Since this blog went public in 2011, I’ve written about language and languages several times. I don’t remember writing about wishing I could speak a particular language, but I may have. However, in the last few decades, I’ve wondered if learning another language is worthwhile for the average person.
Take my Brazilian experience, for example. Beginning in 2014, I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil at least once a year to help two Christian ministries there. I immediately looked into learning at least some Portuguese but discovered my language-learning skills did not improve with age. Thankfully, the tech world came to my rescue through Google Translate.
Of course, the ministries with which I was working provided translators. Also, I learned many common terms such as thank you, please, I’m sorry, and the like. Some of the Brazilians the team and I worked with spoke English. Many others were as limited as I was in their language skills, but many also used Google Translate.
If I were planning on living in another country for any period of time, I would make the best effort possible to learn the language. If I were going to work with immigrants in the United States who spoke another language, I would again make the best effort I could to learn their language or dialect. Realistically, the only way I could become fluent in another language would be through immersion and necessity.
For that matter, if I became friends, neighbors, or coworkers with people whose primary language was not English, I would do my best to learn at least enough of their language to be polite and honor it and their heritage. Also, if I were doing research on or studying another country in depth, I would want to be able to read the primary language so I could read what their scholars and authors had written.
The foregoing is a long-winded way of saying I’m not the least interested in learning another language unless there is reason to learn it. I have a hard enough time staying up with the evolution of the English spoken in the United States. If you want to know more about why I say that, search my blog for posts concerning language.
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