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What makes you learn a minority language?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
35 messages over 5 pages: 1 2 3 4 5  Next >>
BelgoHead
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 4172 days ago

120 posts - 119 votes 
Studies: French, English*
Studies: Esperanto

 
 Message 1 of 35
26 August 2007 at 4:34am | IP Logged 
I've been on thise site for a bit and i have noticed that lots of people around here learn "minority" languages like croation, Serbian and Danish, shall i go on?

Well what motivate's you to learn these languages when you could derive more beneifit from learning a more widely known languages like Russian in Eastern europe and French,English,German in western Europe.

Like those of you who speak danish i can't help but wonder why. I was listening to Radio Netherlands (english) and they where talking about the possibility of Danish becoming the language of the Home and english becoming the language of school and business (like in gibraltar)

So back to my original point why do you learn a minority language when you could learn a language like russian and "kill two birds with one stone"?

By the way im learning russian :)
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lady_skywalker
Triglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
aspiringpolyglotblog
Joined 4759 days ago

909 posts - 942 votes 
Speaks: Spanish, English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, French, Dutch, Italian

 
 Message 2 of 35
26 August 2007 at 4:53am | IP Logged 
I suppose Dutch could be considered a 'minority' language if you compare it with Russian, English or Spanish as it is a language that relatively few people study and it has fewer native speakers than the aforementioned languages.

Having said that, Dutch, like Danish and Croatian, is NOT a minority language in the country it's spoken in so it wouldn't really be surprising if someone learns the language for travel reasons...or because they happen to live there. I would NEVER have considered learning Dutch if I hadn't moved to the Netherlands, although I'm sure some people would learn Dutch purely out of interest.

I think people learn minority languages either because it's part of their heritage, live in an area where the language is spoken or simply have an interest in the language or culture. I would love to learn Tibetan or Georgian in future as I have an interest in their culture and history but a lack of resources (and time) have prevented me from doing so yet.
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BelgoHead
Senior Member
Belgium
Joined 4172 days ago

120 posts - 119 votes 
Studies: French, English*
Studies: Esperanto

 
 Message 3 of 35
26 August 2007 at 4:58am | IP Logged 
"I would NEVER have considered learning Dutch if I hadn't moved to the Netherlands"

But really Dutch isn't "very neccesary" in the Netherlands. I know a Polish person who only speaks there native language and english and that person gets along fine over there without Dutch.

Also i know A German who speaks only Deutsch and English and he lives in the UAE and he has no use for arabic...

Im not sure but do you get a feeling from the Netherland's and also Denmark i dare say that you don't have an incentive to learn the language because of the high number of English/French speakers?
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ZanyHermit
Bilingual Tetraglot
Newbie
Belgium
Joined 4185 days ago

8 posts - 8 votes
Speaks: Dutch*, Flemish*, English, Mandarin
Studies: Indonesian

 
 Message 4 of 35
26 August 2007 at 6:19am | IP Logged 
Even in a country like the Netherlands where a large portion of the population speaks English, you will never really fit in with the local people until you know their language. There will be plenty of occasions where they will be speaking amongst each other in their own language, simply because it feels more comfortable, or because of an inside joke, or maybe because they want to keep something from you. All the more so when you live an a country like the UAE, where I suspect your German friend mostly hangs out with other expats and only deals with locals when he has to.
When you do move to a new country, learning the language is a must if you really want to be integrated.
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lady_skywalker
Triglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
aspiringpolyglotblog
Joined 4759 days ago

909 posts - 942 votes 
Speaks: Spanish, English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, French, Dutch, Italian

 
 Message 5 of 35
26 August 2007 at 7:47am | IP Logged 
BelgoHead wrote:
"I would NEVER have considered learning Dutch if I hadn't moved to the Netherlands"

But really Dutch isn't "very neccesary" in the Netherlands. I know a Polish person who only speaks there native language and english and that person gets along fine over there without Dutch.


