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Ill-advised reasons to learn a language other than English

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Myrtonos, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Myrtonos

    Myrtonos Well-Known Member

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    This would have been a thread in a club on Asperclick, but that site has closed.

    English being the most common lingua-franca in the world doesn't stop learning languages other than English being popular and doesn't even stop governments of all English-speaking from requiring schoolchildren to learn a language other than English.

    However, it seems that quite a few commonly given reasons for this are actually ill-advised. At least some of them might not seem like terrible reasons but say they are the only reasons (or at least the main reasons) why someone thinks all schoolchildren in English-speaking countries should learn a language other than English. Then do you think they might be a bit too hasty?

    The idea is to draw up a list of ill-advised reason to learn to communicate in another language in such cases.
     
  2. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    Ill-advised reasons... such as?
     
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  3. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Cultural preservation. Being taught gaelic/gallic at school.
    When the reality may have been it was never widely spoken in your area.

    Like that?
     
  4. Myrtonos

    Myrtonos Well-Known Member

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    Well, maybe not that but certainly learning about culture is one. That club was run by @Progster and I did discuss a similar thing there.
     
  5. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    Why is learning a language as part of learning about a culture ill-advised?
     
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  6. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member It's My Birthday!

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    Learn Latin in case the Romans show up again.
     
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  7. Alexej

    Alexej Active Member

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    Veni vide vinci
     
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  8. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Ill advised reasons to learn a language other than English:

    You'll be able to toss in foreign words so you sound cultured.

    You'll be able to confuse police if they stop you, if you start speaking
    in another language. Maybe you won't get a ticket for speeding etc.


    You'll be able to make lots of mistakes in the new language.
    A. That will sound cute and childlike.
    B. That will sound stupid and people will doubt your intelligence.
    C. You'll have a head start on poor grammar so you'll be a natural
    at writing email scams, which are renowned for peculiar errors
    of logic and grammar.

    Learning a language other than English will:
    A. Make you taller.
    B. Grant you the ability to shape shift, time travel, and/or teleport.
    C. Cure cancer.
    D. Make you more appealing to the opposite sex, the same sex, or
    whoever you want to find you more appealing.
    E. Guarantee a higher income for you because you can work
    crossword puzzles and win contests.
    F. Make it more likely that you'll be called on to negotiate with
    terrorists or alien creatures from outer space, and put you in
    the position of saving the world.

    These are a few ill considered reasons for schoolchildren in English-speaking countries to learn a foreign language.
    I might be able to come up with more, after I have breakfast.
     
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  9. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member It's My Birthday!

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    man-woman-jogging-fitness-city_79405-11854.jpg

    For a healthier lifestyle learn a language that does not contain the word 'gluten'.
     
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  10. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    A couple of things need to be explained here:

    What are the commonly given reasons that you refer to?
    Examples? Which reasons would be ok/acceptable?

    In our previous discussion on the topic, we discussed whether learning a foreign language should be manditory as opposed to optional, and given the same weight as core subjects such as maths and science, because we might never need to actually use the foreign language in real life, unlike maths, which is a skill we are all going to use. Learning a language is often a matter of economic/geopolitics, where two countries with strong business ties learn each other's language.
     
  11. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank you for clarifying. ;)

    Clearly there are any number of practical reasons for learning a particular language.

    However there are also those who may have little to no aptitude for learning them whether they want to or not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  12. GrownupGirl

    GrownupGirl Tempermental Artist

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    In Canada English-speaking kids are taught French in school, but about the only French most English-speaking Canadians know is what we've read on bilingual cereal boxes.:laughing:

    I think it's pretty cool when someone can fluently speak different languages, though. I think the best part would be that you could make fun of someone who doesn't know a word of it, and they wouldn't know what you just said.:smilingimp:
     
  13. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I remember when my kids were young and learned some Spanish in school and when we'd go to a Mexican restaurant they could talk to the waiter in Spanish a few times. And when they'd come home singing a song in Spanish I would ask them what they were singing and they wouldn't know. I'd tell them they really should know what they are saying or singing about. I was trying to encourage them to actually learn.
    I had a Spanish speaking patient and felt so bad that I was unable to communicate things to him and he died the next day. After that I tried to learn some, but I just don't have what it takes to learn a new language - it took me longer than most to learn my own. :)
     
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  14. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    One good reason FOR learning a second language in childhood is that the brain is especially fertile for language acquisition at that time - a capacity which drops off drastically by age 20 and even more so by age 60.

