What makes you happy that you learned a language?

We understandably see a lot of posts from people who are hopefully awaiting the day when they will be good enough to use the foreign language they are learning for something truly rewarding, perhaps imagining the process of learning a language like a race with a goal that only needs to be passed in order to get to consider oneself successful. Learning a language, though, as I’m sure has been said many times on this forum, is not so much a task with a goal as it is an eternal process. Indeed, you are still learning your own native language to this day! So what makes you happy today that you learned a language?

Recently my passion for music revived. I bought a mandolin with accessories to go with it (haven’t gotten it yet) and now I just can’t stop listening to Russian music on youtube, hoping to be able to play it one day. But as for actual achievements I did learn Russian and now I have full access to the Russian youtube, which makes the music so much better, something I didn’t have in 2007 when I first learned the Russian Cyrillic alphabet in order to find Russian music on youtube. This is one of the songs I listened to back then. Now I understand it (most of it before reading the lyrics) and the comments, and I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting or anything… but who cares… it feels… great. To all you beginners, I truly hope you reach your goal if there is even one. There’s nothing like completing a big project. This is the ten years distant roots of my Russian learning process: music. It makes me happy.

Who would have thunk it could be done? Not anyone I know. That’s for sure. Most people just smiled at me back then. Now I shall smile at them.

Don’t forget to answer my question.

Good job on Russian! I find it to be such a rewarding language because of the incredible amount of content that you simply cannot get without knowing it. Others (Italian, Ukrainian) have been quite disappointing in that aspect IMHO.

For some strange reasons, I’ve always been interested in Latin America and Eastern Europe, so I’m happy to have gotten a very decent grasp on Spanish and Russian to follow their politics, watch their movies, and to travel there. I’ve also started to read books written by Latin American and Spanish libertarians that I couldn’t read otherwise since they are only available in Spanish.

Then there is understanding jokes and getting the feeling like you’re part of something that is not North America / Western Europe.


Sharing those regional interests myself, I will have to chat with you at some point regarding what the books are. I imported Ortega y Gasset’s “La Rebelion de las Masas” into LingQ a couple of years ago, but have yet to get around to it. William F. Buckley, the great American thinker who founded National Review, was fond of reading him as I recall.

Anyway, to the OP as to what makes me happy I have learned Spanish (in no particular order):

–the hot mamacitas on the Spanish Channel and NetFlix telenovelas. :slight_smile:
–eavesdropping on people in Walmart, the deli, working on yards, and other places Latinos tend to congregate.
–knowing that I know the language of the conquistadors who brought God and civilized society to the hemisphere (for a time)
–impressing people
–the political aspects of the news, current events, history, etc.
–my document translation business
–the feeling of accomplishment
–my confidence that the shadowy places overcast by the illegal immigrant invasion of America are not impenetrable to me.

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True. Russians very much use their language, which is great, but they also have a very rich culture and need not feel embarrassed or inadequate when confronted with Americanized western culture. Maybe Chinese is like that too? Or Japanese? I wouldn’t be surprised because those cultures are still so distinct. Or at least it seems so to me.

I’ve been interested in the same regions for some strange reason. As for politics, Russia is very much a significant player and things that are going on there are inherently interesting because of that. I haven’t watched their movies yet because it’s too difficult and it doesn’t really interest me all that much, but travelling there will one day definitely be a nice experience.

Jokes? Lol I don’t get Russian jokes very easily because I guess they contain idioms. This one I get though:

“–knowing that I know the language of the conquistadors who brought God and civilized society to the hemisphere (for a time)”

Cool thread!

A few rewarding things that I’ve done in other languages:

  • Doing MOOCs in Spanish that aren’t available in English (especially this excellent course on Egypt: https://www.coursera.org/learn/egypt).
  • Reading books in Spanish that haven’t been translated into English (especially Laura Gallego books).
  • Travelling to places where the languages I speak are spoken and feeling good about that and getting a better insight into local culture, meeting local people etc (latest example: Mozambique).
  • Conducting an interview in a mixed zone in Spanish at the Olympics in Rio last year and writing a story from it.
  • Watching/listening to rewarding programs, notably Portugueses no Mundo (podcast/radio) and Mediterraneo (a very interesting TV program that I watched in Italian which is also produced in French).
  • Participating in several Spanish paleography projects, especially The Estoria de Espanna project (http://estoria.bham.ac.uk/blog/).

I’m sure there are others but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment.


I bet you had a great time in Mozambique. One day I will probably travel through Russia. Possibly on a train because then you get to see so much more from the familiar to homo sapiens ground perspective rather than that of the birds. Sure, a patchy pattern of crop fields can probably be neat but I think it will be better to stay on the ground, avoiding any and all tourist traps and ending it all in Beijing before I fly home. I might go to Belarus too. I like Belarus.


Regarding libertarian literature, look for Alex Kaiser, Gloria Álvarez, Fernando Diaz Villanueva, and Agustín Laje.

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Какую фразу можно сказать и в постели, и на семейном ужине?

-У твоей мамы вкуснее

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Thx! I remember you mentioning Villanueva previously as well.

I would also like to take the train across Russia. At the moment it’s ‘scheduled’ for summer 2019. My wife speaks a small amount of Russian so hopefully that will help a little bit. Culturally, I found Mozambique really interesting and I loved Mozambique Island. The transport/roads were a bit difficult, though :slight_smile:

i’m glad i learned spanish years ago now i can read and listen to real authentic material in spanish and separate the lies and propaganda from the bs that is called latin american culture that is taught in schools to foreigners

Good for you! There’s nothing like getting to see for oneself.

Could you give some examples of that lies?

Yesterday I was at the airport because I was flying to Poland,

I spoke English with the flight attendant.

German with a woman who needed some help with her bags.

Spanish with the girl sitting next to me during the flight.

And Polish with the people around me right now.

These are the type of days that give me the most happiness because I notice that it would not have been the same had I not learned these languages.

I am sure many of the people here at LingQ will be familiar with this :slight_smile:


Great contribution! It should serve well as a motivator for beginners. I suppose this is what most people have in mind when they imagine how it will be to speak several languages?

How much I learn about others and the opportunities to travel i have had. this is a Spanish person talking about the benefits he sees in learning languages. AS Spanish Listening Practice: La importancia de aprender un idioma (Chino, ingles, idiomas) - YouTube

“…what makes you happy today that you learned a language?..”

There is a joy to reading literature in a foreign language which (perhaps ironically) can’t quite be expressed in words :slight_smile:

Maybe I’m just a simple mind but I find quite a lot of joy in reading information on a product package in Russian such as a package of bedlinen. I didn’t buy it. Oh no. In fact I’ve been sleeping without a cushion for ten years at least because I just don’t care enough to carry such a thing all the way to the cash register and pay for it. If it wasn’t for food that was quick and easy to make I would surely be laying dead in the hallway. Anyway, I should re-read War and peace in English or something if only to add a minuscule amount of class and civilization to my otherwise barbaric, wife-less existence.

Well, ya know, “literature” doesn’t have to be the big-gun classics. I used to enjoy reading pulp fiction (like graphic novels) in Italian!