You have to go back to what kind of motivations anyone has to learn a new language to answer this question. Most people learn a new language because they have to. There are those who learn another language thinking it will bring them a higher salary. Some learn a new language because they are interested in serving a particular group of people. Still, others just like language. Love is also a reason. All five of these are reasons people learn languages, but necessity usually wins out at the most popular reason.
If you live in one of these countries where there are several languages spoken, you are more likely to learn another language than anyone else. In Nigeria, to go to school, you must speak English. They learn their tribal language at home, but school is extremely important in life, so they also learn English. Some learn the trade language in the area where they live also, but probably less and less people are learning it since they can rely on English. In India, the only way they can speak to everyone in the country is through English, but again, English is not their first languages. There are many first languages in India like in Nigeria. People are compelled to learn another language in countries where everyone who lives in another town, state, or village speak another language. In Romania, the people who are born into German, Hungarian,, and gypsy families don’t speak Romanian as their first language. For them to get along in Romania, though, they all have to learn to speak Romanian. These people all learn out os necessity to communicate with their neighbors.
Beyond being born into the circumstances where it is hard to get along in life without knowing a second language is not the only time that learning another language is a necessity. When students decide to study in another country like an exchange student, they are put into the homes of people who usually don’t speak their language, If you are surrounded by people who speak another language other than your first language, you will learn their language to speak to them. Most people don’t learn another language unless they feel forced. As for English speakers, Americans, British, Australians, and some of the other countries where English is spoken as their first language, they don’t feel forced into speaking anything except English, so they don’t. They all know that when they travel, people other countries will have studied English and work at speaking to them in English. I learned very early in life that you could go to any country in the world and find someone who speaks English. Until recently when so many Hispanics have come into America, most Americans have gone their whole lives and never met anyone who doesn’t speak English. They actually think you have to eb really intelligent to learn a second language.
Economic advantage is another reason that people learn languages. The S. Koreans all try learn to speak English as a second language because they say they know they are a small country and no one will learn to speak Korean. If they want to do business with other countries, travel on vacation, or do mission work, they all think English is the key to communicating with the outside world. S. Korea considers its people as its most important natural resource. They do business with other countries, and they do it in English.
Romanians also learn other languages for economic advantage. They learn more than English. They try to study everyone’s language. They are a language people. They travel to other countries to work, and then they go home. Often, the savings from the salary they earned in six months in another country will keep them a year or two in Romania. It is to their economic advantage to learn the other languages. They also study other languages for their factories to do business with other countries.
In America, some people study Spanish thinking that they will get hired before the others if they can speak Spanish. There are employers who will hire a bi-lingual person before they hire someone who only speaks one language in America. If Americans learn foreign languages, they are looked up to and can get a good job, either that, or the employers will shy away from them thinking that they will want more money. They also do it to people who have more degrees sometimes. American employers don’t want to pay for that education when they think that their employee needs to be trained specifically by them for the job they need done. However, the degrees can get you a job too. When I was in college, I applied to be a secretary,. There was another girl who applied for the same job. The employer said they chose me because I was a college student and the other had only finished high school and hadn’t been to colege at all. As far as language, in America, speaking a foreign language, if it is the right foreign language, can get you a good job. If you are an American citizen who is fluent in both English and Korean, you can be paid $100,000 a year by the Department of Defense. I have also been told that they pay a lot of money to Americans who speak Arabic. Spanish may help you get a job, but if you are bi-lingual with English and Spanish in America, it doesn’t pay as much as some of the other languages. I have also learned they are more likely to hire someone from Mexico who speak English than an American who speaks Spanish, probably because they think Americans aren’t good at language.
