Something to discuss in English

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Ольга
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Something to discuss in English

Postby Ольга » Thu May 04, 2017 10:26 am

I have been visiting the forum for a couple of years and I know there are lots of polyglots who know and learn lots of languages.
But how do you find enough time to combine learning languages+work+family?
I don't take myself into account because I studied at a linguistic university where I had been taught German, French, Latin, Modern Greek and even Anglo-Saxon, but now these languages are long forgotten because I need to concentrate on English and master it. This year I am going to graduate from the linguistic university and work as a private teacher of English. Of course, I have always dreamt of learning lots of languages, ancient and modern but how to earn enough for life and combine learning with work and family?
So, guys, what is your secret? What do you do for a livelihood? Where do you find enough time to study or learn anything?
Or, you have mastered some languages that you know them at a Proficient level and it gives you an opportunity to teach online every day and have some profit?
I have spent about 7 years for studying English, (I did not study it at secondary school) and I have not mastered it yet.
I don't know teaching methods or techniques that's why I have only one student whose level is about Intermediate (he is into business and works in an American company). I was not taught how to teach English, actually, because my Major is linguistics, not pedagogics, that's why I don't know how to become highly professional in teaching. So, I think teaching languages is not always a way out. Besides, most students can learn languages for free with the worldwide access to the internet.
Well, what can be a good job for a person who is really into languages? I can't even imagine it. Usually, people work as managers, do some boring work, and from time to time write some letters in a foreign language which they were ordered by their bosses. Some can work as guides if their city is famous enough. Some can teach at university or school. But all these ways are exhausting (except private teaching) and don't give an opportunity to learn something and travel throughout the world.
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby arthaey » Thu May 04, 2017 11:19 am

I also wonder whether some folks have drastically more free and/or fewer "obligations" on their time.

If I include getting ready and commuting, 12 hours each day goes toward work, I have various chores/errands/adulting tasks to get done, and my husband would feel sad if I never spent time with him. ;)

Mostly, I try not to compare myself with folks who can devote multiple hours daily to language study. I wish I could, but that's just not my life.
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Thu May 04, 2017 6:53 pm

Take a look at the logs here of those forum members who know a lot of languages and keep them up.There are a lot of such folks here (I am definitely not one of them) whose logs are illuminating and even inspiring.
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby arthaey » Fri May 05, 2017 3:49 am

MorkTheFiddle wrote:Take a look at the logs here of those forum members who know a lot of languages and keep them up.There are a lot of such folks here (I am definitely not one of them) whose logs are illuminating and even inspiring.

Actually, I've always sorta assumed that the folks here with those logs don't have the same time constraints. In any case, logs don't usually talk about how much free time they have after work, family, and daily living overhead.
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby smallwhite » Fri May 05, 2017 4:50 am

Ольга wrote:I studied at a linguistic university where I had been taught German, French, Latin, Modern Greek and even Anglo-Saxon, but now these languages are long forgotten because I need to concentrate on English and master it. This year I am going to graduate from the linguistic university and work as a private teacher of English. ...
I don't know teaching methods or techniques that's why I have only one student whose level is about Intermediate (he is into business and works in an American company). I was not taught how to teach English, actually, because my Major is linguistics, not pedagogics, that's why I don't know how to become highly professional in teaching. So, I think teaching languages is not always a way out.


Why did you study linguistics instead of English and teaching, then?

What is a "private" teacher of English? Why do you want to work specifically as a "private" teacher?

With all those languages you have learnt, you must have had quite a few language teachers. What do you like and dislike about them?
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby zenmonkey » Fri May 05, 2017 8:07 am

Personally I have a full time job, kids and am quite busy. However I don't watch TV and spend too much time on the Internet.
I fit in anything from 3-5 hours a week of focused learning (during which I am almost exclusively studying).

It's one hour one morning at 7AM, one hour one evening at 7PM and some time elsewhere.

What I do fit in is about 4-7 additional hours of incidental studying per week. Flash cards, notes, drills, podcasts while I am doing something else. Today I will have a 5 hour drive - at least 3 of those hours will be spent listening to podcasts, news, audiobooks in a study language. Last night I was in a long line and worked with Lingvist with my friend.

Plus I happen to live in a target language country, so that helps (but just a bit).

It's about having the material at hand to be able to use it incidentally.
I could probably spend more time if I removed some of the time I waste on FB.
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby blaurebell » Fri May 05, 2017 10:35 am

Many of my friends studied languages, linguistics or translation and most of them don't really have the opportunity to use their languages much. The translators are in an especially bad situation since they are notoriously underpaid. One of my friends is a translator for English and French and well, there are just too many of them in Germany. In the end she decided not to work in her profession anymore. Those who actually get to use their languages usually do so indirectly. My friends who studied Japanese usually teach German to Japanese people. One of my friends who studied Japanese has been moving around Asia for a while - a year in Japan, a year in Korea, and he's now in China, always teaching German and trying to find time to study the language of his current country of residence. It's not exactly a lifestyle that allows for having a family though unless he decides to stay put in one of those countries and get married there. Another friend studied French at university and he worked for a French company in England for a while. In the end he decided to change professions too, because translating business correspondence for monolinguals is about as boring as it gets. So, basically studying languages as your main profession usually means that you're going to be underpaid or not working in your profession.