If this Polish person doesn't have a Dutch boyfriend whose parents seem to be the only people in the country who never learnt English, then I'd suspect that he or she would have nothing to worry about. People who move to the Netherlands for a job rather than a partner can get along perfectly well without learning Dutch. They can always choose to hang out with other expats and not worry about whether they'd offend their partners' families by not speaking a word of Dutch.

Sadly, I have had more than enough arguments with my boyfriend's parents who felt it was a bad thing that I wasn't fluent in Dutch after just 2 months of living in the Netherlands. I have also had a lot of people saying that I MUST learn Dutch and will often get ignored at parties and family gatherings because my Dutch is not perfect. They won't use English to communicate with me and yet will not listen when I try my best to speak in Dutch....

With regards to the workplace, you *can* find a job that doesn't require fluent Dutch but these jobs are mostly restricted to call centre and similar jobs. Even in companies where English is the official language of business, you'll still have plenty of Dutch colleagues who will prefer not to speak English unless absolutely necessary and who will not really make the effort to socialise with you if your Dutch is not up to scratch (although this is quite understandable, really).

I have had a few meetings at work recently which were conducted in Dutch as I was the only non-Dutch staff member there. This might be due to the fact that they all know I know enough of the language to cope with a meeting. So even if the company language is English, that is no guarantee that you will hear nothing but English all day (I think I hear more Dutch than English at my company).

So basically learning Dutch is essential for me, if only to keep my boyfriend's family and other busy-bodies off my back. I'd gladly drop Dutch from my language learning if I had the chance but I know that if I ever want to feel at home here or broaden my career prospects, Dutch is a necessity.

PS. Not all Dutch people speak English. I come across plenty of people every day who have trouble stringing a simple sentence together. Given that English is not the official language of the Netherlands, I can totally understand and respect this. I just don't understand why the media and the Dutch themselves portray the Netherlands as an English-speaking haven when it most certainly isn't.
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el topo
Diglot
Groupie
Belgium
Joined 4629 days ago

66 posts - 71 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: Dutch

 
 Message 6 of 35
26 August 2007 at 8:00am | IP Logged 
Quote:
But really Dutch isn't "very neccesary" in the Netherlands.


If you are a student in the Netherlands or Flanders, you can easily survive without Dutch. But just try looking for a job and you'll find out that outside universities, IT sector and multinational companies being fluent in Dutch is an absolute must. And as ZanyHermit already said, you'll never get fully integrated without speaking the local language.
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glossa.passion
Triglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4190 days ago

267 posts - 348 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: German*, EnglishC1, Danish
Studies: Spanish, Dutch

 
 Message 7 of 35
26 August 2007 at 8:09am | IP Logged 
As a foreign language enthusiast I need no practical reason for studying a language - although others might have. Four weeks ago I started with Danish and not only because I'll travel to Denmark next year. It's the pure interest and if there is some real practice possible, then it's all the better :-)

And it's not only the language - I will also read books about the history, watch Danish movies, listen to Danish radio - just do various things to get to know as much as I like about the Danish culture. It's part of my own lifelong education. I do indulge in stuff like this.

I just love it!!! Who can give reasons for what someone loves or not?


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lady_skywalker
Triglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
aspiringpolyglotblog
Joined 4759 days ago

909 posts - 942 votes 
Speaks: Spanish, English*, Mandarin
Studies: Japanese, French, Dutch, Italian

 
 Message 8 of 35
26 August 2007 at 8:33am | IP Logged 
glossa.passion wrote:
As a foreign language enthusiast I need no practical reason for studying a language - although others might have. Four weeks ago I started with Danish and not only because I'll travel to Denmark next year. It's the pure interest and if there is some real practice possible, then it's all the better :-)

And it's not only the language - I will also read books about the history, watch Danish movies, listen to Danish radio - just do various things to get to know as much as I like about the Danish culture. It's part of my own lifelong education. I do indulge in stuff like this.

I just love it!!! Who can give reasons for what someone loves or not?



I couldn't agree with you more. Everyone has their passion, be it Danish, extreme sports or birdwatching. :)


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