During the lockdown(s), you got bored. You downloaded Duolingo, Memrise or Babbel. And you started the basics of learning another language. But now, the novelty has faded away. Life is somewhat back to normal. Maybe you were already starting to struggle with the language you were trying to learn.
You start to wonder: why bother continuing learning another language?
Well, I’m here to give you a motivational push and believe me, I’ve got answers to allllll your favourite excuses! So don’t try and come for me with them. If you’re here, then you’re here to learn.
Let’s dive in and answer the question: why should I learn another language and what language should I learn?
Why bother learning another language?
Why bother indeed. Why bother doing anything?
There are many reasons you should bother learning another language. Simply put, learning another language makes you smarter, provides serious academic and professional advantages, gives you more global social skills and allows you access to a new culture. And if that’s not enough, just think that you’ll be able to watch your favourite Netflix show in its original language AND understand it. Cool, no?
Stay tuned for the next post if you want to dive deeper into why you should bother learning another language.
But I don’t need to learn another language for my career.
Good for you. You’re one of a small percentage of privileged people in the world who can operate an entirely successful life in one language. Give yourself a pat on the back.
But have you ever wondered what could happen to your career if you did? Where it could take you? How high it could elevate you? The doors it could open?
You didn’t need to buy a new suit for that job interview, but I bet you did. You didn’t need to buy a fancy notebook and pens for your first day, but I bet you did. Imagine what would happen if you invested that money into languages instead?
I’m too old to learn another language.
I won’t lie to you. It’s going to be harder to learn another language as an adult. The words don’t stick as much as they do for kids. But there are plenty of resources on how you can learn a foreign language as an adult, including this interview I did with Mundey Young on learning your first foreign language as an adult.
Start small. Climb the ladder. Commit. Dedicate yourself. Go get it.
I’m too busy to learn a new language.
What you mean to tell me is that you don’t want to find time to learn a new language. And hey, you know what? That’s totally fine! If learning a language is not your priority, then it’s not your priority. But be a grown-up and admit it.
Nobody is too busy to do anything. It’s about what we allow ourselves to prioritise in our lives. Obviously, if you’ve got kids, I suggest prioritising them first and foremost. It’s frowned upon if you leave them to fend for themselves (so I hear). But you understand what I’m saying, right?
You’re in charge of your life. If you want to learn a new language, get organised and make it a life priority.
I don’t like the language I’m learning.
This was a genuine excuse in my research for not learning a language and I just can’t 🤦♀️. If you don’t like the language you’re learning, you have two options.
- Choose discipline over motivation and crack on with it regardless.
- Change it.
Most of you reading this are adults. You have a choice to learn a different language if you so wish.
If you’re living in the country of the language you’re learning, I might suggest the discipline option. It might take longer to learn but there will come a point, a bit like driving a car or riding a bike, where it just…sticks.
Why learn a new language that I can’t/won’t use?
We do tons of stuff that “doesn’t matter” in our lives. Why play sports if you’re not a professional? Why sing if you’re never going to be a pop star?
If we stopped doing stuff that isn’t useful to us, we’d all be living boring, monotonous lives. And your boss would likely use it as an excuse to overwork you even more than they do already.
I would also like to point out that I paid no attention in my German classes at school because “when the hell am I ever going to use German?” 😂 oh, the irony.
My point is: you never know if you’ll use a new language. So learn it anyway. Have it in your back pocket for party tricks and special occasions. Bonus points if it’s a rare language.
What language should I learn?
So I’ve convinced you to learn another language, huh? But now you’re screaming at me: HELP! I DON’T KNOW WHAT LANGUAGE TO CHOOSE!
It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed. After all, there’s a world of choice out there. There are some 7000 languages spoken in the world today, some by as few as eight people.
Mandarin and English are by far the most widely spoken, with Hindi and Spanish coming up behind them. So perhaps you pick one of these. After all, you’ll be able to travel widely with any of these languages under your belt.
Or perhaps you might want to learn a more unique language. One that suits you better. Arabic, Portuguese or even Welsh (good luck with that one! 😂).
I want to learn an easy language
If you’re a native English speaker and you’re looking for an “easy” language to start off with, allow me to recommend the Nordic languages, but particularly Norwegian. Why? Well, logically, as a native English speaker, you’re going to want to learn a language that comes from the same family as English.
If you didn’t know, English is a Germanic language. Therefore another Germanic language makes for an “easy choice”. Dutch, Afrikaans, German, and Nordic languages. But Norwegian is great because it follows the same grammar system as English, UNLIKE GERMAN 😏.
Fair warning: no language is actually easy. It’s like learning to ride a bike. Pain, frustration, cuts and bruises but eventually, somewhere down the line, it sticks.
Find your ‘why’
But the real key to understanding what language you should start learning is to find your ‘Why’.
Why are you doing this? Why do you want to do this?
Your ‘Why’ gives you room to create goals that you can work towards. Your ‘Why’ is going to help keep you motivated and on track with your learning.
Work out your ‘Why’ and then you can start learning a language.
❗ I’ve got my ‘Why’ but I’m still stuck on which language to pick!
So start learning some. There are so many free or cheap options out there these days. Make a list of the five languages you are most interested in learning. Download a language learning app and start learning!
As we’ve already discussed, if you don’t like it, you can drop it and change it. But at least you tried it.
Tools to help you find your language.
- Babbel has a great quiz online that will help you get closer to understanding what language you want to learn.
- You can also download a language learning app to start with like Duolingo, Memrise or Babbel.
- Watch some YouTube videos about the language.
- Watch a film or TV show in that language.
- Talk to other people who speak the language (either as a native or as their second, third or fourth language).
- Take an affordable online class on a learning platform like italki (and get $10 credits if you sign up through this link!).
Now you’re fully equipped to start your language learning journey!
Are you learning a language or do you want to learn a language? Let me know, we can chat about the ups and downs of committing to a foreign language 👍