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What can we do with languages we have learned or are learning?

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  • What can we do with languages we have learned or are learning?

    I posted it earlier on Facebook, but got no answers

    Now I revised the list, made it a little longer. Hope you'll name other things for me - something I still have missed.

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    So, what can we do with the languages we have learnt or are learning? The most common answer to this is, “we can speak them, of course”. But that, from my point of view, is a very extrovert reply, and I happen to be an introvert. To me, speaking is just one of the many activities, and never the most important one. So I have tried to create a list of various activities, which, apart from speaking, are possible, and I hope no one thinks they are less valid.
    • Reading. This includes everything from road signs to books of fiction, and everything in between. It can be articles in Wikipedia on the topic that you like, for example. Or the fresh news published on paper or online. Polyglots talk about extensive reading, intensive reading, bilingual reading, and all these are extremely helpful language learning techniques, and at the same time they are really enjoyable to those who are born bookworms.
    • Writing. The urge to write comes naturally when you have read enough to start hearing the language inside you. Once again, it can be anything from an email to a little piece of fiction or even poetry. A lot of people blog in their target language, and do it well. Or you could do it professionally for a living.
    • Participating in online forums. That’s sort of a combination of the above two activities, and also a funny and eye-opening experience. How about becoming a moderator or even starting such a forum and being its admin?
    • Social networking - very similar to forums, but the format is slightly different. We make friends this way, too.
    • Error recognition. When we talk about the four main language-related skills, such as reading, writing, speaking and listening, we often forget about the fifth skill - recognizing errors in someone else’s writing. Yet it is a skill, and it can come in handy in life becoming part of your profession. Forums and social networks offer (sadly) a lot of opportunities to develop it.
    • Listening to your favourite songs. Enjoyable, easy, doesn’t require any extra time - you can combine it with any other activity - and naturally leading to the next activity, which is…
    • Singing. Together with your favourite record or alone, aloud or sottovoce, it is too funny to miss out on. Also, it helps you with building the so-called “language core” tremendously, and it’s nearly impossible to forget a song you love.
    • Blogging - well, I already mentioned it above. This one can be monetized too, though targeted advertising, if you care enough to promote your blog.
    • Speaking about promotion, SEO, for example, is one of the things connected very tightly with the language, and yes, you can do it in languages other than your mother tongue.
    • Texting with your friends - voice calls aren’t always possible, and can be torture when the Internet connection is not good enough, but nothing can prevent you from texting through Skype or any other such software, short of complete absence of the Internet.
    • Teaching others.
    • Interpreting/translating (the last two items are actually useful to you, since they bring you money).
    • Watching films or TV series, alone or with the family.
    • Using languages we have learned well as base languages while learning new ones, e.g. for bilingual reading, communicating with tutors (who might not know our native language) or when using some online translation tools (which are known to handle some languages better than others).


    I've done it all. What do you do with the languages you are learning or have learned?

  • #2
    I think the only thing that's missing here and I can add is "seeking foreign partners and collaborators" the one I'm currently doing, and I'm so thankful I decided to study English on my own when I was just 16 (since the one taught in school is useless).Of course I do many others: reading, speaking, seo...actually the only one I'm not doing is the last, for lack of time, but i did in the past: Spanish as base language for Portuguese.
    https://www.lingostan.com

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    • #3
      The main reason for me is to speak with, write to friends and read their replies. But mostly for holidays.
      I must tell you of one multilingual experience I had. I was in Czechoslovakia (as it was at the time) visiting a castle. There was no English guided tour, and my knowledge of Czech was literally a few words - you know, "hello", "thank you", etc. - so I opted for the German language tour. The guide explained that one of the rooms (the most important one) wasn't open because of a special event - a graduation I think. A lady standing near me asked in French if I spoke French - "Oui madame". She then asked what the guide had said, so I told her. "Are you French?" I asked her. "No I'm Belgian - Flemish".
      So to the languages - a Czech guide spoke to me, an Englishman, in German. A Belgian lady, whose own language was Flemish (similar to Dutch), spoke to me in French. And I was the link!

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      • #4
        Actually, the one I am currently working on achieving from the above list is translating. I'm preparing to take the written exam to become a translator to make some extra money translating things from Russian into English. That's a great list by the way Irena! I find when you add everything from the above list you learn more faster, it seems

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        • #5
          Certainly And more profoundly.

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