As I said, some Koreans study English because they want to be missionaries. If you go to school in America to become a missionary, they teach you that you must at least try to study the language where you are going. If they people see you studying their language, they will know that you care and want to be friends. You will have more opportunities to help people if you put an effort out, and they think you care. The Hispanics here in Del City have taken me in with both arms and even invited me to teach their Spanish speaking ladies’ Bible class because they love the fact that I can speak to them in Spanish and understand when they speak. There are many in the church who are capable of teaching, but not all of them are invited to teach the hispanic ladies’ Bible class. However I cared enough to try to learn to speak to them, and they appreciate my effort. When we were in Romania, my husband didn’t learn to speak Romanian. I learned to speak Romanian and translated for everyone. When the church became legal, the government wanted a president and a vice president. They made a Romanian president, and they made me vice president. They appreciated all the effort I put into trying to speak to them and help them however I could. You can help a whole lot more if you can speak the language where you live. However, not many people put for the effort to learn the language. In Nigeria, I got better deals at the market place because I was bargaining in Hausa rather than in English.. They listened to me because I cared enough to study Hausa. I could just continue, but if you take the time to care, the pepe you are trying to speak to also care and resp9ond how you would wish they do, Not many people go as missionaries, and after that, many missionaries don’t seem to care enough to speak to people in their first language when it is easier to speak in English. There are missionaries in s. Korea who have been there for years and years who still don’t tech their lessons in Korean. Some of them were having a hard time figuring out why everyone wanted to come to my Bible classes. I learned to speak to the people in Korean. People who truly care learn the language, and the people know that. I gave reading lessons in Romanian to village children in Romanian who couldn’t speak English. You can do so much more for people if you can speak to them in their first language. However, many people are paid to travel in Romania to preach, and they have to find translators.
As an American, I haven’t always had someone to speak one of my languages to. There are those who study language just because they like language. However, I know we are in a minority, I love the way a foreign language feels as it peels off my tongue. I love speaking to others in their language. Early in my life, language because my hobby even before it was my job In America, people often consider foreign language useless because there is no one around to speak a foreign language to. They have a utilitarian view of language. However, there are those of us who just enjoy speaking in foreign languages. We are a smaller percentage than probably any other group. I saw where someone said that learning language was just boring and not interesting at all. If you have never learned to speak a foreign language, you really don’t know how much fun it can be. It is hard to begin studying and have to hit so many vocabulary words and grammar contractions before you can actually even being trying to speak. What people don’t think abut is that everything is hard before it gets easy. If they don’t’ have to learn a foreign language and never have, they are not ready for that initial working at it. I always considered language like a fun puzzle, but not everyone feels that way. It would be nice if we could all just snap our fingers and automatically speak a foreign language, but that only happens if you learn two languages at once while you are extremely small. Most adults forget how to do it and begin to feel like learning another language is useless.
Another reason people learn a foreign language is because they have fallen in love. If two people who have different first languages fall in love, they have to speak to one another. If you have a friend you want to have as a girlfriend or a boyfriend, you are more likely to study their language. There was a Korean girl who kept trying to hold my son’s hand. He thought she was pretty and sweet, but didn’t see any reason to pursue her because he couldn’t speak Korean and she couldn’t speak English. If one or both of them cared enough, they would have studied the other’s language. In Korea, if they want to marry a foreigner, there must be proof that the two can speak to one another to get a marriage visa. You really can’t love someone you can’t understand.. I have heard it said so many times that the quickest way to learn a language is to get a girlfriend or a boyfriend who speaks that language. They will give you all the practice you need and teach you lots of vocabulary because they care enough to talk to you.
If people who lived in one of the countries where they are compelled to learn to speak another language to get along were not compelled and could get by with their first language, there is no doubt they would. If people can make a higher salary without studying a foreign language, they do. Language is just not something that everyone is going to dive into and want to do. However, once you have learned one second language, you have learned how to speak as well as learned the joy of speaking in another language. You will be more likely to go ahead and try another language if you have already conquered one foreign language. You learn new ways of thinking, new vocabulary, and new grammar with every language you learn. This means that you are more equipped to understand if you want to jump from two to three language than the person who only speaks one language. Many native English speakers feel no need or even joy in learning a foreign language. In America, they go to school to get the job they want, and America is big enough that they can get a good paying job without speaking a foreign language. If they don’t meet people who speak foreign languages, they don’t bother studying. If others will do the studying for Americans, Englishmen, Australians, etc. and learn to speak English in all these other countries, many of these don’t have a big enough heart to care about learning to speak to others in their first language. As for me, my daughter keeps saying to me that she thinks I speak so many languages because I am much more empathetic than most people. I understand that native English speakers don’t normally bother with languages of other people. However, I feel like it is not quite fair to ask everyone else to learn to speak English and those of us who speak English as a first language don’t even try to speak to them in their first language. However, I understand why they don’t’ bother too. No one can force other people into learning their language.. There must be motivation inside the person to learn a language.