Learning Languages is Difficult for Narrow-minded People

I’m narrow-minded. I often go in a single direction, ignoring everything else, or anything I don’t value. It’s terrible. It’s probably why I stopped being so narrow and started traveling.

People who conspicuously consume have an advantage over me. They soak in language.

I’ve met a lot of travelers who can speak several languages. Most of them learned a significant amount by watching TV shows.

I don’t watch TV shows because I don’t value my time watching them. Of course, now that I want to learn a specific language I’ll do it. Still, it sucks.

TV teaches everything one needs about language except physical practice, the act of responding. Asian people take English class for several years, memorize a lot of vocabulary and grammar, but are still unable to hold a conversation in English.

The best way to learn a language is to live in a country where they speak and place yourself in a social place everyday – a job that forces you to talk. Or, just regularly use a language exchange service to find someone to Skype with over the internet.

Another problem is that I’m indifferent to social norms and conventions, including idle conversation. I don’t say “Hello, how are you doing” to everyone. I’m concise, down to business. So even when I am in a new country, unless I’m traveling and being my extroverted happy self, I don’t really care to talk so much.

For these reasons, language is not naturally learned for me. I have to artificially learn by forcing myself to watch terrible TV shows and have valueless conversations with people, or, somehow create a meaningful experience that involves me talking to people.