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Do you think there is a bad/stupid reason to learn a language?

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As the title says, do you think there is a bad/stupid/... reason to learn a language?

Learn a language as in, learning it "fully", and not just learning a few words.

I mean surely, it's quite silly if someone decided to learn a whole language just because they wanted to watch porn in a certain language (I doubt anyone does this, I'm just making extreme cases up... but you never know) or something: but even if they did that, would that really be a bad reason to learning the language?

I mean, no matter what reason you have for learning a language, isn't it great that someone is learning another language, even if it's just to watch porno?

What's your viewpoint? Would you tell them to do something better with their time if someone told you "I'm learning this language to watch porn in this language" or would you help them out with their studies, or something like that?

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Well, I don't think there is a really stupid/bad reason to learn a language, however I am not very fond of people who study a language just because they think they can earn more money that way. For instance, where I come from (Switzerland), a lot of parents now believe that China will be the next superpower, so they want their children to study Chinese from a very young age. Of course this does not only hold true for "money-hungry" parents, but also for some young people in my country, who just want to learn Chinese because they think it will pay off later on (and the sad thing about that is that most of them have no interest in Chinese culture or China as a country at all). However, In most cases, those people will not be succesful in learning that new language X anyway, as learning a new language is a pretty difficult and long-enduring task, which can only be fulfilled, if you have passion for that language or at least have (a lot of) motivation to learn this language. If you have personal aims/goals while studying a new language, you are likely to be able to keep up the long-time motivation, which of course is a crucial aspect while learning a new language.

So, good reasons to learn a new language, are (in my humble opinion): if you are interested in the culture & history of country X, where Y is spoken, if your girlfriends native-language is Y and you would like to be able to speak to her and her family in language Y, if you are just terribly passionate about studying languages (and specifically language Y), if your boss really wants you to speak language Y because it is really necessary for your daily-business, and and and.

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Actually learning a language to earn money (or even to understand porn) doesn't bother me as much as those people in my class who are learning Japanese just for the credits or for an easy grade. They are taking up spots in the class. There are people who are genuinely interested in learning a language but they can't get into the class because these people are taking up their spots.

Some people in my class can speak Japanese fluently (they are natives or have lived in Japan) yet they are still enrolled in my class. Why? For the easy A and easy credits. They are setting a bar that's higher than what non-natives are capable of. It's unfair to us learners and unfair to those who cannot take the class.

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We never know where we will end up one day and what part of our knowledge might help us. Learning a new foreign language is surely not a bad idea. Even if we will never use the language we're learning, we'll make our brain cells grow and work better and faster.

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Well, if someone was to tell me that they are learning a language for reasons I deem negative I still wouldn't discourage them from learning. It is a great thing to be multilingual so learning any new language is a good thing. Furthermore, who knows where knowing that language could take that person in the future.

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I don't think there's ever a "bad" reason to learn a language, but there certainly are some reasons that are more trivial and silly than others... like learning a language just to "sound cool," or the like.

But in my experience, people that start out with such motivations don't usually get very far into learning the language before giving up; learning a language takes a lot of dedication that isn't worth it unless a person is genuinely interested.

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The OP's example made me laugh so badly!  LOL, I actually had a friend who learn English just to understand the porn he watched, lol.  Yup, he confessed that to us once when he was drunk.  Oh yeah, that guy said way too many things to us when he was drunk, things I wish he had never said to us, lol.  Oh, if i could only forget those things  :frozen:

To be honest with you, I'm not sure there is a dumb or bad reason to learn a language, as long as your passion and interest for the language you are learning is completely legitimate. Because let's be honest; leaning a new language requires effort and interest!  If you don't have that, then there is a huge chance you won't get too far, no matter how much external pressure you are getting.

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There really isn't any if you think figurative on the subject. Learning another language can be one of the most beneficial things a person can do because you never know when you would be in a situation that requires that sort of skill. there have been too many times where this has occurred and from now on, I tend to make a difference on the subject.

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A bad/stupid reason to learn a language would be one that doesn't take you as far. Learning a language is complex enough that, I think, any bad reasons would be steamrolled out of there by the process.

Unless the one doing the learning is a mean, sleazy, evil genius.

I think learning a new language only for the swear words, so that you can be verbally abusive to more people in the world... is a terrible reason!

To ease the process of getting laid by learning basic conversation--that's a slightly better reason. Not the one I'd use, but not one that I'd judge quite so harshly either. That said, some sexual objectification can be just as hurtful as verbal abuse, so maybe I would judge "learning a new language just to understand porn" or "watching enough foreign porn to learn a new language" just as harshly. It depends on the attitude that the person seems to have.

