If I was required to learn another language at another location for working purposes, I would do so quickly and without protest.
Most of this language knowledge has gone, as it was all learnt prior to adulthood. Though I retain the ability to count to 20 in all those languages. I also retained some basic random words like, ‘blanc’ or ‘watashi wa siren des. onamae wa’. Though nearly the entirity of these languages are gone. Out of the entire Japanese hiragana and katakana alphabets I can only remember the stroke patterns for about 5 characters and what they mean.
A good clip on English speakers learning foreign languages can be found here:
Pronunciation of characters and speaking style
Unique pronuncations of word clumping
Knowledge of the three alphabets and that if someone presents you a Kanji word that you don’t know, you can request they give it to you in Hiragana or Katakana in a lot of cases
Understanding of that even the “hardest to learn language for English speakers” is something I believe I could easily grasp with enough focus
I sought to teach myself German to begin with. This was actually harder than I prepared for. Not hard to learn German, but in a non-structured course it was very hard. Duolingo taught me a huge list of vocabulary. Though applying the correct sentence structure was heavily broken. Ich komme aus Australien, etc. These stock phrases are fine, but in original sentence building I struggle. Though I am able to discern basic items like baum for tree, tasche for bag, etc.
The similarity to English in a lot of cases makes it easier, such as wasser for water, rot for red, banane for banana, etc. I can also conduct common daily phrases like using tschuss and entschuldigung. Though I can’t sit and have a regular conversation, but can navigate the landscape okay. Eingang (entry) and Ausgang (exit) level of knowledge to not look like an idiot, if that makes sense.
I am not saying that a structured course is needed. What I learnt through watching quite a few polyglot videos, learning about some concepts and techniques, and listening to my students experiences learning English from all over the world, is that for each language learner it is uniquely different. You must cater your learning to you
A good video to watch on the subject is:
This is due to my inbuilt desire to learn languages but my understanding of how easy they are to fundamentally lose without practice dissuades me. I like learning languages for leisure and they were the classes in which I achieved top grades for during schooling, in comparison to other subjects which I was less passionate about and just was happy to achieve acceptable scores. Though, the idea of dumping 600-2200 hours into learning something that I may lose over a minor time of non-use is hard for me to justify in terms of evaluated usefulness. If it was required for a professional role, or for living arrangements, I would see that as justification.
In later life, I will likely decide to be a polyglot and learn about 5-10 languages to fluency. Though for now, learning the basics across a few is enough to satisfy my appetite.
If I had to add archaic languages, I’d add Sanskrit and Sumerian. Though they would likely be harder to find a teacher for later repetitive practicing with.
The pro to this is being able to read peer-reviewed journals in multiple languages, and have a wider social circle. The con is that when people speak in other languages around me I won’t be given that temporary ease of mind that I don’t have to listen. This happened to me often in Australia, when people on the train would be talking loudly in another language and I could just pretend they weren’t talking because I didn’t understand their language. I appreciated it.
Meaning officials such as police and hospitals are likely to have someone on staff who speaks English, their may be signs available in English, etc.
(c) 2021 Siren Watcher