Does learning non-European languages make you 'wiser' than just learning European languages

It seems like alot of popular languages to learn are all indo-european languges, with relatively similar cultures compared to china etc.
As far as profound realizations or ‘new ways of thinking’ go, do you think learning Japanese/Chinese would give you much more bang for your buck compared to learning French/Italian/German/Spanish?

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Every language you learn expands your mind, regardless of geography, in my view.


People who learn ‘foreign’ languages over and above languages which are pertinent to their own peoples are searching because they know nothing about their own cultures. An African click speaker who wants to learn Japanese instead of another African language needs to bring himself bck down to earth and have a good look at themselves. My opinion.

All of the world’s cultures and languages are ours to explore and learn as we best see fit. Neither our own language and culture nor our interest in a language and its culture is built into our DNA.


So, millions of people who are learning english around the world should they stop and coming back to learn close languages and, therefore, limit their worldview?


that is ridiculous every one has the right to learn any culture or language that does not mean they do not know their own african click speaker?really !

I am a native English speaker. I’m learning Mandarin and more recently German.

For me, what is ideal, is knowing one’s own language and the roots below it. For English speakers, it might be knowing Middle and Old English and her underlying languages. With that we might pick up a cousin language. In my case German.

Then we have to leave home for awhile. My companion’s mother grew up in the British settlement on Shamian Island, Canton, China. Maybe one day we can see where she walked and played.

Zen Buddhist’s have a saying that I am no doubt badly paraphrasing: One cannot fully touch the present let alone the past or future.

I think wisdom is unrelated to language. It is pre-linguistic. Before the human formation of words, our ancestors survived in, and safely preserved, a prehistoric land.

The evolution of humans and our languages have been little but folly taking into account the heartless environmental pillage of this beautiful earth and our harm to each other.

The song Verdi Cries helps me whenever I think about that.

And Hello in there.

It seems like alot of popular languages to learn are all indo-european languges, with relatively similar cultures compared to china etc.

Not to hijack your main point, but here are a few examples of Indo-European languages:

  • English
  • Bengali
  • Greek
  • Russian
  • Kurdish
  • Norwegian
  • Armenian

‘Relatively similar cultures’ is not close to accurate.


I am struggling with my second language. I understand that the third language is easier to learn. Is that only related Indo-European languages, or if I try Mandarin will that be easier for me than learning my second?

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You most likely already developed a language learning routine and that’s really important.
The “easiness” also depends on how much and why you want to learn Mandarin.

I heard people say that Hungarian isn’t difficult, some others say that Mandarin is easy, and as you know, many Canadians say that French or English are difficult languages to learn.

I guess it’s best to give it a try in order to find out.

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Yes, of course, watch the video below :-How Does Language Change Your Brain? - YouTube

I think that when you grew up in a monolingual environment, being able to learn, speak and think in another language is already a big step, even if it’s a language close to your mother tongue. You loose temporarily all your references and that can be frightening at the beginning. It teaches you humility, you need to reorganize your brain and create new connexions. From my point of view, learning a new language always makes you wiser.


Exactly. I am finding Korean not difficult at all… but it’s not because It isn’t challenging. It’s just fun. I am enjoying learning the hangul and watching by Korean Dramas that my mind doesn’t seem to care how much I don’t know…or how complicated the honorifics are.

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Definitely not in terms of cultural enrichment. I don’t see how visiting and interacting with people in Latin America, France, or Italy is any less rewarding than is learning about the cultures of East Asia or the Middle East.

The only difference:

it is an experience to learn a language with a totally different alphabet and grammar system from a psychological/linguistic point of view. It was really cool for me when I first learned the Arabic alphabet and getting a new perspective on the workings of language in our brain and how a different culture came to a different set of sounds and matching symbols… But I think you could get the same basic experience with Russian which is an Indo Euro language.


I also disagree with DrewPeacock’s statements, but he did not say anything about what people have the right to do.

I totally agree with you.

Putting aside this whole statement: This reminds me that we should try to add zulu to Lingq at some point.

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and you can potentially become pen pals with Kim Jong :slight_smile:

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Of course, but I think learning unrelated and diverse languages broadens your linguistic repertoire quite a bit more. On one hand you have polysynthetic languages like Yupik where you can express “He had not yet said again that he was going to hunt reindeer.” in a single word. On the other hand you have African languages with over a dozen tones, an incredible amount of different consonants (including clicks), and a myriad of noun classes. The great diversity in human lanuages is why I’ve decided to only learn unrelated ones. I could probably become fluent in Spanish, Italian and French in the same amount of time it takes for me to learn Greenlandic, but in the end, I think it’s still worth it.