Why are you learning your language?

How do you answer when people ask you why you are learning your target language?

I’ve struggled to come up with a simple answer to that question. I wrote a long blog post that poured my heart out trying to find the answer. Why are you interested in Korea? | Hanguk Babble

Will you share with me your reason? Is the reason different for each if you have learned more than one language?

To put simply, my reasons include intellectual curiosity, new ideas, and meeting people.


To be completely honest, I try to avoid mentioning to anyone that I’m learning Swedish. I’m getting mightily tired of having to explain myself. Having an interest in the language and in Nordic countries without going there on holiday each and every vacation I get seems to be inadequate. People just go on asking WHY.

For English, the main reason was being able to read books in their original language without strange (and often wrong) translations, especially fantasy into which I was then. I had had school English for 9 years but still had to learn a lot.
For Swedish, well, it’s mostly curiosity of and interest in the language as well as learning something rather unusual - I never was into bestsellers, whether it be books or something else. When I first started twenty years ago I had never been to any Nordic country, nor met anyone from there. I also thought I might be able to use it in my job. After that followed a lapse of 15 or more years in which I had little to do with Swedish. Now I’ve taken it up again for the reasons mentioned in the first paragraph. Although Denmark is easier to reach I think that Danish is more difficult to learn so I stick to Swedish and perhaps add Danish later on.
For Spanish it’s mostly that I’d prefer to understand something of the country I’m going walking in once a year but I haven’t made any progress because I’m not really interested as yet. I know I can get along with my native German just as well; I have done so for years. Yet it would be nice to be able to read announcements, notices and the like without having to photograph it and look it up in the hotel or at home.

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Well, I’m a swedish person who tries to learn Russian. And Deahna you’re kind of right that Danish might be harder to understand. I’m able to read it (not all of it). But it was a woman who spoke Danish with me at the airport once and the only words I could understand was “yes & here” actually. But whatever.

I’m learning Russian because I never got to learn another language than English in school because of my parents. They’ll thought I couldn’t handle it :(. Which have tooken down my selfconfidence a lot. And I’m still sad because I never got to learn the language I wanted which was French. But when some of my friends have experinces of 3 years of French it’s no idea to catch up :(.

So I thought. Why don’t I learn a different language which maybe is a little more difficult with another alphabet (called Cyrillic). Which my friends never got to learn at school. That’s maybe something I can do, I thought.

I try to learn Russian as often as I can. But I still go to college so sometimes it’s a lot of work that have to be done first. So this is my background to why I started learning another language. I may not be able to speak it clear. But I maybe will be able to read and write it clear. At least some phrases.

And I hope that I can find Russian friends that want to speak and learn me their language :slight_smile:


I’m a bit of a history nerd, and Chinese history is my favorite. China also has one of the oldest cultures which also captures my interest. I enjoy challenging and using my brain, so that’s also a reason. And of course I want to converse with natives.


I do share that interest in the Chinese history. Besides I am interested in all the progress China has been making. Guess that is one of the reasons that I learn Chinese


Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that! I’m also eager to see how China will do in the future.

I don’t know. Probably large population of Russian speakers in my area, culture, the history, politics, and cute girls. There are many reasons that I probably couldn’t tell you.

I don’t tell anyone that I’m learning Russian. Only my roommates know, and my Russian speaking friends. Why? I get tired of explaining to others why, and those I do tell, I only get 30% positive responses. Also, people find it strange an Asian would speak Russian despite the large percentage of Central Asians speaking Russian. I also recall correctly that it’s still the de facto language (though it’s in decline, right?).


Jag skulle vilja förbättra min svenska. Min mor språket är ryska, jag kan hjälpa dig med det om du vil.

As for me, the main reason is Inspiration! =)))

This is my MAIN driver in learning the languages! =)))

Not “motivation”, i.e. the petty pragmatic “if I invest the so-so thousand hours and have a such-and-such EXPOSURE (am I a digital camera to have any exposure?) then I’ll have a so-and-so level A0, or whatever, as an output and a surplus of money earned” approach ! =)))

Definitely, not MY case! :wink:


Hi ! =)))

Long time, no see ! :wink:

Yes, you ARE right! =))) Most of the Central Asians still DO speak Russian, true that, although it’s in decline, due to apparent reasons! :wink:

I like Barry Farber’s views on language learning motivation:

“The ads for self study language courses stress the business, travel, cultural, and literary advantages of acquiring another language. But what about meeting girls? Or women? Or boys? Or men? Why let an old-fashioned propriety quash that thoroughly proper, in fact praiseworthy, reason to learn another language, namely to enlarge your range of social opportunites…”


Learning a language has certainly brought out my creativity and inspired me. Great reason!

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Ha ! =))) I can’t agree more! =))))) Exactly! =)))

Basically I’d like to improve my language skills because I want to get a better paid job.

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Thank you, I’ve finally realized why so many people keep asking why when talking about learning Swedish. They simply can’t understand that there’s no hard GAIN involved, as in money, promotion or at the very least a certificate at the end of it all. I might try for Swedex one day but if so I’m doing it for myself and myself only. It would be more in the nature of a challenge.

One more global reason for learning languages is that I happen to like learning. I also like to keep busy to a certain extent but I’m not a busybody and prefer to keep out of other people’s lives. So, keeping busy and learning languages combines well and is fun.


Don’t let a little gap like 3 years stop you from learning French if you would like to do it!

I have been a brilliant beginner in Russian for more than 30 years and am still enjoying the fact that it is so complicated. I started Swedish when I was 64 or so (ok, I have only played at learning Swedish, but I am still at it and am delighted about the language).

LingQ can be a great support in your language learning catch-up. But beware, language learning is not about seeing yourself as being better or worse than others. It is about doing what is right for you. :slight_smile:

Economic gain is a big reason why many people learn English. I can see how it would motivate you to learn if you could have a better life (and bigger salary) by improving your foreign language skill.

I’m told that in general, people learning a language to get a better paying job stick to their language learning better than those who are just doing it as a hobby.

I read your blog post. I have been seen as an oddball all of my life, so I really related to it . But I don’t see why saying that you like Korean dramas should sound empty. If that were your only reason, it would be more than enough in my book. There are so many people who start Japanese solely to be able to watch/read mangas.

People who are not interested in languages cannot get it.

Anyway, I began studying Spanish after my TBI, my doctors suggested I do it to sort of retrain the brain.

I love languages, but because there is a lot of damage, I picked a language I stood a chance with as I already know two romance languages.

When people ask, I say I plan to go on holiday in South America, and that is not so farfetched. I was not interested in Spanish but I fell in love along the way and now I have tons of reasons.

Now, Spanish is something I do whenever I can, when I feel really sick it helps me distract from my hell. And it is helping so much with the slow healing process, but by now, I don’t really care anymore, for me it’s such fun.


“Why are you leaning your language?”
I am learning English and German. Are these “my languages”? Can I proclaim that English and German belong to me? Don’t you have any objections?

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Absolutely Yutaka!