My name is David and I’m a new contributing author here at babelhut.com. Like Peter and Thomas both, I’ve realized my desire to learn another language later in life, though looking back at my life, it’s been a rather obvious result.
The first thing in my life I can remember involving a second language was when I was about 7 or so, in the faraway, but beautiful land of San Diego. My brother and I were trying to conceive a language of our own, not having any real knowledge of languages other than English. It was a short lived attempt, but some of the conventions of the language we came up with opened my eyes as to how different languages could also “taste” different.
Going to middle school, before I took any foreign language classes, I found myself interested in the language of Klingon. I learned what I could through the Klingon Language Institute’s website, but I simply didn’t know anything about learning languages at the time, so I didn’t really get far. Later, I eventually realized that the design of the language and the impracticality of it (there are very few actual speakers in the world) would have killed my motivation to learn it anyway.
Between the choice of Spanish and French, I chose to learn French in high school for two reasons. First, I thought of French as the more romantic language (not that I was really the romantic type,) and second, the large majority of students took Spanish. The French teacher I had for my first year was terrible, but when I had Mrs. Smith as a teacher, I suddenly found myself speaking French with the best in my class. Of course I was terrible at getting my projects done, so I only made Bs in that class.
After high school, my retention for French faded away, as did any desire to continue learning it. I was too busy focusing on other areas of study. It wasn’t until my brother got on this language kick a few years ago that I really started looking at learning another language again. Since I was into anime at the time, Japanese seemed like a logical choice, but as my interest for anime faded, so did my interest for Japanese. I’ve also looked into Lojban, which was probably the easiest language to get into thus far, but my motivation was not strong enough. As it turns out, the mere appreciation of a language’s features is not enough to get me to learn the language. Instead I discovered that I really need a reason to learn the language, that the language is merely a means to an end.
I’ve begun learning French again with the primary intent of being able to travel to and, perhaps someday, live in a foreign country, perhaps one as strange as Canada. While I do enjoy the country I live in and the freedoms it provides, I feel I may be better suited elsewhere.
Motivation plays a large part in how well you do anything in life. What is your motivation for learning your new language? What are you trying to achieve with it? Let me know in the comments.