Why do you learn a language?

December 4, 2012 / by Rachel Reardon

While the end result may be the same for many language-learners, the motivation can be unique for every learner.

Below are three quotes that relate to three different situations I found myself in this past week.

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
Flora Lewis

While catching up with an old friend from high school and mentioning where I worked, I was excited to hear that he had not only heard of Mango Languages, but he was also starting to use it, thanks to Mango Military through the US coastguard! He shared his new goal to learn Spanish as a new dad and husband. It seemed random at first, as both him and his wife, and their families, all speak English. When I asked why, he told me that he wants to learn Spanish to be able to better communicate with the teachers at his son's daycare. It was great to see him making such an effort to ensure that communication was always clear for the well-being of his son, but it also was great to see that language-barriers don't have to push people apart, in fact in this situation, it is only bringing people closer!

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

A friend from Mexico who recently moved to the United States for work asked me if I knew any fun and easy ways to learn a new language (Mango Languages!) so that his girlfriend who is still in Mexico could start learning English. After telling him all about Mango Languages ;) I realized that he also had a unique motivation for learning a different language; his future! It was touching to see that he thought about his girlfriend's comfort and success as they contemplate their future together beyond their comfort zone and in a foreign country.

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."
-Nelson Mandela

Hitting a little closer to home, my Turkish boyfriend's parents, after hearing all about my new job at Mango Languages, wanted to know how and how fast they could start learning English. With my efforts to learn Turkish and their effort to learn English, I was excited at the prospect of us being able to communicate without needing a constant translator (the boyfriend :P). I was also touched that they were willing to take time and put an effort into learning a language in order to be able to talk to me and my family. It also made me realize how much it would mean to them and to my boyfriend for me to be able to speak to them in their native language. Without doubt, my Turkish-learning experience continues!

After talking to these friends and family, I realized how extremely happy and thankful I was for being able to be a part of their language-learning experience. In the end, everyone has a different motivation for learning a language. Maybe it is out of necessity, or out of thirst for knowledge, or maybe its for love. Whatever it may be, I hope you continue to find motivation and encouragement!

Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Rachel Reardon

Written by Rachel Reardon

Rachel works with some of the coolest marketers, designers, and writers around to help Mango look and sound its best. She loves bold colors, old books, the Montréal metro, and Star Trek. She has conflicting feelings about the Oxford comma.

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