    Now this is in terms of population norms. Persons with autism who may already have speech and language difficulty might be a special case, and arguably might have more than enough stress just learning to speak one language. However, some people with autism are especially good at languages, and it's certainly a gift to be able to learn them easily.

    Just like learning to play an instrument, it's wonderful to have a special ability, in this case a foreign language. Convince me otherwise.
     
  15. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Three years of Spanish classes i was forced to take. I know uno, dos, quetra, cis, un, la, and si. Thats it. For three years.
    Also i worry about forgetting how to speak english. One hit to the head might do it for me.
     
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  16. Dr. Eh Hol

    Dr. Eh Hol not a real doctor

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    AND language is the vehicle by which we reason and understand. Without language, ideas and logic have no vessels for use, transport, or trade (try to think anything without using words or concepts learned from communication).

    Languages are structured differently, and offer different ways of constructing and communicating ideas. Learning multiple languages can release the mind from rigid constructs built into a native language, make language fallacies more obvious, and generally increase cognitive function.

    Further:
    offers the same cognitive benefits in a slightly different way.

    As an aside, I highly recommend people read very old fiction and listen to classical music. These help finite humans understand their place in an infinite world.
     
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  17. WittyAspie

    WittyAspie The One And Only V.I.P Member

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    Being more attractive is actually my favorite perk. My gf loves it when I start speaking French to her.
     
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  18. Trophonius

    Trophonius Active Member

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    Learn French to pick up chicks using le langage de l'amour.
    Ma belle dame, voulez-vous lire Merlau-Ponty avec moi?

    Learn Japanese so you can finally watch anime without subtitles.
    No need for translator notes to understand "All according to keikaku".
     
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  19. George Newman

    George Newman Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Great topic. I may not be approaching it from the intended angle but I may have a perspective that has worth to consider.

    I always understood that the primary reason for studying another language other than my birth language in secondary and post secondary education was to enhance or broaden my ability or capacity to learn.

    I find that the mental tools needed to master another language are a bit different than those needed to master other competencies like mathematics or science.

    For instance, mastering a second language conversationally greatly deepened my ability to listen. One needs to listen when communicating and we take good listening for granted but good listening skills when translating between two languages or simply while learning another language is a must.

    I also think learning another language may make one more creative and increase ones ability to remember. One must think quickly when in a conversation. The sweet spot is when conversation becomes reflexive. This is when you know you have truly achieved something hard sought.

    I think that apart from the rationale of being able to communicate and engage in commerce in Spanish while in Mexico or South Texas, USA or French while in France or Mali for example learning another language enhanced my learning skills and I applied that learning for all subjects.

    Do I think it was essential? No. Many of my classmates took the same classes as me but were never able to master said language, conversationally. They soon forgot most of what they learned once the class was passed.

    I hope this made some sense.
     
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  20. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    This is one very good argument as to why perhaps foreign language teaching in schools should be optional rather than complusory - learning foreign languages is based on the premise that one os going ot want to communicate with other people in other countries, and this isn't true for everyone, or such communication doesn't suit everyone. While we all need a basis grasp of maths, to read and write to get by in life, we don't all need a foreign language. So I don't think that kids should be forced to learn this when it isn't working for them.

    I like learning langauges, but for academic reasons - I'm interested in linguistics and how languages work as systems, or I want to understand something I read online in another language or the music I listen to and I'm not learning just because I want to communicate with others or because I want to make friends or do business with people form other countries, as seems to be the main reason for most people to learn a language. Though if I choose to live in another country for an extended period of time, I do consider it a mark of respect to learn the local language.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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