If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

General discussion about learning languages
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heartlandexpat
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If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby heartlandexpat » Wed May 16, 2018 1:37 am

I was thinking about this the other day: if there were no outside factors, what language would I want to learn?

By outside factors I mean: usefulness, ease of learning, where it's spoken and its culture, etc. In other words, focusing solely on how the language's sounds and its intrigue.

I think I would learn Romanian. I lived with two Romanians in Brussels (and actually found out today I'll have another RO roomie again in Vilnius), and I thought it was actually quite pretty and a bit like Italian. I find it linguistically very interesting, being sort of the black sheep of the romance family with its slavic influences. I think the fact that it uses cases while the other Romances (mostly?) don't is interesting, and the way articles are stuck on the end unlike any language I've previously learned. I think it'd be super fun/interesting to learn and compare to the more popular romance languages, and just to learn more in general!

I might actually try to dip my toes in the water and dabble a bit this year, since I'm planning on visiting one of my friends for a couple weeks while I'm back in the UK since flights from Leeds to Bucharest are only like £40. Prooobably won't become a top priority for me to actually learn it though, since it's not the most useful for me in the coming years (ie I plan to move back to Belgium more permanently, so Dutch would likely be my next add). Maybe one day though!

What about y'all? What language do you find really pretty/interesting and would learn if you didn't have any outside influences? Why? Do you think you'll ever learn it? I'm curious!
Last edited by heartlandexpat on Wed May 16, 2018 2:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby lingua » Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 am

I'm already learning the language I like the most ... Italian. However, if I had unlimited time (which I don't) I would like to learn all of the various dialects and minor languages of Italy. I'm enjoying the Latin, Sicilian and in the last few days Piemontèis.
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby Ani » Wed May 16, 2018 6:46 am

I can't honestly imagine choosing a language without the "outside factors" you've listed. Resources that I'll enjoy is high on my list in choosing a language, and culture and where it is spoken is probably second. I have very little interest in language for language's sake.
I've noticed with French that the intrigue really wears off around B2 and it just becomes... A language.. again. Also, I thought I liked the sound of French until A2/B1 And then I decided I honestly hate it :-D but French is a part of my life now and we're not divorcing any more than English and I are divorcing. I suspect every language snores and has morning breath after a while so while I'd love to dabble in basically every language to suss out features and sound, I wouldn't actually want to commit to learning any without those other considerations.
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby aaleks » Wed May 16, 2018 9:50 am

heartlandexpat wrote:By outside factors I mean: usefulness, ease of learning, where it's spoken and its culture, etc. In other words, focusing solely on how the language's sounds and its intrigue.


I think these "outside factors" influence my decision to learn a language even if I think they don't. I could've said that I already learning such a language - Italian. There is no practical reason for me to learn it, so it kind of fits the conditions but I can't say that I'm studying it just because of how it sounds. My feeling towards people, culture has influenced my choice as well.

Ani wrote:I've noticed with French that the intrigue really wears off around B2 and it just becomes... A language.. again. Also, I thought I liked the sound of French until A2/B1 And then I decided I honestly hate it :-D but French is a part of my life now and we're not divorcing any more than English and I are divorcing.


I have a very similar feeling about English. Although I don't hate its sound :D
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby tarvos » Wed May 16, 2018 10:00 am

It may just be me, but the outside factors to me are what make the whole thing fun. But if it's pure curiosity, it'd be weird stuff like Greenlandic and Malagasy.

Romanian is loads of fun, I learned it ages ago. Heard it first when I was in a relationship with a girl of Romanian origins (spoke it around her parents' house). Then I moved to Brasov for volunteer work.
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby Uncle Roger » Wed May 16, 2018 10:06 am

Icelandic sounds amazing, I quite like Japanese, too. I like Hebrew as a written language.
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby Ogrim » Wed May 16, 2018 1:39 pm

As Ani, I cannot imagine learning a language without taking into account the outside factors. While I am interested in linguistics and the way languages work, I would not be motivated to spend many, many hours of study purely out of intellectual curiosity. As for "pretty", I think I am long past the stage where I judged some languages "prettier" than others or thought that some languages sounded "beautiful" and others "ugly". All languages are potentially interesting, but when I set aside time to learn one, it is because of those outside factors the OP mentions.

Now, if I were to pick a language purely out of curiosity, as Tarvos I would go for something really different from those I already know, like Eskimo languages, Bantu languages or one of the Khoisan languages.
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby reineke » Wed May 16, 2018 2:00 pm

"The results generally confirm our prediction that, in the context of utilitarian systems, extrinsic motivators are more important than intrinsic motivators, whereas, in the context of hedonic systems, intrinsic motivators play a more critical role than extrinsic motivators. The results thus substantiate our contention that, when information systems vary from utilitarian to hedonic, the most important determinants shift from extrinsic to intrinsic motivators."

Effects of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivators on Using
Utilitarian, Hedonic, and Dual-Purposed Information
Systems
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby heartlandexpat » Wed May 16, 2018 2:41 pm

I didn't mean to say that one would, or even should, learn solely due to any perceived beauty or due to curiosity of one! As I said even, I have close friends who speak Romanian and I plan to travel there, so if I did end up learning it, these reasons would be largely why. As well, to be honest, I think I meant more of a focus on the intrigue than on the "prettiness," as I think people do on occasion learn languages occasionally for this reason: such as many who study latin simply to gain a better understanding of the origin of the languages which have sprung from it.

I was mostly just curious to hear about some new interesting languages or to gain a new perspective on one, which I have :D (or at least being reminded of them)

I definitely agree that it would be highly difficult and would get dull studying a language solely for these factors- and I think as Ani made a really good point
Ani wrote: I've noticed with French that the intrigue really wears off around B2 and it just becomes... A language.. again. Also, I thought I liked the sound of French until A2/B1 And then I decided I honestly hate it :-D but French is a part of my life now and we're not divorcing any more than English and I are divorcing. I suspect every language snores and has morning breath after a while
as I feel the exact same way about French, once upon a time I thought it was so beautiful (of course it was my first foreign language) and now it just is what it is. I think this would be prohibitive to anyone trying to learn a language without any real outside motivators.
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Re: If you could learn any language without considering outside factors...

Postby Iversen » Wed May 16, 2018 3:21 pm

Etruscan
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