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Leandro Apostol
When learning a second language, do you ever feel like you are doing it out of a sense of obligation?

...rather than something out of personal or intellectual fulfillment? Some are driven by obligation, but not others. Because the majority of the world speaks a second language fluently. It almost seems as if learning a second language is an expectation, and the fun and joys of foreign languages only seems to begin when learning additional ones. At the moment, I am struggling to stay motivated with French not because I am struggling with technical aspects of it or because I lack any personal reasons or goals for it. Rather, because it is starting to feel like a chore or something I need to do just to keep up with the rest of the world.

This is one of those moments when I truly, TRULY envy those raised in bilingual or multilingual households. It makes me want to blame myself for not learning languages earlier in life, even though I'm just young, or even pin all the shame and blame on myself for not being raised in that environment, as irrational as that sounds. It makes me feel ashamed whenever, for example, I make elementary mistakes like mixing up genders, using wrong prepositions and articles, or forgetting liaisons, as hard as I am trying.

Mar 7, 2018 5:06 AM
Comments · 9

Leandro learning a new language can be fun but has also has its negative aspects, yes it demands dedication and motivation. Motivation can fluctuate, I can understand you since it happens to me regularly to have some downs.

I looked at your profile and it says you are living in Canada which is a bilingual country. That would be to me a big incentive. Don’t you want to understand better the French speaking people in your country? Maybe go to their region during vacations, find an interesting language partner also expanding your search to France? Looking TV shows and movies in French? I hope that you can try to overcome your motivational difficulties and I wish you “happy learning “.

March 7, 2018

Sometimes I feel the same. I used to learn German 5 times per week for years and I was much better in speaking and reading it than I am now. Then I started studying something else and tried to improve English. German couldn't be a priority, even if I wanted to be. Now I regret forgetting vocabulary that I used to know. 

What keeps me motivating is to learn 3 times per week or half of an hour every day. If I was under pressure to learn it, I'd probably be more efficient, but I try to see that as a long term goal and not something that is easily achievable. The only thing that is important is having learning constancy.

When I achieve reading comprehension that I have in English, I'll be very proud of myself. Self-accomplishment is very powerful. 

Having an interesting and funny interlocutor also helps!

March 7, 2018
English was a must for me because of my job. I knew since the begging of my career that fluency in English would be a requirement if I wanted to start choosing where I wanted to work and doing what I wanted to do instead of accepting what was offered to me. And this was something important when I looked into myself and projected my life in the long run.

Was English the most attractive language to me at that time? No. Actually, Frech was always music to my ears. I just love how it sounds. But I choose English because there was a greater purpose behind it.

When I started to speak and understand what people were saying, a whole new world of possibilities opened up before me, and now I can learn and do much more things that I would not have if I had not learned (still learning, actually). And that's awesome!

The bottom line is: Look into yourself and figure out what do you want to do. Would it make you feel better? Will it make you feel happy? If the answer is yes, just do it. If no, don't do it and spend the time you saved to do something important to you.

March 8, 2018

Many people try to learn a language for obligation, whether professional or even personal (maybe you feel like you have to do it). So, I think it's important to evaluate why you want to do it.

The process can be long, and you do have ups and downs. However, if you feel demotivated, it can have a lot to do with the way you're learning. I mean, are you just studying Grammar and making exercises?

There are many ways to study and when it comes to languages, I really think you should appreciate the culture to keep going. Maybe you don't have time to study Grammar today, but you can listen to songs in your target language when you go to work, watch a film when you come home, talk to one of the friends you made during your language journey (not just for obligation, but because you feel like it).

As mentioned by Aliph, considering you live in Canada, maybe you can spend your Holidays in Quebec, for example.

I honestly think that this kind of things motivate me much more than thinking about possible professional benefits that languages could bring me. I just think it's satisfying when I listen to a song in Spanish and I realise I can actually understand the lyrics, when I finish a book in French or when I can have a whole conversation in German. 

But maybe, at the end of the day, you notice you actually don't like the language, don't relate to the culture, you won't actually make use of it... then is it worth it?

I don't think it's your case and you seem to be interested in learning French. Therefore, instead of feeling pressured, try to treasure the progress you make. Learning can and should be fun.

March 7, 2018

I am currently learning a third language.  Part of the reason why I am doing this is somewhat similar to yours.  I want to be able to beef up my resume and offer something more unique to potential employers.  

Over the last year, I spent a lot of time perfecting my second language and I found out that learning languages are fun.  Learning additional languages gives me access to so much more media that I would not normally have access to if I only know one language.  That is what keeps motivating me to not give up and continue my studies.  

March 7, 2018
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Leandro Apostol
Language Skills
English, Filipino (Tagalog), French, Russian
Learning Language
French, Russian