Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

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Harry Smith

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I just want to pay attention to how people of different nationalities learn foreign languages. My friends living in English Speaking Countries often say: Why we should try to learn other languages when the whole world is full of English. They mean English is spoken all over the world and I agree with them. But one thing isn't clear to me. Do they ever learn German, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese etc. as hard as we do? Or maybe they don't even think about other languages. Any ideas?
 

Harry Smith

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First, I need a bit of clarification. Are you required to learn all those languages in your country? :-|

Two foreign languages are compulsary in my country.The first is Russian and the second we can choose:either English, French or German. The other languages we can learn if we wish.;-)
 

Harry Smith

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Is that in elementary school? :shock:

We call it a secondary school. But we have to learn foreign languages at high school and university too. We have to learn at least one.
 

Casiopea

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We call it a secondary school. But we have to learn foreign languages at high school and university too. We have to learn at least one.
It's the same in Quebec, which is where I am from. Unlike you though, we had to learn French and English in elementary school.
 

Harry Smith

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It's the same in Quebec, which is where I am from. Unlike you though, we had to learn French and English in elementary school.

As far as I know there are two state languages in Canada and the citizens of the country have to know them, don't they?
 

Casiopea

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There are two official languages, yes, but you can get by with just English or just French. You don't have to know both. ;-)
 

Noego

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There are two official languages, yes, but you can get by with just English or just French. You don't have to know both. ;-)

Well I depends where you're going.

I think the whole: "There are two official languages in Canada" is a myth.

French is fine as long as you remain nearby Quebec, but once you go deeper west, people won't understand you.
 

Harry Smith

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There are two official languages, yes, but you can get by with just English or just French. You don't have to know both. ;-)

Do you think one language is enough for living in Canada? I was thinking so until I visited Germany two years ago. I thought I could communicate in English. But they don't like to speak English in Germany. So I had to brush up what I had learnt at the university. My second foreign language is German. Armenian and Russian are my native languages. Guess what! I hadn't forgotten it though I hadn't used it for 20 years.;-)
 

Casiopea

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Well I depends where you're going.

I think the whole: "There are two official languages in Canada" is a myth.

French is fine as long as you remain nearby Quebec, but once you go deeper west, people won't understand you.
Southerners. :roll: Have ya been to the upper parts of BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario? :lol:
 

Noego

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Do you think one language is enough for living in Canada? I was thinking so until I visited Germany two years ago. I thought I could communicate in English. But they don't like to speak English in Germany. So I had to brush up what I had learnt at the university. My second foreign language is German. Armenian and Russian are my native languages. Guess what! I hadn't forgotten it though I hadn't used it for 20 years.;-)
I think it is, as long as you're aware that one language won't allow you to communicate everywhere. Although I would say that English speakers in Canada would be understood by most people, except perhaps in some small French Canadian communities.

The opposite isn't true for French speaker however. I don't want to get into politics but the language issue is an important reason why French Canadians want their own country. If French was indeed spoken by the majority of Canadians (like it should in theory), I think things would be very different.

Southerners. :roll: Have ya been to the upper parts of BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario? :lol:
As far as being a Southerner, I can tell you French is not that popular North of Quebec. I've been in all the provinces you've mentioned more than once. To be fair, I've visited some towns in Ontario where the official language was French.

As for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, didn't meet a single soul who spoke good French over there.

Speaking of which, I was in Montreal not that long ago and a bank clerk couldn't speak French, which I thought was quite worrying.
 

Casiopea

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Do you think one language is enough for living in Canada?
In terms of fluency, yes. One language is enough. Again, that depends on where you live, as Noego points out. :up:

Harry Smith said:
I was thinking so until I visited Germany two years ago. I thought I could communicate in English. But they don't like to speak English in Germany.
:lol: :lol: I like how you said that.

My sister lived in Germany (Kassal) for a year. The only problem she had, and it was a frustrating one, was trying to figure out when, where, and how to use bitte.
 