One way to use your languages a lot is to move to a TL country, but there you'll have much more success if you actually studied something "useful" i.e. engineering, sciences, medicine, that sort of thing. The other way is to do research in certain humanities fields - I personally need lots of languages in my own research and I pick my topics so that I can use my languages. One example: For my current topic I need German, English, Spanish, Russian and French. Once I'm done with that project I already have plans to switch to something for which I will need Italian or Japanese. The problem with this approach is that university positions are notoriously precarious, especially in the humanities. Working at the university often requires a lot of sacrifice - one has to be willing to live just about anywhere and suspend having a family until later - and of course you always have to be a top student too, which can be very stressful. I would not recommend that approach at the moment at all because of neoliberal funding cuts to universities everywhere. A lot of academics I know are actually switching to industry right now, because universities simply don't pay enough or at all at the moment.

Integrating languages into your family life is relatively easy as long as you are with someone who also knows languages. My husband for example is Argentinian and we speak English at home. We also watch stuff in Spanish and French together. If we have children one day, then they will grow up with at least 3 languages: German, Spanish and English, and if we stay in the area until they go to school they will also learn Basque and maybe French, since we're right at the French border.
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby Systematiker » Fri May 05, 2017 2:13 pm

Like blaurebell mentioned, I get to use a lot of my languages in daily life due to research (and less often, practical applicability). I needed many of them in my studies in the first place. I also have a wife who has a different native language than I; we actually met through a shared interest in langauges. On top of that, I have a lot of opportunity to work extra stuff into my day, and it's rather cyclical. Sometimes I'll have lots of time, sometimes next to none.

The key for me has been integrating the languages into my life, my vocation, and my hobbies. I have a few "play" languages that are never really going to be anything but fun, but for the vast majority, I have actually found some sort of practical application (sometimes with the language driving the need, but still).

I teach in higher education and am a Lutheran priest, so it's kind of a specialized niche for the "what do you do that you can integrate these things" question :lol:
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby Radioclare » Sat May 06, 2017 12:04 pm

arthaey wrote:I also wonder whether some folks have drastically more free and/or fewer "obligations" on their time.

If I include getting ready and commuting, 12 hours each day goes toward work, I have various chores/errands/adulting tasks to get done, and my husband would feel sad if I never spent time with him. ;)

Mostly, I try not to compare myself with folks who can devote multiple hours daily to language study. I wish I could, but that's just not my life.


I would have liked this post a 100 times if I could :)

My situation is the same in that I'm usually out of the house for work between 07.00 and 19.30, so by the time I subtract the time needed for eating and sleeping, I generally have three hours of "free time" per day, between 20.00 and 23.00. As you point out, some of that time necessarily has to be spent reminding my significant other that I exist :lol: And I'm also on the board of a non-profit, which tends to swallow at least one of those "free" hours every day.

For me I think the challenge is not so much the lack of time - because if I did manage to spend those three hours on languages every day I would probably progress quite well - but rather the inability to choose when those three free hours take place. The hours from 20.00 to 23.00 are undoubtedly my least productive of the day, when I'm tired and stressed after a day at work. I can use the time to read or watch TV in my TL, but I seem to lack the mental energy and discipline for focused textbook study. I am jealous of previous incarnations of me, eg. me when I was a student, who would have had more freedom to manage their own time and didn't realise how lucky they were :D

That said, you just have to work with what you've got. Some language activities can be fitted into commuting time, sometimes I have a quieter day and do some Memrise on a lunchbreak and generally I can ringfence some time for languages at a weekend. I'm sure there are lots of posts on this forum and HTLAL about making good use of "hidden moments" for language study and while I do think this is definitely a helpful strategy, sometimes I do feel like these posts forget the fact that we are all humans, not robots, and actually if you've just had a really rubbish day at work, you might rather spend your evening commute staring out of the window and contemplating the misery of life, despite the fact that a productive Anki session might be the optimal use of the time :lol:

I agree with arthaey that you have to try not to compare yourself to others, because it just gets depressing. There is an least one log on this forum which I try not to let myself read anymore, because every time I do I finish up feeling inadequate. But it's also important to remember that while for some of us the constraint on language learning might be time, other people here are facing different and/or more serious constraints, such as health difficulties or financial troubles. I know I'm lucky that I don't have to worry about those things right now at least, and I also don't have children, so I can at least be selfish about how I want to spend my free time.

I must admit I do sometimes waste quite a bit of time writing my log :oops:
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Re: Something to discuss in English

Postby rdearman » Sat May 06, 2017 12:11 pm

Radioclare wrote:There is an least one log on this forum which I try not to let myself read anymore, because every time I do I finish up feeling inadequate.

Just one ! Personally I've decided every village needs an idiot, and for this little village, it's me. :lol:
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