Why do people start learning a new language? Some do it to travel more comfortably, others because it may help them during their professional career. However, not everyone’s reasoning is so pragmatic. There are people who can do it just for fun or because they enjoy acquiring new skills. On the other hand, there are people with more weird backstories for their language acquisition journeys.
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- People start their language learning journeys for a myriad of reasons, ranging from the practical to the peculiar.
- While many learn languages for noble or practical reasons, some motivations can be more self-serving or superficial. This includes learning a language to impress others on the internet or using language skills primarily to boost one’s ego.
- Regardless of the reasoning, the act of learning a new language is a personal and unique journey. Even the most unconventional reasons can fuel the dedication needed to master a new language and that’s something to be proud of.
Recently, a discussion started on Reddit featuring an intriguing question.
If you think that OP’s motivation and intent aren’t that malicious (after all who doesn’t want to find love), you would certainly gasp reading through the comments. People shared the most out-of-pocket reasons for starting to learn a new language. And who are we to keep this hilarious and simultaneously concerning thread away from you? Read away and see that getting a new language to appear on your resume isn’t just a whim, but a rather thought-through decision, compared to these.
Learning for the Dating Scene – Sooo, is it That Bad?
Let’s just sort out the main OP’s question: no, learning because you want to date someone of another nationality isn’t inherently bad. Many Redditors agree that if such a simple desire is what motivates one to keep going through a language acquisition journey, that’s just what it is. After all, it takes a lot of time and effort to get new communication skills, learn all the rules, and expand vocabulary. So, a bit of a side portion of motivation such as “getting a cute date” won’t harm anyone.
“As long as you aren’t harming anyone whatever floats your boat I guess. I’ve seen that being the motivation to learn a language on multiple occasions with some even paying off. But really, the worst reason for learning a language is “Because I have to”. Like you have to learn it at school but you have zero interest in the language or culture.”
“Eh, as a motivation, no. But if you try to use language learning as a dating opportunity, go to the country with the sole intent of dating, or use your new language to bother women, then yes, that’s bad. (For that first one: I and a lot of other women have stopped or never started using peer-to-peer language exchange apps specifically because so many guys use them to try to flirt with every vaguely feminine-looking profile, which is not a fun experience when you’re not interested in dating and men aren’t interested in anything but dating.)”
Thus, in some cases, yes, such reasoning can be viewed as gross, mostly because it is very egocentric. In this situation, shallowness takes over the whole language learning process and so once you reach the level of communication that will allow you to get what you want, you won’t see any progress afterward. As some Redditors mentioned, this can especially be seen on online communication websites and platforms.
“People that “learn languages” so they can “impress” people on Omegle and do YouTube videos about it.”
“Especially the YTers who can barely speak most of the languages they claim to have learned and then try to sell you their program/book/app on how to learn languages fast…”
This isn’t harmful but annoying reasoning, that just shows a person wanting to stroke their ego and get views. Most polyglots, in this case, would see it as unworthy behavior and maybe even as a disrespect towards the specific culture.
Rather Funny “Worst” Reasons for Starting Learning a Language
The motivations behind learning a new language can be as diverse as they are amusing. As we read through the thread, we found that some users shared rather unconventional reasons for their linguistic pursuits. Among these, one user recounted how in prison, language learning became a means of secretive communication and racial solidarity, with different groups picking up languages like Nahuatl and Swahili (and, no jokes, but German too).
Another user humorously admitted to learning their spouse’s native language for the sole purpose of eavesdropping on phone calls, stating,
“I’m learning my husband’s native language so I can eavesdrop on his phone calls.”
Meanwhile, a quirky individual took up French with the odd intention of deliberately not speaking it, as another user shared,
“I recently made acquaintance to a guy who ‘learned French so that he can choose NOT to speak it’.”
One of the more peculiar revelations came from a user who spoke about a university Arabic course, where almost all the students had enrolled intending to become missionaries in Arabic countries. The surprise at the dinner with their professor was quite a scene: “I can’t even imagine what the professor would’ve felt like.”
And then there’s the case of mistaken linguistic similarity, where a user’s friend, who also had a friend with Latvian origins, started learning Russian under the misguided belief that “Russian and Latvian are very similar.”
And even though this may have come from a place of innocence, in all seriousness – don’t ever be that ignorant if you want to introduce yourself to another culture. Just, spend some time to at least review it first. As with this situation, someone mentioned this could end in two very separate but excessive ways:
“I guess that presenting his Russian skills to any Latvian relatives can only end in extreme ways. A huge celebration, or not talking to him ever again after the insult :-D”
Embracing the Quirks: The Many Faces of Language Learning
Well, who would have thought the world of language learning could be such a wild ride? Not us. Sure, wanting to impress a crush or land a date might seem a bit shallow, but hey, if it gets you through the tough grammar and vocabulary, more power to you. Remember, it’s about the journey, not just the destination.
And even if your reasons do make people around you raise an eyebrow, no need to shame yourself. Whether you’re learning for love, for a laugh, or to read a fanfiction series that you like so much – embrace your reason, no matter how odd it might seem. After all, in the grand scheme of things, any motivation to learn is a good motivation, right?
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