I am a linguaphile. I am completely intrigued by languages. I love looking at the links between different languages, similarities and differences, language jokes and memes, and yes, I love learning languages.
What I am most definitely not: a talented polyglot.
There are many things that get in the way of learning languages properly, but they can mostly be summarised: I have a terribly short attention span, lose interest quickly, and have very little discipline. As a result I end up doing most things half-assed. Case in point: learning languages. I always envy polyglots who work at languages systematically and end up being very decent, if not fluent at them (although everyone has a different definition of fluency and that’s a topic for another time). Me? I’m decent at best, and at worst completely hopeless.
I want to learn all the languages and I want to be really, really good at them.
But at some point the reality of the situation dawned on me:
- You can never learn every language ever (and time is limited).
- Some languages will be easier than others.
- Some languages will be more interesting than others.
- Some languages will be more useful than others.
- #2, #3 and #4 are usually not the same language.
- You will regret not spending enough time on a language.
- You will regret dropping a language.
- You will regret not dropping a language.
9. You will not become fluent in all your languages, and it doesn’t matter.
Taking all of the above into account, I’m having a small (but continuous) existential crisis when it comes to languages. Where to go from here, what do I really want to achieve?
Do I want to spend more time on my semi-solid languages (German and Japanese)? Do I want to focus on my freshest newest language (Korean)? Do I want to revive something old and given-up-on (Mandarin, French)? Or do I want to start from the beginning (Russian)?
Or do I want to do it all at the same time? (Spoiler: yes.)
Oh man, life is too short.