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Linguaholic

What do you think would be the best motivator for learning a language?


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I have heard almost everything already!  I've heard of people learning a language because they think that will open a lot doors, like for example finding a better paying job or because they want to move abroad and start working there. 

Others have or are learning a new language for love (me included), others do it because they love the culture of the country where said language is spoken.  Others just enjoy learning new languages and think of it as a really entertaining hobby!

If I was asked this very same question I'd say the biggest motivator (at least for me) is to know that I'm learning a language I'll be using on a daily basis very soon.  A language that will actually be useful for me and really necessary to learn :)  That makes me feel good about investing my time in learning said language.

What about you?

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I think it varies. Some people get motivated to learn a new language because they have to.

For example, some people are forced to immigrate. When they move to a different country, they have to communicate with the local community. Therefore, they NEED to learn the foreign language.

Another reason is the one you mentioned: It can open doors to more job opportunities. Also, if your job requires you to travel a lot, knowing foreign languages is ALWAYS a perk.

As for me, I do it because I am a firm believer that being capable of speaking plenty of foreign languages can broaden your horizons. Also, I enjoy challenging myself and I am very fascinated with the procedure of learning them.

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I think the best motivator is knowing that you will be putting it to good use someday, and I'd guess that how much that goal motivates anyone would only depend on the person. For example, if I'm largely motivated by finance, then I'd say a good motivational reason for learning is an increase in skill and therefore financial opportunities, whereas someone who is more motivated by culture and travel than money would maybe find more reason to learn for daily use in the country of the language's origin.

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Well, this is a very subjective question, of course!

I think that the best motivator would be enjoyment in the present, and usefulness in the future. As in, no matter how good of a motivator you have, it's nothing compared to how much easier things are if you enjoy learning the language right now. If you are only learning to reach the goal, and constantly trying to motivate you with "it'll be useful later on" but it's insanely boring at the present, not much will actually help or work.

Personally I study mostly because I like the culture and I enjoy learning the language. But my goal is as I've mentioend countless amoutns of times: to understand japanese entertainment (manga, anime, drama, literature, visual novels... and so on). To some that may be a bad reason for learning a language, but since I am so passionate about these mediums, to me it's the best reason in the world. I'm not sure if I use this as a motivator however.

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The best motivator for me learning a language would not only be because I like hearing the language in communication but also because I'd also be able to communicate in that language. Also, the fact that I am able to read something or watch a movie and hear a few words being used and can understand it is a big motivator.

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For me,it's the enjoyment of the language and knowing that it will be worth it! For motivation to continue working on learning a language, my success is the greatest motivator. To begin to recognize words and realize that I can understand some of what a native speaker is saying is awesome, and it encourages me to keep studying and work even harder!

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I think it would be different for each individual. I learned French as my second foreign language because I want to increase my value in the workforce. Some do it because they are dating someone from a particular country; some do it because it’s a necessity. So I would say that each individual is motivated by different things.

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If I was asked this very same question I'd say the biggest motivator (at least for me) is to know that I'm learning a language I'll be using on a daily basis very soon.  A language that will actually be useful for me and really necessary to learn :)  That makes me feel good about investing my time in learning said language.

What about you?

Yes, good point.  That's very motivating. :)

There may be practical reasons to learn a language which can be strongly motivating; knowing that you will be moving to a region or country where the language is spoken is, obviously, quite a practical reason, indeed a necessity.  Thus a very strong motivation. :)

Having a passion for the language and the culture and the people is also motivating.  Sometimes a person feels drawn to a language and its culture; perhaps for the literature or even for the movies.  Or a person may enjoy the sound of the spoken language or perhaps the richness of the vocabulary; the idioms and expressions of the language.

I do think it's essential to have a strong passion for the language as that will carry you through the difficult times, as you're undergoing the rigors of studying grammar and increasing vocabulary.  Otherwise it can be drudgery!

So for me, first and foremost, the passion for the language is essential. 

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I think the best motivator for learning another language would be necessity. If yuo were thown in to a situation where you need to speak another language in order to survive or commincate with everyone else around you. You never know what you are capable of until you are faced with a challenge.

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Yes, good point.  That's very motivating. :)

There may be practical reasons to learn a language which can be strongly motivating; knowing that you will be moving to a region or country where the language is spoken is, obviously, quite a practical reason, indeed a necessity.  Thus a very strong motivation. :)

Having a passion for the language and the culture and the people is also motivating.  Sometimes a person feels drawn to a language and its culture; perhaps for the literature or even for the movies.  Or a person may enjoy the sound of the spoken language or perhaps the richness of the vocabulary; the idioms and expressions of the language.