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I don't think there is ever a bad enough reason to learn a language. Not to mention, stupid versus smart... that's a really relative determination. What is stupid for you may not be stupid for someone else. And what may interest you, may not interest another.

I'm a girl who loves romance. So, I would totally learn another language for a guy I am in love with. But some people would say that's stupid. Well, it's the same for pornography. I may not like it, but there are people out there who are obsessed with it. And may even do a better job at learning a language than me because of their obsessions.

Personally I think studying languages is just important, period, whether it's a few words or complete fluency. So, whatever it takes to get you interested and then keep you interested, I'm all for it.

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I think a bad reason to learn a language would be if a person is forced or compelled to do so when they don't want to.  Especially for a young child who is forced to learn a language perhaps to fulfill requirements at school or  because of  parents who are very domineering and controlling.

This could possibly even happen later in life such as being in a relationship with someone who is very controlling and even abusive and absolutely insists that the person learn a language. 

That really is a bad reason -- learning against one's will.  It can have such negative effects.  But this is true of other activities if one is forced into them.

That's what came to mind when I saw the title of this thread. 

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That really is a bad reason -- learning against one's will.

That's a good point.

Although, I'm not sure that I entirely agree--it wasn't my choice to move to another country when I was a child, and I really didn't want to learn the language because that's why the mean girls at school would switch to when they wanted to bully me... So, I was definitely resistant, but in hindsight I'm glad that osmosis and school drills did get some of the basics in.

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This is, of course, just an opinion but a stupid reason to learn a language is for nothing.

If there was a language that nobody used anymore, then why learn it? This would only be the case if there was no existing form of writing or spoken language, so it's kind of a paradox since you couldn't learn it if there was nothing to learn from.

Am I making sense? I think I'll shut up now  :speechless:

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Yes - if you're learning a language in order to denigrate another culture, that's a bad reason.  Fortunately, most people with type of mindset probably aren't that smart.  So, they would not be taking the time to learn the language of a people they hate.

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Well, I don't think there is a really stupid/bad reason to learn a language, however I am not very fond of people who study a language just because they think they can earn more money that way. For instance, where I come from (Switzerland), a lot of parents now believe that China will be the next superpower, so they want their children to study Chinese from a very young age. Of course this does not only hold true for "money-hungry" parents, but also for some young people in my country, who just want to learn Chinese because they think it will pay off later on (and the sad thing about that is that most of them have no interest in Chinese culture or China as a country at all). However, In most cases, those people will not be succesful in learning that new language X anyway, as learning a new language is a pretty difficult and long-enduring task, which can only be fulfilled, if you have passion for that language or at least have (a lot of) motivation to learn this language. If you have personal aims/goals while studying a new language, you are likely to be able to keep up the long-time motivation, which of course is a crucial aspect while learning a new language.

Wow, I had never heard of such a phenomenon before: learning a language to earn money. I can't believe parents are teaching their kids chinease for that... Well, I would surely have been happy to have known Chinease from a young age no matter what reason my parents had for it, but that's just because I'm interested in asia today, kind of. Ugh, I can't believe people are thinking that it will make them earn more money...

Actually learning a language to earn money (or even to understand porn) doesn't bother me as much as those people in my class who are learning Japanese just for the credits or for an easy grade. They are taking up spots in the class. There are people who are genuinely interested in learning a language but they can't get into the class because these people are taking up their spots.

Some people in my class can speak Japanese fluently (they are natives or have lived in Japan) yet they are still enrolled in my class. Why? For the easy A and easy credits. They are setting a bar that's higher than what non-natives are capable of. It's unfair to us learners and unfair to those who cannot take the class.

What the F***!? That's so cruel, taking up spots for people who want to learn just so that they can get an easy mark... I assume you don't have these "tests" in your country. Where I live, we can apply for a "test", where we basically don't go to class (you don't even have to go to that school or be part of the class regularely) and just take a huge exam, or a few smaller ones. I did that with English, and still got an A... So it's not hard to get an A through these tests, I wish you had the option to do those there. It's just... It does anger me that they also make it harder for you people who want to learn, but it's even more horrible that they're making other people unable to take the class just because they want easy marks  :angry:

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I don't think there is a bad reason to learn a languages, knowledge doesn't occupy space so I'd love to speak all the languages out there.

Attending a class just to get A's when you know the language is a different matter though.

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Tough to think of a "stupid" reason to learn a language, but, I guess if you were learning it for the sole purpose of passing an examination or a test, I would find that pretty stupid. Language is meant to be learned for the joy it gives, for communication and for its beauty.

