My Honest Assessment of What I Really Want Out of Language Learning

I have found that recently I have been pressuring myself to do things that I did not want to do, just because it would “improve” my Korean and German. Because of the fact that outside of pure pleasure, both of those languages are useless to me, I failed to do any of the things in which I told my self I “should” be doing. To be honest, for the past few weeks I have done close to nothing in either language due to this. From the moment I realised this, I knew I had to re-evaluate WHY I am learning Korean and German, especially Korean. Despite this fact, I have not been able to come to a conclusion until this evening in the form of a dialogue(almost like a self interview) that went something like this:
– First of all, before we address this issue, what EXACTLY do you like to do?
– I like sewing, reading, writing, researching things that I find interesting—
– Exactly! You do research on topics of interest to you. In the same respect, that is why you are learning not one, but two foreign languages at the moment. As of late, you have been doing a lot of research on Quantum Science, and Philosophy, but you are not an expert, nor do you possess a concious will to be one. You simply learn as you go, to satisfy your curiosity. If given the opportunity right now, at this very moment, you would continue this search, would you not? If one day you had no desire to do so, however, you would move on, is that not true?
– Yeah…
– This is what we have forgotten. This is why we have temporarily abandoned the study. It is not a nessesity, and it has grown to become a burden. However, our efforts can be salvaged, only if we rid ourselves of the leech-like mentality of “you should do this-and-that!” I can not recall not one instance in which you have muttered such words while reading up about the Theory of Relativity or Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. And while you have not become an absolute expert on either subject matter, you understand all of the key points, and would be able to explain both to someone else comprehensibly. If you will to, you can of course improve your understanding of both and become an expert “by accident.” If you ever become an expert in Korean, German or any other language—as it stands now—it will have to be “by accident,” or you are sure to fail.

I know, I have some explaining to do, but let me start with the pronouns used in that excerpt from my thoughts. Before you make any type of assumptions, I am not, and have not gone crazy. I have no shame in admitting that in my head I refer to myself as “you, I, we,” and sometimes even “she” and “they”(I only use these last two when referring to certain points in my life where I was a totally different person from who I am now, which is pretty rare). This is what happens when you grow up watching fantasy movies where you think you, too, have powers. I only still do it for a few reasons, it makes things sound more urgent(I am more likely to break a promise to “I,” than a promise to “you” or “we”. It’s not because I don’t respect myself. It’s almost like how you would probably be more careful when saying certain things around your new boss than you would around your family or someone you’ve known your entire life), it helps me bring out my “stock answers”(Answers to questions like “what do you like to do” don’t come as naturally to me as it does to others, because I tend to over looks a lot of things, so doing this helps to keep them fresh and it helps me rediscover things I had thought was previously “too simple”), and it just helps things flow better.
—Ramble Over—
Okay, so now that you don’t think I’m completely crazy, let’s get back to language learning. From that I got a few things. Number 1 is that I am learning for the sole purpose of entertainment. Number 2 is that I have to stop saying “I should” and start saying “I want,” and “I wonder” again. Number 3 is to ONLY try to meet the demands of my interests, or lack thereof, whether it means that I want to try something above my level, or move on to something new, in some cases this may mean an entirely new language(I would never fully abandon Korean though, I would just go into “maintain mode” where I only read webtoons that I like and occasionally watch a drama).

I am fully aware of how obvious all of this sounds, but they are so easy to forget and it helps to write it down somewhere. This is why I’m glad I made a blog, so I have somewhere to write down my thoughts that loosely revolve around language learning. Afterall, it is the only type of “self-notetaking” I have ever stuck to and continued to fall back on.

One thought on “My Honest Assessment of What I Really Want Out of Language Learning

  1. A nice analysis, doing research on what you love and find interesting is a great idea to develop your language skills and learning. I’m still hoping to be able to communicate and develop my speaking skills in Japanese and Korean. One of the things I’ve realised is that I have trouble speaking out and I need to do it more in all three languages confidently.

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