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Anybody get frustrated that you aren't doing more with your chinese?


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On 7/27/2021 at 12:18 PM, NinKenDo said:

I'll just say this. While I'm sure I was eventually encounter one, I have not once received a negative response to letting someone know/someone finding out that I study Chinese. People are usually either mildly impressed, or very, very interested to know about it. I'm guessing the circles I mix in might be a little self-selecting sometimes, but I don't live in a bubble by any stretch. I'm honestly a little bemused about some of the stuff people are saying in this thread. I've never experienced anything like it.


Totally agree.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Maybe slightly off-topic, but relating to how changes in aims and objectives can cause frustration and dip in motivation...

I started studying 5 years ago and my main motivation was moving to China to live and work for a few years.

I have been studying quite continuously in this period of time with this objective in mind and have been to China a few times for visiting for short periods.


However due to how things are playing out in my life (work and responsibilities etc.) and in the world in general (Covid) the perspective of being able to move to China for extended periods of time seems to be more and more remote. 

Things are definitely different from what they were 5 years ago (for example if I once thought that giving up my career and teaching English could be an option, now I just wouldn't find it feasible, or a good idea anymore) and the main motivation that has been pushing me to study for all these years seems to be vanishing. 


I find reading in Chinese rewarding, and try to get interested in Chinese anime and tv series mainly for practice, but to be honest I haven't found any Chinese genre or form of entertainment that really attracts me for its own sake, or compares favorably with its English or say Japanese counterparts. 


So well there you have it, this is the first massive dip in motivation that I had in a very long time and I'm trying to understand whether it's a case of weathering past it towards some unknown (and possibly non existent) future reward, or to just use my time to do something else! 





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  • 2 weeks later...

I find it annoying to a certain extent. As others have noted I think it's partly due to outside pressure. Either people see it as useless, or more commonly in recent years, they assume it's a golden ticket to wealth and riches. My brother insists that I can get a job in translation or in any company because, and I quote, "I worked at an Anglo-French company and French speakers were in high demand and their French wasn't that good."


Bear in mind he doesn't speak French and has never learned a second language apart from at Secondary school. I think there's a kind of Dunning Kruger effect by proxy where he sees me being able to form full sentences and assumes I'm business fluent!


To dig a level deeper in your case though, I think it's partly because our late-stage capitalist society indoctinates us to believe that all "skills" must be put to use, preferably to our financial benefit, in order for them to be a worthwhile use of time. Any time that is not used "productively" is "wasted" and we are made to feel guilty about it. 

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The estimates seem to vary but between 60-75% of the people in the world speak at least two languages and even in the "infamous" US one in five people you encounter speaks something else at home other than English. So, hate to brake it to you but, learning a second language is nothing special. Only speaking one is!


I also think that emphasizing that you are "studying a language" is a little funny. As if you are working towards a goal, which you reach some day and then you're fluent, stop studying and are suddenly... what? A speaker of the language? But if you already manage what you need to do with the language to any degree, aren't you a user already, rather than "just" a student? When does that happen? When you can carry out a conversation with someone, with whom you only have that one common language? Or something else?


Then it also depends on what the subject is. For all intents and purposes I think I count as a fluent Japanese user after 10 years of study and another 10 years of using it every day at home, but then I found out that I could as well have been illiterate and mute when discussing visa requirements for the first time ever with an embassy some time ago. To be fair English didn't seem to help me either, even though my experience with it begins a decade before my Japanese.


I've felt the frustration of not using a language enough with each of my languages except maybe with my mother tongue, so I think it's just natural. But language ability is a response to requirements around you for that language (either imposed by the environment or self inflicted). To me frustration seems to surface when the requirements change or increase and thus suddenly I find my language prowess inadequate. The good news is that that's when your language abilities have a chance to do some adapting.

Maybe the other source of frustration is the feeling of losing the language due to inadequate use. In which case the only remedy is to go and find some more of the other type of frustration.


In the end there's a lot of frustration down this path. Ain't it great!

Maybe the 25-40% of the people who somehow managed to isolate themselves to only one language are onto something..

But then again, I guess I'll gladly balance between some frustration rather than limit myself like that!



Btw, I also have never encountered any negative reactions about learning a language. Can't imagine a person who would have such a reaction!

My choices haven't been mainstream, so there has been some teasing though.

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''How can anyone say that being able to communicate with everyone is something to be ashamed of? ?''


(manual quote as quoting seems to still not work on mobile)


It's great for society but robs the individual of a number of benefits

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