've ever been passionate about. I knew that I wanted to be a linguist. And that passion has never stopped. I owe my French teacher everything. She showed me who I want to be. Shortly after I started French, I started learning Swedish, and the rest is history.

Super Member
Joined: 13.11.2014
rainymoon wrote:

@bap19891

This most probably isn't goood "professional" advice, but it's good personal advice. Leave the CV to the world work on it but keep following
through with your passion. Sorry for the unsolicited "advice" but I thought ... I read that and was like wow.

Yeah, I agree. My dream is to one day be teaching in Greece so I could actually turn my passion into my work. But until that happens I often get from people "you're studying Greek? Why?" haha Tongue smile

Joined: 09.04.2017

I get the same thing about Swedish ^^ along with "ew, why would you learn something you're never going to use?"

Editor || ᴋɪssᴇᴅ ʙʏ ғɪʀᴇ . ♔
Joined: 08.09.2014

On a whim, mostly. It's the truth, though.

Moderator of the Balkans :)
Joined: 07.12.2012

Oh, mine are quite a few Teeth smile

I was 6 when I started studying English, so nothing much to say about that one, wasn't really a conscious choice of mine.
I didn't really choose Italian either, I was in Italian school, studying it since I was 10 or 11.

The two choices I've made were French and Albanian.

I've always liked how French sounds, and I just wanted to learn it really badly - I even saved money and secretly signed in for a course because my parents didn't allow me to (because I had to apply for unis and concentrate on English, since I've decided to study in the UK, but hey, who cared? :D) I took it for 2 years at uni, and I think my desire almost died in my last year, as I moved up a level, but found it too hard and didn't have the time to study it properly, and some people in my class being far too good put me down.

As for Albanian... that is a really awkward story. I used to be in a relationship with an Albanian guy, that was when I first "discovered" their music and the fact that they have their own language? (sorry!) But during that time I knew 3 things at most - my passion for it came when I met my best friend around year and a half ago, and he helped me enormously - to the point where now he introduces me to his friends and I talk to them only in Albanian Teeth smile I just love how it sounds, love that it's a real challenge and that it's rare. Honestly, I don't care - nor do I need to explain to anyone my reasons for being passionate about a language like never before. It also helped me enormously to avoid disappointing people a few times, as where I live I meet them sometimes, and it's my secret "weapon".

Editor (and) усталый старик
Joined: 11.10.2014

Different languages, different reaons! But mostly I've learned languages either by accident or because I decided languages are fun so let's learn some more. I learnt spanish because I needed it.

Anyway:-

English, Gàidhlig: need I explain?

French, German: picked up odd bits when very young (no idea how or why).

That early start with multiple languages made me interested in the whole idea of languages.

Four or five years later began formal learning of French, German, and Latin as foreign languages at secondary school. The teachers were competent - kept it interesting. So I thiought I might become a linguist, but I became a mathematician instead - and as a mathematician (before I turned into a computer scientist or an engineer) I did worked on mathematical semantics, which brought me back to languages of a sort; of course the languages whose semantics mathematicians care about are vastly simple compared to natural human languages).

Started to learn some Japanese as a result of interest in Judo when about 13 - but didn't get anywhere because non-one I knew was competent at it.

Started to learn Russian at about 15, the school's German teacher organising lunch tiime lessons; got nowhere because the headmaster forbade use of school premises to teach that "communist nonsense". Carried on trying on my own, but gave up after a few months.

Became very interested in classical opera, so had to pick up some Italian to understand the lyrics - from about age 13 onwards, but Opera lyrics aren't the best way to lean Italian. French friends introduced me to Bobby Solo songs, which is at least less old-fashioned Italian.

When 20 years old found that combining that Italian with Latin to fill in the gaps got me laughed at but understood in some parts of Italy. Also spent a lot of time in France (mostly in the south, so I parlE commE ça). although I'd also spent a little time there while still at school.

