JiEun Lee
What languages to learn? Too ambitious...

Hello Everyone :)


My name is JiEun and Korean.


I was born and raised in Korea for 17years and came to Canada and live here since then.


My primary second language is English, but I would love to learn other new languages.


I have been introduced many languages but never go deep into as I did with English.


I took Chinese one semester as electives (although it was all scheduled for us) in Korea in high school, took Spanish in Univeristy for one summer semester.


Very little in Japanese as well.


Since it is summer and have more time than I would have in school (going Univeristy), I would like to challenge and push myself to learn more diligently.


But, there are so many languages I want to learn! : Chinese, Spanish, French, Japanese...


Of course, I would practice my English (writing and conversational English) as default.


I just want to hear you guys' opinion in deciding which language to start learn.


Should I stick with what I have been introduced (Chinese or Spanish)or learn very new language (Japanese or French)?


Thank you


p.s. I just chose Chinese for dicussion in learning language but I would rather choose multiple language option

Jun 15, 2014 8:16 PM
Comments · 9

I totally understand you because I have the same challenge. I'm trying to achieve fluency in Hebrew, which I need, but am tempted by romance languages, which I don't need but just like for their own sake.


My current solution is to put my main effort into Hebrew, unlimited in time, just as much as I possibly can, and allot a small fixed amount of time, daily/weekly, each for French and Spanish. My goal for them is to maintain and improve conversational fluency. My goal for Hebrew is (hopefully) mastery, including in writing.


People have different definitions of fluency, but if your goal is to be able to work professionally in the language, on the level of an educated native speaker, true fluency is is a very hard goal to achieve. So focusing on your English is probably a good idea.

June 17, 2014

Thank you Aaron and Rosiz for the comments.


I think I seriously need to reexaimne about my plan to learn multiple languages at the same time.


I still have difficulty in English especially in writing and speaking (more for casual conversation).


I worry that I try to do too many things at the same time altogether, wanting to be multi-lingual as soon as possible.


Maybe I should back up and really focus on English to be more competent and comfortable.

June 17, 2014

Hi JiEun, good question!


I think that if there isn't a language that you need, that you should go with your heart, (and not on the basis of already having studied a bit of Chinese/Spanish). Which language resonates the most with you? Also you can have different language goals with each language. As you live in Canada, you need to be totally fluent in English, but you could set your goal to be conversationally fluent in your next language, which is a lesser time commitment and then decide what next, take that language to the next level, or learn a fourth?


Having said that I think that you need French for government jobs in Canada.

June 17, 2014

Thank you very much, notverypolite (although to me you sounds very polite :)

I agree with you that I need to be clear why I want to learn certain languages among other languages out there.


I might say this earlier, but it is first time to me to consider learning language other than exam purpose.


I think I was little confused and unfamiliar with different motive and reasons to learn language.


Thank you so much for your comment again.

June 16, 2014

Considering that you are living in Canada, I don’t think it would be difficult to find foreigners living in there, but I am saying this because I have been there before and I met so many people from different backgrounds. I am not sure whether in smaller cities I would find so many foreigners. I guess not. Depending on where you live, I am pretty sure you will find many Chinese and some Japanese people who you can exchange languages with. The “French” part of Canada you will obviously be able to practice some French, even though there are differences from French spoken in different parts of France, Belgium etc.

Choose a language that will make you close to achieve your goals or the one you will happiest at most.

I don’t recommend you learning 4 languages at same time. This is unrealistically and you will not be able to master them quickly. Choose one and perhaps two at maximum to start with. Some languages will require more time than others. Japanese, for instance, might be easy for you due to the syntax similarity. I have seen many Koreans mastering Japanese (N2-N1 Japanese proficiency) level in one year and vice versa (Japanese taking highest level in TOPIK). I am aware that proficiency tests don’t value everything, but both Koreans and Japanese could communicate and talk about different very fluently.

June 16, 2014
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