Is there such a thing as a wrong reason to learn a language? Why do people decide to learn a second language?
Some of the reasons I’ve heard are listed below (please feel free to add any other reasons not mentioned):
- to travel abroad on holiday / business
- to get a better job or improve job opportunities
- to study abroad
- they like the sound and /or the looks of that language
- they love the country /culture / food where that language is spoken
- religious reasons (biblical Greek/Hebrew/ Latin)
- to find a boyfriend/girlfriend
- to get in touch with their roots
- because it’s an academic requirement
- to ward off memory loss
- to show off / impress others
I heard on the podcast Eye on Italy episode 17 (here’s the link – http://www.eyeonitaly.com/podcast/episode-17-italian-i-still-love-you/ ) an interview with Dianne Hales who wrote the book – La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language (http://www.becomingitalian.com/labella.php) and one of the negative criticisms she heard came from her friends who questioned her choice to study Italian as “why choose such a useless language to learn?” The argument being if you’re going through all this trouble to speak another language, at least learn a more useful language such as French, or Spanish, or German, or Mandarin. Please define usefulness in love.
So…, my answer to the question – is there a wrong reason to learn a language? YES AND NO.
There can be weak (or lame) reasons. What do I mean? To learn another language you will have to work up the following ingredients:
PROGRESS (NO MATTER AT WHAT PACE)
Now, if your reasons don’t live up to the ingredients above you will be bound to fail. Therefore, wrong reasons.
But, if you’re willing to keep on following those four ingredients – the reason or reasons will be right.
So, roll up your sleeves and dig in whatever language you want and for whatever reasons that make you tick.
No matter what others say, another language will give you a new vision of the world.