Harry Smith

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Anyway, let's go back and start the thread again. Is learning foreign languages a hobby or a must? Why do some people think that one language is enough to communicate? When I say some people I mean people living in Russia, Germany, France and the whole English speaking world.:?:
 

Casiopea

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I think it is, as well as you're aware that one language won't allow you to communicate everywhere. Although I would say that English speakers in Canada would be understood by most people, except some small French Canadian communities.
Location is important, I agree. Consider that most French speakers, those who do not speak English, don't have a need to speak English. And those that do, well, let's just say that while I was teaching ESL in Alberta, some of my students were from Quebec and northern Ontario.

Noego said:
The opposite isn't true for French speaker however. I don't want to get into politics but the language issue is an important reason why French Canadians want their own country. If French was indeed spoken by the majority of Canadians (like it should in theory), I think things would be very different.
The solution is in what is, not what ifs. ;-) (I was born and raised in Quebec. My mother's family is British and German, my father's side, pure Quebecois stock. Talk about family feuds. We were the poster family. :lol:)

Noego said:
As for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, didn't meet a single soul who spoke good French over there.
Let me drive you. :-D Check out some of the town names. French.

Noego said:
Speaking of which, I was in Montreal not that long ago and a bank clerk couldn't speak French, which I thought was quite worrying.
Gee, where were you, in the West Island? :shock:

All the best. :-D
 

Casiopea

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Anyway, let's go back and start the thread again. Is learning foreign languages a hobby or a must? Why do some people think that one language is enough to communicate? When I say some people I mean people living in Russia, Germany, France and the whole English speaking world.:?:
Give the topic time. I am sure more people will come and join us. :-D
 

playagain

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For me it's a hobby when you are not going abroad...

But if you love travelling around the world, learning foreign language is a must especially the language of that country you are visitting.

For example:

You went to a country that speaks only their own language and only few of them speak english, you must be the one to adjust not the residence there.

I just posted my opinion... :)
 

Noego

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For me it's a hobby when you are not going abroad...

But if you love travelling around the world, learning foreign language is a must especially the language of that country you are visitting.

For example:

You went to a country that speaks only their own language and only few of them speak english, you must be the one to adjust not the residence there.

I just posted my opinion... :)

That's an accurate observation.:up:

As for your opinion, that's fine. No matter how certain someone may sound, at the end of the day, it's only their opinion.
 

bianca

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Recently I met someone who came from somewhere in England, she was a middle- school student and she could not speak any other language than English. She said they did not learn foreign languages in her shool. That sounded strange to me - in Sweden, undergraduate studies include two foreign languages. And my opinion is that even if you really don't need another language to be able to communicate with other people, you get better acquainted with your own language and with who you are, in terms of culture, through the prism of other languages. Not to mention that learning foreign languages is an awesome brain-stretcher. It is rumoured or maybe even proved that good language learners are good thinkers, too.
On the other hand, having the motivation to learn a foreign language other than English is the key issue.It needs to be aroused and nourished somehow, in some way, the way any kind of learning is. Dire necessity is one trigger, but there are others as well. I can try to shed some light on this:
1. There are people who enjoy Chemistry a lot even if they don't need it badly to make both ends meet, nor do they make a career out of it.
2.I have Swedish friends whose interest in learning Spanish is a lot bigger than in learning English, even though they don't really need Spanish, and English is everywhere.

So, theoretically, learning somehow comes from within, not only out of necessity. It is bound up with who you are, your passions, life experiences, people you've encountered, concerns that are part of your own makeup. Travelling abroad, yes, this is a fine way of getting alert about the language of that country. But from this to actually wanting to learn that language requires more than that. What, I really don't know. A good teacher could help. I learned French in high school, and although I have never been in France, nor did I watch French movies or had any connection with that country, I learned a lot of French while in high school, and I really liked it a lot, but having lost contact with it I unfortunately only remember bits and pieces. My interest stayed alive as long as I had that teacher, plus I had no practical need for it. Now, in hindsight, I can only say that I learned French due to that skillful teacher I had. But other people learn foreign languages, such as Chinese, all on their own, no teachers, no strings attached. Childish curiosity, or love of languages, I guess. That really makes learning a foreign language a hobby, doesn't it?
 
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