Who tells you to learn languages for these reasons is wrong
There are hundreds of reasons to learn a language but not all of them are equally useful if you want to learn a language properly.
In fact, I think that some motivations can be negative for good language learning success.
Here are three reasons plus one reason why you should not learn a new language.
The first reason is because someone said it looks nice on your CV.
This may be actually true - knowing French in North African countries is a good idea, as well as knowing English almost anywhere else in the world - however, just knowing a language is seldom enough to get a job.
In the vast majority of cases, having a language on your CV will only serve to improve an existing and marketable range of skills.
If you do not have marketable skills, knowing a language will probably not get you hired anywhere.
So, you are wrong to want to learn a language just because you think it might get you a job.
Take all the time and effort you want to devote to language learning and put it into legitimate skills at work instead. In particular, focus on the type of skills that non-linguistic enthusiasts use to get a job.
Once you have this skill, you can try to learn a language to differentiate yourself from people in your field. For example, a bartender who is qualified to speak several languages is likely to have better job opportunities than a bartender who only speaks one.
The second reason is because someone told you that you can learn a language properly and quickly and become fluent in it fast.
Nowadays there are many creators and content providers who claim that high levels of language competence can be achieved in a few days, weeks or months.
From personal experience most of these claims are false.
If you are learning a language just because you have been told it is something you can do in a few months and then magically master it, then you should probably reconsider your plans.
Even though theoretically you could learn a language fluently for several months, you still have to stay engaged in the language for as long as after those few months are over.
This is because language skills increase with practice and if you do not use them frequently, you will lose them.
The third reason why you should not learn a foreign language is because someone said it is a healthy hobby that is good for you.
Usually hobbies include playing a music instrument, going to the gym, reading books and learning a language.
All these activities are great uses of time but you don't have to make an effort to learn a foreign language just to spend a few hours of your free time even if you are not passionate about it.
The last reason why it is not worth learning a foreign language is because you want to make an impression on people with it.
From my point of view you are making a mistake if you start studying languages just to impress others and to show how cool and educated you are.
Although it can certainly be fun to show your language skills occasionally, these experiences are a very small portion of what language learning truly is.
And, to be fair, most of them are not so appealing. Until you get to a point where you really feel comfortable with a language, most of the experience is studying grammar books, having conversations with a tutor or exchange partner, watching movies by yourself, writing and reviewing notes.
These were some of the reasons why I do not recommend learning a foreign language. If you are not really interested in studying, I suggest you leave it alone and devote your time to something else.
What motivates you and your language exchange friends to study a foreign language? Let us know in the comments!
- Learning Languages
- 29 Aug, 2020
- 1081 views