Something occurred to me just now regarding personal motivation in the study of languages.
It often starts with a push. School pushes us. Parents push us. Some of us get a taste and want more during the school years; lucky them. The language begins to exert its pull on them.
Others already know what they want to achieve and where they want to be in x number of years. That desire, coupled with effective study habits, is their manageable link to the language, the future.
Looking at my circumstances, I realise that I am learning my languages for personal historic reasons. Between the ages of 5 - 13 I wanted to be able to speak:-
Russian because the first male voices I ever heard were Russian. This interest was rekindled here in England and only this year I have started enjoying learning Russian, all the years before I felt an utter failure at it.
English because I was fascinated by the American soldiers stationed in our little town. They were so clean and healthy and always seemed to laugh when we walked past their barracks on our way to school (a couple of villas in a very posh street, the barracks, not the school). School soon cured me of my fascination.
I decided on French long after my debâcle with it at school while I was on holiday in St Tropez with two suitors. Neither of those passions survived, but I never let French die completely within me. LingQ made it come alive for me, finally. MissTake, Marianne, Serge and other tutors helped greatly.
Swedish interested me when I was 11 or so. My mother used to have a Swedish penfriend during the Nazi years and this Tante Berit wrote to me also, from time to time. But then in 1958 Sweden beat Germany (totally unfairly from my point of view at the time) in the World Cup due to their psychological-warfare chants of “Heja, heja Sverige” and the Swedish language lost its attraction - mind you, I had not even started learning it, apart from “jag älskar dig” which I had planned on saying to Tante Berit’s son Lennart when I made my first trip to Sweden. When I joined LingQ I remembered a friend had moved to Stockholm and Swedish became interesting again. I found it extremely hard. It is only this year that I am enjoying the language and the progress I am making.
Italian because a really nice girl in my class took private Italian lessons when we were 13. Her parents had in villa in Italy. I was so impressed that somebody would do extra classes to learn something - I tended to bunk off school - that I thought it would be good if I also learnt it. I never did. Now, thanks to LingQ, I got a good reading understanding.
Japanese because as a child I read “Tsushima” by Frank Thiess. I wanted to be able to talk to people whose navy had been able to beat the Russian navy. (I was rather a militant little girl it seems.) No success so far, despite some wonderful Japanese members here on LingQ. At one point I was able to read two of their scripts.
There was one exception:
I wanted to learn Spanish because husband no. 2 loved it and I wanted to understand what Spanish had that interested him so much. LingQ and Berta and alsuvi helped me find it.
As you can see most of my language history is a child’s daydreaming, none of them had a strong pull for me. Now I find it is more about enjoying the journey and enjoying every little progress.
I realise this post would fit in well with another thread which was running for a couple of weeks not so long ago. Perhaps I should have searched for it.