Why Learn Language?

Clark   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 08:28 GMT
This may sound repetitive to some, boring to toehrs, and Tom might erase it, but I pose this question to you all anyway:


And as humans, why do we see oursleves as being so different? I mean, we are all flesh and blood, we all possess some form of language; why must we classify ourselves as "Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, American Indian, Asian, etc..." ? What makes it even more weird is that we classify after we have already classified; "I am Western European" or "He is Jewish" or "she is tri-racial."

I know that I cannot change the way the world thinks, so I would like to kow what some of you think about this subject.
Clark   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 08:29 GMT
I meant "to others."
mjd   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 08:32 GMT
Classifying ourselves into different groups seems to be embedded into the human psyche; specific bonds are formed through growing up with certain surroundings, languages, customs, etc.

People wish to learn languages because it helps them understand these differences and similarities better.


Don't you feel that you're a different and more educated person since you started learning French? You've been exposed to a different method of seeing the world, through another language.
Clark   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 09:07 GMT
Yes I do mjd. And I am not saying anything bad about learning languages; I am simply just trying to understand why people want'like'need to learn language.

As for the classifying ourselves, I wish we did not have to do that, or if it were kept to a minumum like, "I am European" or "I am American" (and by "American" I mean a person from the American continent).

Also, even though my ancestors were from Europe, I am still American (again, from the continent) because I was born here. Saying that I am "European" is only true in the sense of origin.

I don't know about you, but this is one subject that I find really interesting (especially when the language issue is involved).
--00--oo   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 19:09 GMT
One is to learn language because one must do what feels good to one. If one learns language because one has work, that is good. If one learns language because one wants to, that is good.
brossmen   Wednesday, August 13, 2003, 06:05 GMT
i think that a person should learn a language that is useful. even if a person does not have reason to learn a language, as long as the language is spoken by many people because this way there will always be a person to talk with.
Clark   Wednesday, August 13, 2003, 19:26 GMT
Languages are useful to learn if there is work involved, but some people find it fun and interesting to learn languages as a hobby. I would like to add more things to the larning process, but I have found that while it is fun to speak languages, it can get boring learning them.

However, I am going to take my learning to the next level. For the longest time now, I have been mucking around with the basics of language, and I have not got into the heavey grammar and learning process. I have just come at languages very casually. So now, I am going to really focus on French, and perhaps German and/or Spanish. I think that if I do this, language learning will not seem so dull. What does anyone think about really focusing and studying about one or two languages really hard in order to always keep busy?
Ryan   Thursday, August 14, 2003, 03:38 GMT
Languages are part of cultures and learning about other cultures and why they are the way they are is interesting.

Clark   Thursday, August 14, 2003, 05:03 GMT
I agree, but eventually, one just has to experience those cultures because one can only get so much without actually experiencing the real thing. Don't you agree?
Ryan   Thursday, August 14, 2003, 05:54 GMT
Yes, I agree with you, Clark, although one can learn languages just to read books in that language, for instance. I learned some Japanese so I could read Japanese manga but I've never been to Japan. I cannot speak the language very well at all but I'm somewhat proficient at reading.

Sometimes the act of learning itself can be fun without experiencing the culture. This sounds nerdy but I enjoy picking a complicated language just to see if I can learn it. But it's more worthwhile to travel and experience culture, as you say.

Michal Ryszard Wojcik   Saturday, August 16, 2003, 09:42 GMT
This page
contains four reasons why I started to learn another foreign language two years ago.

It is a perfect example of wanting to learn a language without even a thought of its culture. I chose a language almost at random - the important thing was to be learning "yet another foreign language" no matter which.
Lou   Thursday, August 21, 2003, 08:03 GMT
How about communication as a reason? When my younger daughter was posted in Nice, I went to visit her a number of times. The first time, during the time she was working, was a horror. I couldn't say a word to anyone.
The next time was much better, because by that time I had started learning French. It was fun, and I didn't have to use my hands and feet so much. Same thing with Italian and Spanish, and now, Portuguese.
When I came to this German-speaking country years ago, I didn't know a word of the language. Never went to school either to learn it, just picked it up. OK, they speak dialects here, not pure German, but even that I have picked up somehow. It'll never be perfect, because it just doesn't grab me the way Italian does for example, but I can TALK to the people.
caledonian scot   Friday, August 22, 2003, 09:26 GMT
erm??? so you can COMMUNICATE
friggin tosser
Clark   Monday, August 25, 2003, 07:27 GMT
Language is communication, and some people speak languages simply to communicate with others, some learn languages to be able to read material in foreign languages, and othes just learn languages for fun.

I like learning about other cultures, and I think that I should learn about other cultures through the French language for a couple of reasons: one, to get an idea of how Francophones see other cultures, and two, to learn more about the French language. I think that doing anything to improve language skills is a plus, and language skills will improve a lot if one does something in the target language that is pleasing and not tedious.