xmertic
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What I mean by this is, are there some languages that are pointless for us people from the UK to learn?

Like Norwegian, I really want to learn that language and I am going to anyway. But it's almost pointless, even if you go there, like over 95% of Norwegians speak fluent English anyway. Same goes for some other countries.

So are some languages pointless for foreigners of that country to learn?
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Octopus_Garden
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It seems to me that English speakers always claim that "everyone else speaks English". Hmmm, is my response. I know people who've lived in the UK for years and still have difficulty with it, so assuming that entire populations of other countries are actually fluent in it seems ill-founded. There are probably more fluent speakers of English in Norway than there are French-speakers here, but that's not saying much. I bet there's loads of people who dropped English as soon as they could, because their life-plans didn't require it.

Do you want to go there for a short two-week holiday, or do you want to live and work there?

If I was a Norwegian employer, I might not want to employ someone who couldn't speak the country's language and needed everyone else to speak their second/third/fourth language to communicate. You'd need skills that were in short supply and high demand to compensate.

Socially, constantly expecting other people to speak your language can be quite offensive, especially if it's due to a deliberate choice not to learn, rather than honest inability.

Practically, I think navigating life would be rather difficult.
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xmertic
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(Original post by Octopus_Garden)
Do you want to go there for a short two-week holiday, or do you want to live and work there?

If I was a Norwegian employer, I might not want to employ someone who couldn't speak the country's language and needed everyone else to speak their second/third/fourth language to communicate. You'd need skills that were in short supply and high demand to compensate.

Socially, constantly expecting other people to speak your language can be quite offensive, especially if it's due to a deliberate choice not to learn, rather than honest inability.

Practically, I think navigating life would be rather difficult.
I think you might have missed the point I'm trying to make, I'm not sure. Although I do understand your point!

Yeah, I want to learn Norwegian regardless of it's use. I am meant to be visiting there next summer, which should be good. I've always had an interest in the culture and language which is why. But if I like it enough when I visit, I don't see why I wouldn't consider living there But for now I want to learn it just because of the interest I have.

Yeah what I meant was that because they are so fluent and you don't need it there, doesn't that render it a little pointless for us to learn?
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Octopus_Garden
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(Original post by xmertic)
I think you might have missed the point I'm trying to make, I'm not sure. Although I do understand your point!

Yeah, I want to learn Norwegian regardless of it's use. I am meant to be visiting there next summer, which should be good. I've always had an interest in the culture and language which is why. But if I like it enough when I visit, I don't see why I wouldn't consider living there But for now I want to learn it just because of the interest I have.

Yeah what I meant was that because they are so fluent and you don't need it there, doesn't that render it a little pointless for us to learn?
I edited my post while you were replying. Sorry.

It seems to me that English speakers always claim that "everyone else speaks English". Hmmm, is my response. I know people who've lived in the UK for years and still have difficulty with it, so assuming that entire populations of other countries are actually fluent in it seems ill-founded. There are probably more fluent speakers of English in Norway than there are French-speakers here, but that's not saying much. I bet there's loads of people who dropped English as soon as they could, because their life-plans didn't require it.
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xmertic
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(Original post by Octopus_Garden)
I edited my post while you were replying. Sorry.

It seems to me that English speakers always claim that "everyone else speaks English". Hmmm, is my response. I know people who've lived in the UK for years and still have difficulty with it, so assuming that entire populations of other countries are actually fluent in it seems ill-founded. There are probably more fluent speakers of English in Norway than there are French-speakers here, but that's not saying much. I bet there's loads of people who dropped English as soon as they could, because their life-plans didn't require it.
Yeah I agree, a lot of English are lazy with language I agree! I don't want you to get the wrong idea, I love language and I have an intention to learn as many as possible :P

