Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

General discussion about learning languages
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby chove » Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:33 am

Gaelic, because it feels culturally important and it's endangered, but I don't think I could face actually learning it.
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Xenops » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:01 am

I confess I'm tempted to say "Japanese", because the more I learn it, the more I realize there is to learn. :shock: If I was fluent now, I have people I would chat with, and I would dive into the Japanese Internet. But like others have said, there is value in the struggle. One point in particular comes to mind: I need to figure out for myself how to learn a language to C-level, for when I attempt other languages.

I also thought I might say "Korean". It is another category 5, and I honestly don't know if I will ever have the time and dedication for another challenging language. Because of their comic scene, I considered learning enough Korean to be able to read, and maybe write. After Professor Arguelles and our own lichtrausch calling it the most difficult language they have encountered, I'm not optimistic that I will ever reach a comfortable level in all four skills.

Most likely I would pick a language that has very few learning resources--certainly not a FIGS language, and probably not a JACK language either. I'm thinking something that is extinct, or is nearly extinct, or just isn't well known. Manchu would be an example: it is treated as extinct, and the resources are the fewest I have seen for any recent language.
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:55 am

Eliza wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:...however on that topic (hard work), I think what makes language learning something we are proud of when we achieve our language learning goals is the fact that we've accomplished it ourselves and done the hard work. I may or may not take the offer from the genie, but I doubt I'd appreciate Arabic if it were given to me in the form of a wish. I therefore would perhaps reject it on some kind of subconscious level, or even consciously. Mind you were genie's the norm or if some kind of (scary) technology were invented that would download things including languages to our cyborg brains, and that was acceptable, then language learning would no longer seem a decent achievement and choosing Arabic would be like going out for lunch and choosing something to eat. Perhaps not, but food for thought.

I don't think I would take the genie's offer up in the end in all honesty. Sorry to be a kill joy. Perhaps we under value our struggles? Still, if we're just 'playing' and you want me to entertain you, Arabic it is.

Isn't that the situation of children that are raised bilingual? :) (Or more precisely this is "you put effort in it but you don't remember it because you are only two years old.)

Yes and no. I do think at times it would've been nice had my father taught me his mother tongue as a child. As we forum members learn a language via a lengthy journey, a child goes on a journey as well, albeit a different sort of journey to learn a language when we consider heritage languages. It doesn't stop at the age of two. My daughter is 6 and she would be neither B2 nor C1 in any language.

Granted, its easier than learning it as an adult in many ways, but its still a journey and that counts more than the destination as we could say. Had the genie said I can grant you your heritage language, I'd still decline I think, as the journey, whether via one's family or through pushing oneself as an adult still holds much more value than getting straight to the end result even if that means you can be granted your heritage language or not have it all since your father didnt speak it with you. 'Cheating' wouldn't hold the same value whatever the journey to acquiring the language entailed.
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Adrianslont » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:42 am

My first thought was French or maybe Indonesian - the two languages I am studying. But then I realised I am already a good way down the track and that would be somewhat a waste of a wish. I would be better off picking a language where I got “more”.

Second thought was Sundanese or Balinese - I could impress lots of locals whenever I am actually allowed to leave Australia and go to Indonesia next. But then I thought that seemed shallow, wanting to impress people - and really I could just speak to those same people in Bahasa Indonesia.

I finally settled on Chinese. I’d get lots of “bang for wish” with that. It’s difficult and the writing system would be totally new to me so lots of “free” with that. And the tones scare the hell out of me. There are a lot of Chinese speakers in my city and China isn’t so far away from me, and other countries with Chinese speakers such as Singapore and Malaysia.
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby 白田龍 » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:12 am

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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby nooj » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:38 am

Limiting myself to currently spoken languages, I would choose a language that would be very different from my current languages and that I would have trouble learning, due to resources, lack of time or my current distance from the speaker community, meaning that I couldn't practice it regularly. So to sum up, I would choose a language that is very 'impractical' for me to learn right now, but not so 'impractical' so as to never use it later.
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby badger » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:58 am

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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Dragon27 » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:10 pm

I will just put off the decision for later, and think of it while I'm learning my languages, trying to assess the usefulness of each one of them and how much time and effort they demand, in order not to squander my wish on a suboptimal decision, and eventually never get to use it at all.
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Ogrim » Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:30 pm

If you had asked me three-four years ago I would have said Arabic, but now I am enjoying the learning process too much so I rather feel proud of the little progress I make on my own.

I think my answer must be Classical Greek. Being a "dead" language, the learning process itself is less satisfying, and the only reason I want it is to be able to read the works of Homer, Aristophanes, Longus, Aristotle and the other writers and philosophers in the original.
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby SCMT » Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:33 pm

Wait... aren't genies supposed to grant 3 wishes?
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