Steve and Alex discuss the importance of motivation in learning a language, and how forcing people to learn a language often breeds poor results.
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Steve: Good. Yeah, it’s time to have another podcast. You know, one subject that comes up and we’re both, obviously, interested in languages and learning languages and many of the people who listen to this podcast, by definition, they’re interested in learning languages, whether it be English or some other language. There was a discussion on our forum about what are your motivations. Actually, one of our LingQ members from China said what is your motivation for learning Chinese and then there was a discussion about motivation and so forth.
Of course, most often you hear you should learn Chinese because you should. It’s a bit like in Canada you should learn French and, of course, because in Canada we should learn French, in fact, very few people learn French because you should learn French. So, now, it’s you should learn Chinese because the economy is growing and you might get a job. Does that really work, you should learn?
Alex: My experience has been the exact opposite. Whereas, when I was in elementary school I was in Canada and we had French, obviously, mandatory French lessons. When I was in grade seven I moved to the United States and I guess grade seven and eight I didn’t do any language study. When I hit grade nine — high school — then there was the option to take either French or Spanish. So I thought well, I already have some background in French and I have to take a language anyway so I’ll just take French. I’ll say, quite honestly, at that point I really had about zero interest in French. It was just to kind of fill that requirement.