Yeah I agree, I think it's the same as English though, we get encouraged to engage in it in high school and stuff. But being young at least from my own experience, I just did bare minimum. Now I love it! The problem with English language to me is that it is so widely used we see it as if we don't need to bother with other languages, but that's not the case!
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Novascope
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I don't think any sort of language is pointless. To be able to speak fluently in more than one language is really a blessing. I do wish I could speak fluent in a language other than English haha. However, what I do find pointless, is forcing kids to learn a language they have no interest in. I had to learn French for about 6 years when I didn't even enjoy it. It made no purpose or impact on my life today, and it's a language I don't need to know in order to go on through my life doing the things I want. So I think children should be given an option to learn a language or not, and what language they want to learn (baring in mind the teachers they have at the school of course)
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xmertic
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(Original post by Novascope)
I don't think any sort of language is pointless. To be able to speak fluently in more than one language is really a blessing. I do wish I could speak fluent in a language other than English haha. However, what I do find pointless, is forcing kids to learn a language they have no interest in. I had to learn French for about 6 years when I didn't even enjoy it. It made no purpose or impact on my life today, and it's a language I don't need to know in order to go on through my life doing the things I want. So I think children should be given an option to learn a language or not, and what language they want to learn (baring in mind the teachers they have at the school of course)
Yeah I completely agree with that, I think encouraging someone to engage in language is a good thing to do and should be done. But the biggest variety of languages possible should be provided and students should be able to go which ever they want regardless of difficulty.

And if they really stress a big disinterest, they should be allowed to not do any language lessons.
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Plantagenet Crown
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No it isn't. I really dislike the attitude of many english speakers who think that everyone should learn their language instead of making an effort to learn theirs. It makes them seem arrogant and causes cultural and political isolation to say the least. If you want to learn the language then go for it!
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xmertic
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(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
No it isn't. I really dislike the attitude of many english speakers who think that everyone should learn their language instead of making an effort to learn theirs. It makes them seem arrogant and causes cultural and political isolation to say the least. If you want to learn the language then go for it!
Woo, I agree
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Snufkin
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(Original post by xmertic)
What I mean by this is, are there some languages that are pointless for us people from the UK to learn?

Like Norwegian, I really want to learn that language and I am going to anyway. But it's almost pointless, even if you go there, like over 95% of Norwegians speak fluent English anyway. Same goes for some other countries.

So are some languages pointless for foreigners of that country to learn?
Speaking as someone who is going to uni to study Norwegian, no some languages aren't pointless, and Norwegian definitely isn't.

It is a myth that all Norwegians/Scandinavians speak perfect English. It is true that the majority of people in Norway have some command of English (particularly young people), however I have encountered a good many Norwegians who are not confident speaking English and will simply stop speaking if the conversation becomes too complicated.

It is also worth noting that translators/interpreters always translate into their native language, so there will always be a need for native English speakers to learn small languages. Even if you don't want to be a translator, knowledge of relatively small languages will set you apart in job interviews because you will have a skill that probably nobody else in that company has.
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Copperknickers
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(Original post by xmertic)
What I mean by this is, are there some languages that are pointless for us people from the UK to learn?

Like Norwegian, I really want to learn that language and I am going to anyway. But it's almost pointless, even if you go there, like over 95% of Norwegians speak fluent English anyway. Same goes for some other countries.

So are some languages pointless for foreigners of that country to learn?
Its pointless for most Brits to learn any language, we almost never meet anyone who doesn't speak English (I've only met about three people who didn't understand English at all, and they were all abroad). You should learn languages because you like it.

Besides, people from small countries love it when people learn their language. There was an American guy in Iceland who became a national celebrity because he bothered to learn Icelandic.
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leahdw
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When I was in France recently, I found that quite a few people did know some English and, on hearing my group of friends speaking English, would often 'try some out' on us. But people also really appreciated it if we did speak French (or try to, anyway!).

I would also say that if a foreigner were to come to England we would probably expect them to speak English to us, so why should it not work the other way round?
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xmertic
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(Original post by Copperknickers)
Its pointless for most Brits to learn any language, we almost never meet anyone who doesn't speak English (I've only met about three people who didn't understand English at all, and they were all abroad). You should learn languages because you like it.Besides, people from small countries love it when people learn their language. There was an American guy in Iceland who became a national celebrity because he bothered to learn Icelandic.
Yeah I am doing it because I enjoy languages and have an interest in the culture of the countries I have also started doing a lot of travelling recently, so I believe it will come in handy
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subjunctivehistorian
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(Original post by Octopus_Garden)
It seems to me that English speakers always claim that "everyone else speaks English". Hmmm, is my response. I know people who've lived in the UK for years and still have difficulty with it, so assuming that entire populations of other countries are actually fluent in it seems ill-founded. There are probably more fluent speakers of English in Norway than there are French-speakers here, but that's not saying much. I bet there's loads of people who dropped English as soon as they could, because their life-plans didn't require it.

Do you want to go there for a short two-week holiday, or do you want to live and work there?

