Time to Learn

Image from: Prestige Network

Image from: Prestige Network

Right, I think it might be time to learn a new language.

During the entire length of my time in London, it has been common for me to work with a lot of Europeans.

I’ve come across lots of people from lots of different parts of the world, but as Europe is so close it has primarily been Europeans.

More recently, I’ve been travelling for work a fair bit, and spending a lot of time with said Europeans in the lead-up to the various meetings I’ve had. I can’t express how shameful it is to be surrounded by people who can not only speak two languages but more often than not, are mulit-lingual. Some people I’ve met have been able to fluently speak up to 6 languages. Although those were extreme cases, but it’s very common to meet people who speak 3-4!

On one such trip, I was in a full day of meetings with a bunch of Germans. 5 Germans, 1 Aussie. Which meant that, purely for my benefit, they had to all speak their SECOND language for the entire day. Something that for those less confident in their English, wouldn’t have been the easiest task. It was mortifying.

The week before I was surrounded by people who were fluent in Dutch and again, same scenario… although this time there were more just-English speakers in the room.

Aside: On the subject of learning languages, it never ceases to amaze me just how few Brits actually know a second, let alone third or fourth language. You’d think with Britain being so close to Europe (and part of the EU) that it would be more encouraged!

Image from: Your world here

Image from: Your world here

I’ve always talked about learning a new language, and even dabbled at a bit of Japanese in school but I have never fully put my mind to it and it really is about time.

The question is; which one? I’ve always quite liked the idea of learning French although I’ve heard it is quite hard, and perhaps something else, like Spanish, would be more useful.

Does anyone have any tips / suggestions / advice on which language and best way to go about it?


Image from: Tenerife-training.net


6 thoughts on “Time to Learn

  1. I understand where you’re coming from with this. As a Brit who’s been learning Spanish for a few years (although I’m pretty rusty due to my break for travelling), it’s that embarrassment at just how uneducated our country is when it comes to other languages that keeps me motivated.

    I’ve personally learnt the basics from a CD/coursebook combo. But nothing can obviously help you like speaking practice can.

    Good luck with whichever language you end up choosing! 🙂

  2. I think German might be useful considering who you are doing business with regularly at the moment – more useful than french or spanish. However, spanish might be good just because it is very similar to a lot of other languages – if you can become fluent in it, then you can pick up words and meanings in the other languages without having to learn them too. (That’s also fairly true of German, I think.)

    I have a friend who swears by Rosetta Stone products. He has become quite fluent in a couple languages using their programs, and while they are pricey (for me, anyway), I guess you get what you pay for with things like that. Ultimately, the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it. Make friends with mufti-lingual people and have them talk only on the language you are learning. That will help you pick it up exponentially faster.

    • @ Matt – yeh I think I should learn something that is a good base for other languages. Then I might be able to pick up others more quickly. It definitely is time though. No excuses anymore!! I’ll let you know which one I choose and maybe one day I’ll manage a post in a different language! 🙂

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