Transparent Language Blog

10 Problems Only a Language Lover Will Understand Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in Archived Posts

We language lovers need to stick together, because once the language bug bites, nobody understands your struggles (or your triumphs!) quite like the language-learning community. Here are 10 situations that only your language loving friends will truly understand. Have you experienced any of these situations?

1. When you procrastinate studying a language… by studying another one.
Because there’s no rest for the wicked, or for the language lovers.

2. When you encounter people having a conversation in a foreign language, you stalk them covertly until you can figure out what it is.
You’re not doing anything wrong… unless you get caught.

3. When people discover you speak another language and they ask you to “just say something”.
Love it or hate it, you better think of something clever to teach these people.

4. When you’ve spent so long studying languages that you can no longer recall a word in your native language.
Better start carrying around a pocket dictionary… in your native language.

5. When someone asks you why you’re learning that language, as if it’s impossible just to learn a language for fun.
Tired of the language haters? Send them this!

6. When someone uses the “everyone speaks English” argument.
There will never be enough hands to perform an adequate facepalm in response to that statement.

7. When people talk about you in a foreign language assuming you don’t speak it… but you do.
You know what they say about people who assume…

8. When you begin parler en multiple idiomas at the same tiempo.
Learning sign language may come in handy for those times when your tongue is too twisted.

9. When you recognize all of the individual words in the sentence you’re reading, but put together they make no sense.
Whatever you do, do NOT rely on Google Translate in these situations.

10. When all you can think about is which language you’ll learn next, even though you can’t keep up with the languages you’ve already learned.
Because really, once you pop, the fun don’t stop!


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About the Author: meaghan

Meaghan is the Marketing Communications Manager at Transparent Language. She speaks enough French and Spanish to survive, and remembers enough Hausa to say "Hello my name is Meaghan, I'm studying Hausa." (But sadly that's it).


  1. Marsha C:

    So true – really enjoyed the content. Too many gifs (but theya re pretty silly, too). I must admit I am guilty of…every…single…one…Sigh…

  2. Marsha C:

    Hausa – were you in Niger?

    • meaghan:

      @Marsha C Yes! Way back in 2009 I spent a semester abroad in Niger. Not your typical study abroad, huh? 🙂

  3. bizzle:

    8. Your*

    • meaghan:

      @bizzle Busted! Thanks for the correction. 🙂

  4. oktypok:

    Actually, the advice to learn sign language is a little misleading. Each natural language has its own sign language counterpart, so just like your tongue can get dissy, so can your hands – sign languages do differ as well.

    • meaghan:

      @oktypok Ah, yes, touché! Very good point that I didn’t consider while trying ever so hard to be witty. 🙂

    • Maria:

      @oktypok It is not true that each natural language has its own sign language counterpart, e.g. the main spoken languages in Spain are Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Basque; however, there are only two sign languages, Spanish Sign Language and Catalan Sign Language.

    • Shan:

      @oktypok Not only that but it varies country to country. Australian sign language is completely different to US sign language, for example.

  5. Mats Erik:

    I constantly read B as V, H as N, U as Y etc.. yes, I’m learning russian hehe.

    #9 I’m very familiar with, and also being familiar with the word, but not remembering what it means! For me, this goes especially for russian words. arghh 🙂

  6. pmdeltoro:

    Trevligt post saying todas las verdades about people que älskar los språk… 😉

  7. Libby:

    Truth! And I actually journal in all the different languages I know so no one can decipher it… Mwahahahahah 🙂

    • Mache:

      @Libby Haha, unless one of us comes around….. Then we’ll know all your secrets 😉

  8. Maegen Fariss:

    or when sentences in your native language sometimes have the grammatical word order of the new language you are learning…

  9. Lingholic:

    Awesome post Meaghan, truly hilarious! Will definitely share this one with my readers 🙂

  10. Michael Ellis:

    Great article, Meaghan. We’ll share it with our Language community on Google+. Mike

  11. Yannis Haralambous:

    Κι ἄσε πιὰ τί γίνεται ὅταν μπλέκονται τὰ ἀλφάβητα μεταξύ τους…

  12. Saïd:

    Ah the chills of excited guilt.

  13. Nicolas:

    damn I didn’t read again to check the mistakes 😛
    *And my personal biggest problem of them all about my love to languages : You want to learn them all, and you want to speak them the soonest possible… but you don’t know with which on to start, and you get frustrated not being able to speak at least some of them already!!!!!

  14. louise:

    You didn’t mention the one about knowing the answer to a crossword clue but in the wrong language and being frustrated it doesn’t fit.

  15. Malachi Rempen:

    I love these. I’m going to steal some for Itchy Feet! I’m constantly stopping and stalking people around public places until I can figure out what language they’re speaking, much to the irritation of whoever I’m with.

    Me: “It sounds like Dutch…Danish maybe? Could be Scandinavian, now that I’m listening closely-”
    My friend: “WHO CARES”

  16. Andy:

    The biggest frustration is when I mix up the Chinese and English grammar. I write in English using Chinese grammar and I write in Chinese using English grammar

  17. Donniexpat:

    Word !

  18. La traductora compulsiva:

    Number 8 is hilarious!

  19. Kelly:

    Wow, I didn’t know there were others out there like me!! Good to know 🙂

  20. Christine:

    Story of my life! Glad to see how many others there are

  21. Alana – eSpectacularKids:

    I can certainly agree with number 8… Spanglish has become mi segundo idioma 🙂 Glad to see language loving is widespread!

  22. javi:

    You understand me do well. At last I ferl understood.

  23. Aadit:

    The eight un fue the best. Me gusta parler en various langues!

  24. Olga:

    Ha ha, this is really true. I also liked the 8th! It happens very often to me. Great article!

  25. NocyMrok:

    AD. no 4.

    NEVER! I love and respect my native language!

    AD. no 7.

    Happens quite often.

    AD. no 8.

    Actually it’s the other way around and it’s like that everytime when i see an effort of someone of non-slavic origin trying to get a grasp on my native language (Polish). Gotta love those declensions, genders and seven cases in Polish, huh? ;)))

  26. Σερβαν:

    I’ve experienced almost all of them… Languages rule!

  27. John – SpeakLikenNative:

    Haha, Totally love number 5 :D. It always happens to me. Like what? You are learning languages just for fun?

    And also number 9 is true. Sometimes I need to read a sentence for several times until I get the right meaning :).

  28. Eduardo Araújo:

    I’m learning esperanto,and everyone says that “why esperanto if english exists?”

  29. homa polyglot:

    lol so true

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