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I actually do believe there are stupid reasons to learn a language - and that those are the reasons that don't really exist. I've met quite a lot of people who claimed they wanted to learn language X, for various reasons ("I need it for my job"/"I want to pass an exam"/"Everybody speaks it so I should do it also" etc). Then they paid money for private lessons or courses and either did not show up or never did anything to actually learn.

A bad reason is having no reason (or motivation) but pretending to have it. It's frustrating for the teacher and useless for the learner.

Also, I'm very much against forcing people (and here I mean mostly children) to learn a foreign language. I really feel for those kids. It's the same with adults actually. I was forced to study one of my languages and I couldn't look at it for many years afterwards. Nothing is a better motivation killer. Well, except maybe for a horrible teacher at school/university.

 

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A really stupid reason for learning a new language, would be, being forced to do it by different reasons. You will fail for sure, if you attempt to learn something that you don`t like, but are supposed to do, because someone expects that from you. But that is the only stupid reason to learn a language, in my opinion. Other then that, if you really like a language, go ahead and learn it. :D

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"Bad" motivation? Evil/naughty/stupid are all in the eye of the beholder. But there is such a thing as "insufficient" motivation. What is sufficient to motivate one person might be insufficient to motivate another. I remember Benny Lewis ranting about how people trying to learn a language for work were doomed to fail because they lack "passion". I strongly disagree with this. For example, when I started learning Japanese I remember a group of international law students taking their masters in a Japanese university all blowing us away with their incredibly rapid progress, all in the name of work.

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This is a good question and honestly, I think there is. Of course, there's never a "stupid or bad reason" to learn, but some people learn a language simply because they are forced to. Whether it be their family or their school, some people are forced to learn another language because they "have" to. I think that's a stupid reason to learn a language. That's not actually appreciating the language itself, it's just learning because you have to. Plus if they are forced to and they have no interest in the language, they probably won't enjoy it and will tell others how bad/difficult that language is even when it's not true.

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I agree with you @Miya....and your words tie in with what anna3101 said, with whom I also agree. I don't necessarily think it's stupid or bad, because the people who usually find themselves forced to learn a foreign language against their will are children. I believe the parents do so believing that they have their children's best interests at heart. But even still, I wouldn't force my kids to learn a foreign if they were clearly dead set against it. 

In my experience, I've never come across anyone who's learnt a foreign language for a bad or stupid reason. I'm not even sure I can define 'bad' and 'stupid' in this context. It's all relative, and what right would I have to say someone's reasons for learning a language are stupid or bad? What makes mine so noble or superior to the next person's? I guess the only instance I'd say it was for a bad reason would be where said person was only learning the language in order to infiltrate another country, with a view to harming innocent people e.g. in the case of terrorists. Other than that, I say each to their won!

 

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Reason not, but way.

Once I had a student who sit down with the english dictionary and started to learn the words from A until Z. She lost all her motivation in a short time, can't blame her at all. Dictionary is not a language book!

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On 5/18/2014, 7:54:55, Miya said:

Actually learning a language to earn money (or even to understand porn) doesn't bother me as much as those people in my class who are learning Japanese just for the credits or for an easy grade. They are taking up spots in the class. There are people who are genuinely interested in learning a language but they can't get into the class because these people are taking up their spots.

 

Some people in my class can speak Japanese fluently (they are natives or have lived in Japan) yet they are still enrolled in my class. Why? For the easy A and easy credits. They are setting a bar that's higher than what non-natives are capable of. It's unfair to us learners and unfair to those who cannot take the class.

Yes, i agree with your comment but one thing i had to tell you, if you are going to learn different languages for understanding pornography. It might be offensive and stupidity for me. 

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On 27.11.2015, 06:46:52, Wanda Kaishin said:

What is sufficient to motivate one person might be insufficient to motivate another. I remember Benny Lewis ranting about how people trying to learn a language for work were doomed to fail because they lack "passion". I strongly disagree with this. For example, when I started learning Japanese I remember a group of international law students taking their masters in a Japanese university all blowing us away with their incredibly rapid progress, all in the name of work.

I couldn't agree more! Mostly people seem to judge "strength" or "usefullness" of someone else's motivation by their own standards, and that's really sad. I don't believe in such thing as a universal motivation. I saw with my own eyes people achieve great results for a number of various reasons. I know a person who wanted to read certain books in the original, and another who studied to get ahead in her career. Both of them did very well. I often study just for fun, because I enjoy learning, and this also brings results. Not everybody is interested in travelling, speaking with native speakers or passing exams, and I think that's perfectly fine. The world would be dull if we were all the same.

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