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Learning a less common language? Chances are someone (or practically everyone) has asked you, completely bewildered, “Why on earth would you learn that language?” Here are a few replies you can choose from. Or, heck, send them all of these fine reasons to learn whatever language your heart desires:
1. I’m making gains with my brain.
Time spent learning a language, any language, is time well spent. Nobody would judge you for exercising your body, so why should they judge you for exercising your brain? There are countless cognitive benefits associated with bilingualism. One day all of those judgers will be jealous of your mental muscles.
2. I can speak to more people.
Who cares if the language is spoken by 40 million people or 4,000 people—learning another language opens up new lines of communication. That’s still 4,000 more people—and 4,000 more amazing lives, experiences, and stories—that you have access to, that your monolingual friends will miss out on.
3. I can add a “Language Skills” section on my resume.
Even if you won’t need that particular language for your position, employers look favorably upon bilinguals. And for jobs that do require that language that nobody on earth speaks? Well, you’re a shoe-in!
4. I can enjoy more music, books, and TV shows.
Sure, books have translations, TV shows have subtitles, and so on. But when you learn a new language, you open up a new world of literature, music, movies, and beyond. Chances are, if your language is really uncommon, you won’t find many translated versions, anyway. More for you to enjoy!
5. I know a super-secret code now.
Remember when you were a kid, and you devised a secret language with your best friend so you could get into all kinds of trouble without your parents knowing? Learning an uncommon language is kinda like that. Learn with your spouse or a friend and have private conversations in public! And if you do come across someone who speaks that language, you’ll have an instant connection with them.
6. My confidence is through the roof.
Yard work can be tough, and you don’t really have to do it, but don’t you just feel so good after you’ve finished? You get to look at your perfectly manicured lawn and pristine flowerbeds and feel great about yourself. The same feeling applies to learning a language, especially a less common language! It’s something you’re doing for you, and it’s one heck of an accomplishment.
7. I’m better prepared to learn a more “useful” language than you are.
The more languages you know, the easier it is to learn another. Learning a “useless” language now will leave you better prepared to learn other languages in the future, if you feel like it. Unlike your monolingual friends, who would be starting from scratch.
8. Because I freakin’ want to.
Because, really, what other reason do you need to learn a language?