Why You Can Learn Many Languages in Your Life


One thing that I have learned by making courses for a lot of different languages was that I can learn them all (a bit). So can you.

When I was little, I thought I would speak several languages as a grown up. I never remember dreaming exactly about knowing a lot of them but I can remember that I was thinking I would later speak Lithuanian, English, German, Russian, French, Spanish… and that would be good to go. At that time I already knew Lithuanian since it was my native language so I already had one down. I didn’t ever think when I would learn it or how, I would just think that I would do it later.

Then later didn’t come. I think that for most people later never comes.

I grew into adolescence and I didn’t know any of these languages (save for some English). Then I started learning Esperanto and it kind of developed itself from there.

At this point I still couldn’t say I know these languages well. However, if needed, I can communicate in all of them. I know some extra languages now too (like Portuguese). Then, I was making courses in different languages like Estonian, Basque or Afrikaans and I realized that there is no language that I could not learn. Of course, it would be extremely hard for me to learn those languages fluently, however, since language knowledge is acquired with diminishing returns (it takes you little time to learn the first most-used 20% of the language while it takes you a couple times that to learn the next 20%: just like in most other subjects), I could at least get acquainted to all these languages. Sure, I would not be able to become fluent in them or speak them (I could if I wanted to but it would take me too much time to do it for all of them), but I could pick some things up here and there. Or perhaps even have a “where are you from?” type of a conversation with some native speakers. I could have a feel for what those languages are like and, more importantly, if I ever were to need to learn any of those languages, I would have a nice head start as compared to other people. I also try to learn other things apart from languages and I have already told you how.

Look at it this way: you only have one life. Have you ever wanted to learn something, see something, experience something? Well, this is it. This is the only chance you have got. You can just sit around thinking that you cannot do it or you can go and do it.

I had already come to this conclusion when I was reading one topic on reddit called something along the lines of “what is a quote that has changed your life?” where one guy shared a quote from a big book that he had found otherwise boring and uninformative. The quote was something like this:

Be glad when you find something that you do not understand in a book because that is the only opportunity you have to learn something new.

The guy said that from that point on he began looking into seemingly difficult things like Physics or technical sciences in a different light.

Time isn’t an issue either. You have 24 hours a day. Are you reading this? Fine then, you could be learning Swahili instead! In the worst case scenario, you can sleep less (however if that’s really how you spend your time ask yourself if you really want to be spending it like this?)

Both skill and time are here for you. If somebody else has comprehended it so can you. If somebody else can find the time so can you.

That is a really important. Ask yourself: if you lived a perfect life, do you think you would need to have introduced yourself to most of the sciences (and a big number of the languages) in the world?

Well, you might or might not live a perfect life but there is nothing stopping you from still doing it…

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