Spent some time holidaying in Yugoslavia, so picked up a bit of Serbo-Croatian (now said to be 3 languages not one, but the little I learnt worked in Beograd, in Zagreb, and in Ljubljana, just as if it was one language). I haven't been back there since 1970, so have forgotten the language.

I've used French as one of my main working languages, but my German never got to an adequate standard for that and I didn't k=learn enough spanish to think of using it for that before I retired.

A while back my wife became to ill to cope with English climate in winter, so I had to find somewhere to live that would keep her alive. After looking at southern Egypt, Cyprus, and Spain (Canarias) picked and started lto lean Spanish. Actually put some real effort into that one (first language I ever did that with) because it was important. Still learning.

Learnt a bit of Galician (Gallego) recently because I made friends with some people from there. Learnt bits of several Occitan dialects (mostly Provençal and Catalá) through being there at one time or another, but mostly forgotten. Also learnt some Sicilian and some Neapolitan, mostly througgh nbeing interested in some songs in those languages, but wouldn't claim to be competent in either.

My German swings between school German and Bayrisch; both seem to work in Austria. But I've forgotten most of both.

Super Member
Joined: 08.04.2017

At my school, we were taught the basics of French and German. After two years, we were allowed to take one language to the next level (I chose German). In total, I learnt German at school for three years but it was really basic. Many years after that, there was a film on TV with some German dialogue and I could still recognise some of the words. So, I thought to myself it would be quite cool to speak a second language (I'm fascinated by multilingualism). I started to teach myself by looking through my old school notes, listening to German songs, buying grammar guides etc. I realised how basic my German lessons at school were (they didn't fully explain grammar rules, idioms, pronunciation, etc.). My German is currently at an intermediate level and I would love to be fluent one day.

I know there's a stereotype that German sounds harsh but I really like the sound of the language (I think this song sounds really beautiful http://lyricstranslate.com/en/Unheilig-Geboren-um-zu-leben-lyrics.html). I also like the fact that German spelling/pronunciation rules are consistent - everyone knows how inconsistent English spelling is, I'm so glad it's my first language!

Joined: 09.04.2017

@ Hoffnung- I used to detest having English as a first language because it's so "average" and "common" but after learning other languages and having foreign friends, it's made me greatful to not have to go through learning all the weird spelling and inconsistencies.

I also think German is beautiful, I stopped learning it due to having too much on my plate and French is more useful to me personally

Super Member
Joined: 08.04.2017

@ opulence: I would love to know what English sounds like to a native speaker.

I might learn another language in the future, but I want to master German first.

Joined: 09.04.2017

To a non-native speaker you mean? Me too. I've always wondered what people who don't speak English at all hear when they hear English, too.

I'm trying to master Swedish right now and it's not easy.

Super Member
Joined: 08.04.2017

Whoops, yeah I meant non-native. Good luck with learning Swedish. I don't know much about the language but I have heard a few songs in Swedish

Joined: 09.04.2017

I find it easier than German. I took German in college and the grammar was so difficult for me with all the cases

Translator of Western Europe
Joined: 30.04.2016

When I was a kid, I was already attracted to languages. My native language is Dutch. I learnt English without knowing by watching television. Most movies were in English with Dutch subtitles, so after a few years I could understand it properly since I was addicted to television that time.

I started learning French at school when I was 9, I really liked it because it sounded so "chique". Currently, this is my sixth year I'm studying French. It took a while for me to really understand it, but now, I'm fluently speaking it. Officially I started learning English at school when I was 12, but then, I was already able to speak it at a very high level.

Just a year later, I started to experiment with translating. First, I tried the Google Translate Community, which I still do now and then. I only translated simple texts from English to Dutch and vice versa. I really enjoyed translating, so I kept doing it.

When I was 14, I started to learn German at school. But of course, since German and Dutch are very related, it was easy to understand it. I usually don't translate to German because I haven't mastered it enough. However, I do German to Dutch, English and French regularly. I really like the sound of the German language because of its funny pronounciation.

