There are roughly 6,500 different languages spoken in this world. Some are common and some are rare. You all know what the common ones are.
Learning a language is a funny concept. When I took Spanish in high school, I had no chance. I was a young teenager and had absolutely no interest in learning a language. And if you truly want to learn a language, you need to be fully committed and dedicated.
Sure, I remember a few words, like manana and pollo, but I can’t speak actual sentences. Trying to learn a new language is a treacherous and daunting task. Sure, people will say, “Oh my god, Rosetta Stone actually works! Just listen to it for a few weeks and you’ll speak another language fluently!!!!”
But I’m sure that’s not true. Like anything else, learning a language takes determination and repetition. That’s how you truly learn something — by hammering it home day after day. Nobody is going to learn something overnight. You have to keep at it and keep repeating the same shit in and day out. So why bother?
The reason I said it’s funny is because we all have learned a language in our lifetime. For most, if not all, the people who are reading this, it’s English. I just find it humorous because as infants we learn a language when we aren’t even trying to learn one. We simply grow up with it.
So how can my 1-year-old self learn an entire language — one of the more complex ones in the world, at that — and yet my 25-year-old self can’t even learn one freaking word in another language?
But then I put some more thought it into it. Do I really need to learn another language? Is it that important?
The answer is no.
I’m going to sound like a cocky American, but, everybody in the world learns English. It is much more important for those in other countries to learn English than it is for us to learn their stupid languages. Because it it’s in the United States where it’s all happening. I don’t make the rules. So as long as they learn English, then we’re good. I don’t need to learn their language.
Also, what practical reasons would I need to learn a new language for?
I completely agree that it is extremely impressive to be bilingual. If I meet someone who knows multiple languages, I will immediately think highly of that person. I’ll assume that they are intelligent, cultural and successful.
But I’m still not going to do it.
The only practical reason I can think of would be if I was planning to move to a foreign country for an extended period of time. If I am going to live there, and actually want to communicate with people, then I should probably know the language. But I ain’t leaving America, so there goes that. I’m having a hard enough time leaving my freaking parents’ house, let alone the country.
If I’m going on vacation, then I’m not going to spend a second trying to learn a new language. They’ll probably speak English at my hotel, and that’s all I need. I don’t plan on meeting any natives. But I will invade their beaches, their restaurants and their bars.
If I were studying abroad, then perhaps I might take a few minutes to learn some key words. I would just learn the words that I would need to know in order to function within their society. I would learn words like “beer,” “bathroom” and “Call me, maybe?”
In all honesty, the only reason I would ever want to learn a language is this: to impress people.
For the reasons I stated earlier, I want people to become amazed by the fact that I am capable of speaking two languages fluently. I would speak the language at random times, and watch as girls drool with admiration at my cognitive abilities. It would be a fantastic icebreaker that would hopefully lead to a night of tonsil hockey. I might even introduce her to my Rosetta Bone. That is seriously the only reason I would ever consider learning another language.
I certainly don’t mean to discourage — and definitely not insult — those who plan to learn or have learned a second language. Again, I am impressed with your abilities. However, in my humble opinion, as a speaker of the third most common language in the world, and living in the third most populous country in the world, I have officially deemed it unnecessary to learn another language.