“Which language should I learn?”
If you catch yourself asking this question, here’s pretty much how you’ll go about answering it. And answers will sound good, they’ll sound logical, you’ll feel smart… and then you won’t learn whatever language it was.
Common Answers to “Which language should I learn?”
You should learn Spanish! Why learn Spanish?
350 million speakers worldwide and counting. You’ll have lots of people to talk with! You can also improve your travel and employment potential. Sounds nice, eh? You can also appreciate Spanish culture more.
Or, you should learn German! Why learn German?
You can prepare for a global career *cough heard this one before* and better understand your business partners. You can also enjoy their culture. Germany has a booming economy. Oh, and of course, it’s easy because it’s similar to English.
Here’s a good idea, learn Chinese! Why learn Chinese?
Oh, oh, business! China has a huge market of people and stuff. You can also work and live in China. One fifth of the world’s population speaks Chinese. That’s more than the Spanish!
So in short, these common answers often are….
- Business opportunities
- Better understand other people
- Travel and study abroad
- Know your neighbors
- Have plenty of speaking partners
- Appreciate and understand culture
………and so on. But there’s one problem. I’ll let you know what it is soon.
Am I saying you shouldn’t learn these languages? Of course not! But I guarantee you, those logical, rational, well-researched reasons will not convince a typical language learner. “Learning a language” to better understand a culture you don’t yet care about isn’t a very convincing reason in the long run.
The problem is these reasons sound nice and all but they’re NOT what typical learners are convinced by. And most learners that go for these reasons end up quitting.
So, which language should you learn?
You should learn the language you’re interested in and feel curious about. Key word here is FEEL. If logical reasons convinced people world-wide, all those “5 Reasons Why You Should Learn _______” articles would’ve sent you straight off of your chair and into a language class until you were fluent.
But that probably didn’t happen.
So, what are you interested in and feel excited about?
Know why anime lovers and J-drama watchers learn Japanese? Because they love what they watch and they want to understand it better. And they’ve been exposing themselves to Japanese culture on a daily basis. Not because some article told them that learning Japanese will help them better understand their “business partners.”
Know why K-POP lovers and K-Drama lovers learn Korean? Same reasons as above.
Know why Chinese learners choose to learn Chinese? I bet you it probably has more to do with how they “feel” about China and Chinese rather than that China will give them more economic opportunities.
So, stop looking for logical reasons. They won’t work.
Start looking for why you want to, why you’re interested, which languages make you FEEL something. And those are the ones that you’ll probably want to learn. And better yet, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding.
Comment below: What languages are you learning and why?