If I was a Norwegian employer, I might not want to employ someone who couldn't speak the country's language and needed everyone else to speak their second/third/fourth language to communicate. You'd need skills that were in short supply and high demand to compensate.

Socially, constantly expecting other people to speak your language can be quite offensive, especially if it's due to a deliberate choice not to learn, rather than honest inability.

Practically, I think navigating life would be rather difficult.
I completely agree with you. It's so annoying when british people just EXPECT people to speak english. I think we need to make more effort to speak other languages.
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Copperknickers
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(Original post by Anatheme)
This is such a British view to have of the world. If you get out of Europe, you'll realise how little English can be spoken abroad. I spent a week in Kurdistan, which had been full of Americans for a while, yet we only met one guy who could speak English (and despite the region being squeezed between Iraq and Syria, we couldn't use Arabic either!). If you go to Russia (even Moscow or St Petersburg), you'll struggle to get any help if you don't speak Russian, because they do not do English. If you go to a place that is not touristy and where English isn't spoken, chances are there will be no English to help you out.
That's my point though: most British people don't go outside of Europe, except to tourist resorts. When is the average Brit going to go to Kurdistan or Russia?

Of course, if you are one of the tiny minority of Brits who actually goes to places where English isn't spoken, of course its a good idea to learn the language. The only thing I wouldn't recommend doing is learning the local dialect of people who speak a 'lingua franca' like Indonesian or German: people sometimes get a little annoyed if outsiders learn local dialects, because it sounds totally ridiculous if you aren't doing it perfectly (Americans trying to use Glaswegian phrases springs to mind), and often dialects n an area where everyone speaks a larger language (eg Bavarian in Germany) are a sort of badge of honour that locals use when they don't want to be understood.
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Pasta6163
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Well, the answer really depends on the person. If you don't intend to ever visit Norway or interact with anyone in Norwegian, have no interest at all in Norwegian culture and life, then learning Norwegian would be pretty pointless to you! I on the other hand would love to visit Norway some day, so I'd definitely put in the effort to pick up on the language a bit at some point.

As other posters have already described, there are so many reasons why learning a non-mainstream language has its own obscure benefits. Whether it's pointless or not depends on whether you don't need/want the advantages that come with learning a certain language. One thing is certain; no language is pointless in all situations
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Swanbow
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If you are going to live in Norway it isn't pointless to learn the language. Foreigners usually have a healthy respect for people trying to speak their language, and only switch to English to make things easier for you. With learning a language so comes learning of the culture and peculiar national customs. At university I picked up a few words in Welsh, even though everyone spoke English, just out of respect. People appreciate it when you say hello, thanks or please in their language.
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Parathion
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Hi @ all... I'm German, but live in the UK for several years...

Please don't forget that kids/young adults today don't learn languages just for fun - they do it for life & work, especially where lots of borders within European countries are gone and you can travel and work wherever you want...

It's a huge advantage to study German, because it's spoken by almost 150 Million people worldwide (I bet you didn't know that *lol* - shocked ??). here some countries where German is spoken: Germany (of course *lol*), Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Eastern Belgium, Eastern France, North Italy - then in parts of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Russia... also in Namibia (a former German colony), Brazil has ~5 Million German speakers, Argentina and Mexico together around 1 Million and don't forget that 15% of the American population have German ancestors and (unbelievably) for over 7 Million people in the USA German is the first language !

Yes, I'd say that learning German isn't a bad idea...

French comes right after German with around 130 Million - I don't like French, so I won't list all the countries where it's spoken *lol* ... ok, ok... in France (obviously), parts of Canada, Cameroon, Haiti, Rwanda, Belgium, and in a couple more countries...

Spanish with over 390 Million native speakers comes after English (~ 510 Million)... for that reason I recommend to learn Spanish too, but I won't write down the endless list of countries...

Or learn Mandarin, which is spoken by more than 1 Billion (1,000,000,000 !!) people in this world ;-)
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Ronove
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Sometimes it's worth learning the language just so you don't have to hear their accent when speaking English all the time. Trust me, it ****ing grates eventually.

Oh and as mentioned, you will not be part of the country if you don't learn the language fluently. You will just be living in it, unlike everyone around you. Your experience of life will be very different to theirs (and only in a bad way).
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miser
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I don't think so, since even the language with the very least of practical utility can still be enjoyable to learn as a hobby. All languages have practical utility however, even if they have no speakers, since they increase the learner's facility with language in general, as well as their ability to acquire other languages.
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