I do think it's essential to have a strong passion for the language as that will carry you through the difficult times, as you're undergoing the rigors of studying grammar and increasing vocabulary.  Otherwise it can be drudgery!

So for me, first and foremost, the passion for the language is essential.

Indeed, Laura :) 

Learning a language because you are moving out to a country where that language you want to learn is spoken is a great motivator, but sadly when you weren't planning to move and it just happens... well, you do lack the passion to learn said language!  Specially if the country you are moving to doesn't interest you in any way, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do! That in itself is motivating if you tend to feel guilt often... just like I do ;)  Hehehehe!

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I think the best motivator for learning another language would be necessity. If yuo were thown in to a situation where you need to speak another language in order to survive or commincate with everyone else around you. You never know what you are capable of until you are faced with a challenge.

Indeed.  There have been several times I've wished to speak x language, so I could save myself from several difficult situations or at least make things go easier.  I guess that's another good motivator to want to be multilingual, hahaah.  Like when I watched a film where things could have gone better if the main characters could have spoken the language of the natives. It's amazing how many misunderstandings can take place... even in when speaking to people in our own language.

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For me,it's the enjoyment of the language and knowing that it will be worth it! For motivation to continue working on learning a language, my success is the greatest motivator. To begin to recognize words and realize that I can understand some of what a native speaker is saying is awesome, and it encourages me to keep studying and work even harder!

I envy you, when I was younger the enjoyment of learning a language was enough, and my success was the thing that fueled all my enthusiasm and pushed me to improve more and more.  Not anymore tho,  I lost the focus and push linked to most things  related to learning and academics.  Sad, I know, but that happens when you have very serious and persistent health issues.  Once things get better I might go back to enjoying to learn things in general :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think the best motivator for learning a new language is the monetary kind, I know over here call centers pay much more for accounts that speak Mandarin, Spanish, etc. Apart from that, the interest should also be primarily there, because without it, you really won't be motivated to do or learn anything.

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What motivates me the most to learn a new language is the fact that I am acquiring a new skill that has the potential to open doors for me as far as jobs go. There are a lot of employers in my area that would rather hire someone who is bilingual than a person that only speaks English.

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I haven't managed to do it lately, but here is what is the best motivator for me: entering a whole new world.

There is a stage at which you are learning and learning and piecing things together bit by bit, just for learning the language or another reason. And then you move on to the part you are fluent, and just need occasional additional work. That's the moment.

From then on, it's a part of you and it opens you to new things. You can watch movies in that language without subtitles and talk to people from that country without feeling inadequate. You can listen to songs and read a whole bunch more things that you wouldn't have been able to in your language. There are specifics that translation doesn't cover. That's what I like. Entering that whole new world that a language can open to you.

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What motivates me is being able to use the language when speaking to a native, and especially when they help me or I manage to do good. Learning at my own pace motivates me to try harder and keep moving on.

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Personally, I believe that the best motive for learning a language is to live in a country where everyone speaks that language, make making some friends who were born there. Then, you'll probably be motivated to learn the language as well.

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To me, learning a language is only if I'm interested in it, or if it's mandatory for something that I want to do in the future. When I mean mandatory, I mean if it's required for a school or something. But for the most part, I'm not really considering learning a new language. I've done it before, and it took some time. But eventually, I got the hang of it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd say that for a lot of guys the female would be a very good motivator. Usually when you have a great looking female teacher teaching a particular language you tend to pay a lot more attention. I remember when I was in high school I had a beautiful female teacher and in a lot of the subjects that I was failing that same teacher was able to help me get better grades. And I wouldn't say that it was because I paid more attention to the subjects, I think I paid more attention to the female teacher and I had a desire to impress her. So I would say that this is a good motivator for young men.

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  • 5 weeks later...

It can be a spiritual experience. I mean you learn a language so you can connect with other people. By learning a second language your increase your range of people you can connect with and converse with. I see that as a spiritual experience. Don't you?  :wink:

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Well, my biggest motivator for learning a new language is learning for knowledge. I don't want to die and just be able to say that I just rode along with life. I want to explore and understand different things. Another reason I would want to learn a new language is to be able to communicate with different people. I'd love to talk and have a nice discussion with anyone I pass.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are only two essential motivators I have found.

First, economics. This is why there are so many English schools around the world. Studying the international language of your time grants you status, a valuable skill, and (the parents of the students hope) the possibility of studying at a foreign university and getting a good job.

Second, interest. I don't think anyone becomes highly skilled in a language without this. If you don't care about it, you won't study as much and won't make much of an effort. Not to say you can't learn if you don't care - I have seen that. But it doesn't go well unless someone cares.

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