When I turned 15, I wanted to learn even more languages! So, I learnt the basics of Spanish, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. I can understand simple texts, but for translating it, it is a bit soon. When I'm going to university in a few years, I'm going to study Scandinavian languages. Later on, I will move from Belgium to Danmark (or Sweden) and start a translation agency there. I always wanted to live there!

Joined: 09.04.2017

You should! Sweden and Denmark are awesome countries and that's really cool.

I think Dutch is a great language. As a native English speaker who knows the basics of German, I can read Dutch pretty well sometimes. Plus, I love the way it sounds. So being from Belgium, is the Dutch you speak Flemish?

Translator of Western Europe
Joined: 30.04.2016

Yes, indeed I speak Flemish. But it's not that there are many differences between Flemish and Holland Dutch. The only thing you might notice is that Flemish sounds more like German. You can see a difference in the Let it Go songs. Just google the Flemish and the (Holland) Dutch song of it. You might notice the differences, and if you don't like the song, you don't have to listen to it completly Wink smile

Joined: 09.04.2017

I am already a bit familiar with the differences. When I was in school my family hosted a Belgian exchange student and she told me a bit about it. Regular smile
But she explained it as there was West-Vlaams and then similar, but separate, Belgian Dutch which was much more standard, so I'm not sure how it actually works there Regular smile

Super Member
Joined: 08.04.2017

I've noticed that too. I can guess some Dutch words and understand a few sentences. That just shows how closely related English, German and Dutch are. Someone once described Dutch as the simpler version of German since it doesn't have cases.

Super Member
Joined: 08.04.2017

Wow, that sounds amazing. Good luck with university!

Member
Joined: 03.12.2016

My native language is Estonian.

I had to learn English in school, and I chose to learn Russian too. We use Russian a lot in my home. My brother, his native language is also Estonian but my dad taught him Russian when he was growing up along with Estonian and taught him about Russian culture since my dad grew up here while Estonia was still an SSR. And my brother grew up to be really patriotic to Russia, and even studied there for a while. Anyways, he will only speak Russian now, because he thinks it's the only proper language, and so we have to speak Russian in the home. It's very annoying, since he understands Estonian.

I also learned Swedish because I think it sounds like they sing when they talk, But I was no good at it. I learned Korea because my mom has been teaching English there for 11 years and I've visited her a lot.

Right now I want to learn Spanish and Polish, because my fiancé is half Spanish and half Polish, and they speak both in his home and I want to be able to understand what goes on when he talks to his family. His dad who is Polish speaks English with me, but his mom pretends to not know English, so learning a Spanish will help me get along with her better

Senior Member
Joined: 21.10.2016

Good luck for your Spanish studies! Knowing the language is probably a great way to impress a mother-in-law.

And I'm really sorry about your brother, his russophilia sounds pretty scary to be honest. I wouldn't have guessed that Estonians out of all people would still grow up to love Mother Russia. "Only proper language", issand jumal what next? Genocides, population transfers to Siberia? Sounds a bit too Soviet to be the 21st century.

Member
Joined: 03.12.2016
Väärentäjä wrote:

Good luck for your Spanish studies! Knowing the language is probably a great way to impress a mother-in-law.

And I'm really sorry about your brother, his russophilia sounds pretty scary to be honest. I wouldn't have guessed that Estonians out of all people would still grow up to love Mother Russia. "Only proper language", issand jumal what next? Genocides, population transfers to Siberia? Sounds a bit too Soviet to be the 21st century.

Thank you! Spanish is really hard with pronunciation, but I'm confident I can do it.

He's not scary about it, he just really likes languages. I saw someone describe on another forum post that a language they were learning felt like their native language, and I think that's how my brother feels. He just constantly points out things he doesn't like about languages that aren't Russian and then says like "Russian has this" maybe I made it sound more bad than it is in real life, it's annoying because we live in America now but every time I go out in public and I want to talk to him in English he speaks Russian.

No, no I don't want to make him seem like a bad person because he's not. He just, thinks he's Russian, but not a super communist red army Russian, just a normal Russian I guess