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Thoughts about language learning

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Avatar for Geri
Written by   103
2 years ago

You can speak English, and that's enough? Good luck for your job in McDonald’s then. Old proverb says: you are as many person as many languages you speak. A lot of people refuse to learn languages for various reasons. In the recent year, i seen quite a few interesting examples of people trying to learn languages. And i have seen the opposite as well - people, who refused to learn a language. I will discuss these examples in details, without exposing the people in the examples, and then we will discuss what went wrong with them.

The American soldier

I have met the American soldier on a chat server, dedicated to survivalism. He just entered the army, after preparing and passing all the exam tests. Once i have seen a video with a nice song. The song was recorded in Lahore, and people danced on the street. I was able to identify its a Pashto song. Pashto is the native language used in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I searched for this song, but i was not able to find it.

It was this song, i was able to find it since then.

I have linked this video at various servers, hoping that someone from Pakistan will be online, and can identify this song for me. Then, the American soldier just happened to be online. He creeped at me in disgust, and in anger. Asking me not to link songs in the language of the terrorists. We started to chat about this, to find out, why was he angered too much about this song.

The Holy War in your head never ends

It turned out, this person belongs to a family with military traditions. The father of this person was a soldier in Afghanistan. He got killed by Afghans. Later on, his older brothers joined the army too. They went to Afghanistan. They got killed by the Afghans as well. He promised the revenge, and joined to the army, to go to Afghanistan. Wow.

Then i asked him, what would be a more useful ability when he goes to Afghanistan, than actually being able to speak the language. He was not able to answer, he just got even more angry. I told him, that being able to speak the language could be the differentiating factor for being executed on the scene VS just being kidnapped. What if he just loses the track with his team, and he have to buy something in the store? How he will able to buy some food, if he cant speak the language?

He refused to discuss this with me any more, and he refused to talk to me ever again. Luckily for him, the American war with Afghanistan have just recently ended, after Trump announced the withdrawal of the army. He will not be able to take revenge for his elderly, which would actually mean he cant follow them into the grave, because with this sentiment that would be his only path.

Maybe one day, people will just speak with each other, doing compromises, and then most of the conflicts can be solved without war and without killing each other.

The electronic engineer

In an electronic engineering community, someone searched for the basics of electronics. He came to us in panic, because even after Googling for several days, he was not able to find any useful results in English. I was thinking that he indeed doing something terribly wrong, because English - as the worlds most popular language - should have every information on this topic. I have explained what he should focus on after searching. After a week, he contacted me again, telling me that he was not able to dig up any of the information.

(Illustration by Collateral)

English is only a trading language

I got enough and i have started to look up the informatikus myself, to help him. After half hours of Googling, i was not able to find any of the information. Information about his topic in English can be grouped into three. One is articles with scientific works of someone from China with university level mathematical expressions which can not be understood by anyone who is not a doctor of a field. The second one was trash - like random advertises containing the searched keywords. The third group was useless wiki articles which had no useful informations, and looked like theories of 3000 year old Greek philosophers who were wondered about how Zeus created the electrons.

After trying to look up the information in Spanish - the native language of this person - he hit into the same walls. This was a realization for me. Even i thought that English is some kind of Swiss-knife of the languages. But it seems, its not. I quickly digged up the information for him in Hungarian, because this, in Hungary, is taught in elementary schools and high schools. I have translated him a few important pieces of these documentations and i told him to learn some Hungarian, and use Google translate on the rest. And after another weeks of desperate attempts, he really learned some Hungarian just to be able to begin constructing the device he planned to do.

Japanese and Turkish is the language of entertainment

I have stopped watching American movies a decade ago. These movies became boring, they are clone of each other, and a lot of them serve as anti-male propaganda movies, created by man-hater feminists. These movies are not just on the edge of non-sensual open incitement, its also hard to believe they can even entertain someone. After i have stopped watching these movies, i started to watch Japanese Anime and discovered Turkish horror movies. Eventually, i have learned Japanese just to be able to watch Anime. The process took about two years. My Japanese is very very far from perfect, but now i can finally enjoy REAL art in its native language. I haven't started to learn Turkish, because i don't like horror movies that much, i only watch them casually.

The failed language artists

The opposite is, when someone trying to learn a language just to became a master of it, thinking it will magically grant him or her more money. I have seen several person who learned English and Japanese, and they was surprised when they didn't instantly became multimillionaires from it. You really think that speaking the language will be your super ability? Of course, if you go to Britain or to Japan, everyone will be able to speak a language. Learning kanji like a book-phone autist and bragging about it, will probably put you onto the ignore list of people, but will not fuel your train.

How much language is too much

According to the examples above, you need to know at least three languages. From this, two must be near perfect knowledge, and one can be a little bit lose. First of all, you need to know your native language. Then you need a trade language, which helps you to be connected internationally, allows you to trade and chat with others. Then you need a language which is the base of your profession. Then you need a language to entertain yourself. This is four language, but in some cases, one language can be used for two purposes. For example, if you language is Japanese, then you can get away with just learning two extra language.

What language worth learning?

This always depends on your personal habits, profession, and personal preference. For me, Hungarian, English, and Japanese serves the purpose. You probably already pushed by your activity into a language, as you doing that particular activity. Like for example if you are into modern television dramas, then you probably got bombarded with Korean language content. That's of course not a co-incident. You just have to learn that, you cant get away from it.

What you should not expect

You learned a language just to be able to buy some professional book in that given language, and be the lord of the profession? That does not works like that. Knowing a language will not grant you magical abilities to read a magical book, that will give you millions. It will only allow you to interfere and search for the knowledge base of a given culture. Which will be probably 100 magnitudes bigger and useful than the sources in another language.

Language recommendations

As a trade language, English and Chinese is recommended. If you plan a career in the car industry, then German is your language. As a scientific base in electronics, programming, engineering, the Hungarian, or other Eastern European language is necessary. For entertainment, depending on your preferences, Japanese and Korean can be handy. If you are into health or you want to became a doctor, Latin should be practiced to some extent. As you can see, you should choose the language, depending on your goal. And then you can be prepared for the new level of entertainment, or much higher salaries in the long term.

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Avatar for Geri
Written by   103
2 years ago
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very useful information...

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2 years ago


$ 0.00
2 years ago

Hablo español y soy de America del Sur por si necesitas algo

$ 0.01
2 years ago

Your article is spot on.
As my work has taken me anywhere,
I have made efforts to learn enough to get around in various places.
But I truly need to learn (relearn) Spanish.
I guess I should visit South America and see if I can rekindle the latin part of my brain.

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2 years ago

BCH has/had a notable latin american community. Probably you should reach them out, and chat with them.

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2 years ago