Learning a Language You Don't Love

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JohannaNYC
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby JohannaNYC » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:00 am

Xenops wrote:When I look back, I realized I haven't loved Spanish for a long time: several years, at least. But the prospect of being "free" to try other languages, like maybe French, German or Korean, or seemingly random ones like Turkish or Persian, makes my skin tingle with excitement. :mrgreen:


That's the problem with only studying one language, you're always thinking about the other ones you could be studying instead. At least that was my problem before finding HTLAL, I couldn't decide between Arabic and Croatian so I learned neither. Have you considered learning both Spanish and German? Or you could focus on studying German while using the Spanish you already have in your community or for consumming media. You said there are no movies you want to watch in Spanish, how about asking for recommendations? What about music? Books?

I fall in love with the languages I'm learning by becoming friends with people who are more comfortable speaking that language than English and by actively seeking out media to complete the Super Challenge. Other than reading the Master and Margarita in its original Russian (a language that I'm not starting anytime soon) there's no book, movie, or tv show that I'm dying to see in any language other than English.

If languages are like relationships then I'm definitely a polygamist. Serial monogamy might work too, but I probably couldn't stick to just one language for more than six months before moving on to the next one.

So my advice is try studying other languages at the same time, if you still hate Spanish while being free to study all the other languages you want, then it just wasn't meant to be.
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby CarlyD » Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:03 pm

Cavesa wrote:
CarlyD, if you can find something to enjoy in Spanish, it will go better, if not, it is hard to tell. I would in general say, as we are talking about sunk cost fallacy, that losing an A1 or A2 in a langauge is not such a big loss and it could eventually pay off as a small bonus when starting a romance langauge you would actually like. Around B1, that's where it gets harder to decide, I guess. But if part of your trouble is not studying German because of "having to finnish" Spanish, than perhaps you should consider giving more time to German and continuing Spanish slowly on side.


caam_imt put it beautifully talking about being compelled to return to a language again and again. I guess that's me and Spanish. After writing my original reply, within a few days I was at Memrise picking out 8 more Spanish courses and then at ThriftBooks buying 15 more used Spanish fiction books. The honeymoon is over but I guess we're not ready to break up yet.
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby tarvos » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:20 pm

I've never understood this obsession with learning and doing things you don't want to do. It's a recipe for disaster from the start. It's a bit different when you're a kid and you've got to play according to the rules of society, but once you're out of prison you're free to do what you want.

Especially in language learning: there may be hundreds of millions of native Spanish speakers, but you can never meet all of them! Probably there are more native Mexican Spanish speakers than Spanish ones, but I still learned to speak Spanish from Spain, because that's the Spanish I love and need, and because that was the Spanish spoken around me every day. If it's German you want to learn, learn German. I promise you'll be able to find a use for it - if only because your final level's going to be better.
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby mitcht » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:41 pm

Drop it. At an intermediate level there's still a long road ahead and even once you get there you have to keep using it which, given you don't like it, will be a chore. I went to a Japanese school when i was a kid but left when i was 12 - i spoke good Japanese then but now I'm completely useless. Perhaps it would come back to me quicker than someone starting from scratch but many years on I effectively have nothing to show for it and I'm OK with that.
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby Xenops » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:43 am

JohannaNYC wrote:
That's the problem with only studying one language, you're always thinking about the other ones you could be studying instead...

I fall in love with the languages I'm learning by becoming friends with people who are more comfortable speaking that language than English and by actively seeking out media to complete the Super Challenge...

So my advice is try studying other languages at the same time, if you still hate Spanish while being free to study all the other languages you want, then it just wasn't meant to be.


I've wondered if I'm that type of person, that can't sit still with one language. :lol:

As much as I want to start a new language (I've wanted to learn French for years), I've come to the conclusion that I currently don't have the energy to start a new language. I'm in a professional medical program (medical laboratory science specifically), and I'm using all of my studying energies towards that. I feel like adding language learning on top of that is spreading me rather thin. Thankfully this program is only a year long, and it sounds like it's a universal career, so it will cater to my wandering tendencies. There was an expat thread floating around, and I found it inspiring, because that's what I want to do: have a universal career that will take me anywhere, and find another country to move to. America is just too...American, for me. ;)
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby Xenops » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:05 pm

You know what...I'm going for it: yeah, it would be a whole year without language study, which isn't too long, but it's a whole year without language study! As much as I would like to, I can't study for my medical program at every waking moment, I get burned out; so to start I've been using Pimsleur German and French for walks and commutes, and I can make time to study them in the evenings. Both are languages I would use, and both are languages I want to learn, so let's go for it and see what happens. 8-)
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby Expugnator » Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:52 pm

When I read the title of this thread, I thought of "not love" just like that, I didn't think about not loving the sense of disliking. I can't really say I dislike a language. But when it comes to that meaning of not loving, I can mention Russian.

My situation with Russian is peculiar because I like the Russian culture, people, I just don't feel attached to the language, at least not formally. I like the sound of the language, not so much the spelling, the diverse vocabulary made of long words. It's not something Slavic, as I like BCMS, Czech, Bulgarian. I think having both Cyrillic and irregular spelling is too much for me; I like other Slavic languages that have only one of these traits.

So I studied Russian out of a vague sense of polyglottery obligation. It's s language that gives me access to material for minor Finno-Ugric, Kartvelian, Caucasian languages, those which can then become a true passion. It's been 4 years of a marriage of interest. Now I'm finally reaching a level where I can consume native material a little more independently and my affinity with the Russian culture and nature grows higher as I learn more about the country. So I guess the trend now is to see the language as a tool while enjoying what I do with the language. Totally the opposite of Greek which I'm putting more hours into than my usual beginner languages as formality the language itself feels so attractive already.

I think when my active Russian reaches a solid B2 it will be like those ancient stories of arranged marriages where the couple ended up in true love.
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Re: Learning a Language You Don't Love

Postby Serpent » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:28 pm

Cavesa wrote:But if part of your trouble is not studying German because of "having to finnish" Spanish
And your Finnish challenge has just begun recently :P :twisted:
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