Remember Why You Started

Why Learn A Language?

In one of the assignments in my Add1Challenge (#A1C33) we were asked to write down or make a reminder in some way for why we wanted to learn this language.

This is a really good idea for all language learners – even if we know why we are doing something, to actually record in writing or pictures (or even movies if you are so inclined!) our WHY… what is motivating us to do something.

Because there are always days when we forget why, when things aren’t going as well as we would like… and on those days, we need a reminder!

There are of course specific reasons why I am currently learning French, but I also have many more reasons for wanting to learn languages in general, and trying to work out a single “one” is difficult.

Mostly it is the personal challenge. I always wanted to be a Polyglot, but it is a desire that was put on the back burner for the last 20 years, after learning my first 2 “foreign” languages (if you could call Auslan a “foreign” language!). I want to see how quickly I can learn, and push myself to learn faster than ever before.

Some languages I want to learn for a specific function.

My language learning choices for the next two years are being dominated by the fact I intend to attend a conference in Spain in 2020, and I have Deaf and hearing friends who will be attending who communicate in spoken French, Spanish and Catalan and/or the respective nation/groups Sign Languages, and I want to spend more time communicating with them in their native languages.

Sometimes I want to learn a spoken language because it will help me learn a signed language. Sometimes my motivation is to connect with my local immigrant friends more. And sometimes it is (has been) because I want to live (have lived) in another country.

I also have some desires for my future that will require me to be at least conversational, and in some cases at a very high level of written and spoken language, in order to achieve them.

I also learn languages because I can 🙂

It is my hobby. I enjoy the study and do not begrudge the time it takes to do. It makes me different from others – I have never been interested in being the same as other people, but I have also struggled to find something I can be good in and feel like I am achieving.

I am not a craftsy person, nor especially gifted in arts or music or acting… with languages I am not expected to “perform” my craft for others, it is all for me and my enjoyment, so there there no comparisons (well – not in the general public 🙂 )

I love learning about a community’s culture, and so I stay a while in a place – so learning the language has both function (helps me get around while I’m there), and also helps me learn about the culture.

But mostly, I love meeting others from different cultures and relating on their terms. I like to make communication easy. I am interested in different perspectives. And I have an inkling that in my future I may have even more purpose for communicating internationally, so I am motivated to continue.

Cate is a language enthusiast sharing her language learning journey here. Apart from her native English (albeit 'Strine'*!), as an adult she has also learned Auslan (Australian Sign Language) to approximately a C1 level, Dutch to around B1/2, French to around A2, and has a smattering of other languages.

B.A. (Anthropology/Marketing), Grad. Dip. Arts (Linguistics), Grad. Cert. Entrepreneurship & Venture Development, (CELTA).

Auslan Interpreter (NAATI), and general Language Nut.

*For more information on 'Strine', visit