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CCRHHS's avatar

What are some ways that you can argue that learning a foreign language is bad?

Asked by CCRHHS (55 points ) October 14th, 2008 from iPhone

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30 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Why in the world would expanding your knowlege and abilities to communicate with more people be a bad thing?

me thinks your in HS and you dont want to learn the lang they are making you learn.

simone54's avatar

Learning is just a bad thing in general.

robmandu's avatar

Nothing matters outside of America.

Independent studies show that 100% of other countries are outside the U.S.A.

gailcalled's avatar

Je suis stupefiée..sans paroles, sans voix.

Change language..Spanish is easy. I have gotten more pleasure than I can describe from my knowlege of several languages other than English.

basp's avatar

Can’t think of any reason why someone shouldn’t learn a foreign language.

gailcalled's avatar

Can’t imagine a life without any learning either. Wouldn’t that be the equivalent of being brain-dead? One learns how to walk, talk, not eat worms….it’s the process of living.

El_Cadejo's avatar

je suis pastèque chaude ^_^

robmandu's avatar

@uber’s funny!

Mein Bleistift ist groß.

gailcalled's avatar

Ne mangez jamais de vers de terre.

qfruit's avatar

Well it can be quite difficult to learn a foreign language… it might make you feel frustrated.. besides that I don’t see any other disadvantages.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@robmandu LOL

vous êtes une grande pomme de terre

jvgr's avatar

It hurts.

shadling21's avatar

@uber et al – Consider that perhaps CCRHHS is a debater, and that he/she needs to play Devil’s Advocate in this. It’s a valid question.

Hmmmm… How about the argument that your second language will probably not be as strong as your first, and any weakness in a language may cause misunderstanding, and if you’re in a position in which such misunderstanding can have fatal consequences, you shouldn’t be using that language?

Wow… what a stretch. Never mind. At least I tried!

I haven’t read it yet, but this article may be of interest…

shadling21's avatar

Oh! If a society competely speaks only one language, there will be no wasting of time/money on translation.

Also, if you have difficulty learning a language and move to an area where everyone speaks that language, then you will face obstacles in your work and personal life.

I realize these are weak, but…

robmandu's avatar

@uber, wie laufen Sie mit den großen Kartoffeln?

gailcalled's avatar

I learned menu German so I can understand the potato issues in both languages. Is being called a big potato similar to a big cheese or a “big duty” as my 3 year-old great-nephew might say?

Nimis's avatar

I’ve thought of it as doody or doodie.
But never as duty.

That cracks me up.

gailcalled's avatar

Just spelling it phonetically. There is probably an official version somewhere. Nim; I’ll let you look. I have to go to bed.

Nimis's avatar

I like your version best.

gailcalled's avatar

Credit will have to go to Julian Gold-Schutz.

richardhenry's avatar

I cannot possibly conceive of a valid argument where learning a foreign language could be a bad thing. I did a less than C-grade job of it myself in high school, but that wasn’t because I thought it was a bad thing to do.

gailcalled's avatar

Just do it the creative way like Uber does^^.

osakarob's avatar

Achieving a high level of proficiency in a foreign language is a long term, cognitively demanding exercise. Sustaining motivation over a long period of time in a labor intensive exercise requires a high level of personal concentration, educational resources, and time. All of those things have to be weighed against the ultimate goal for acquiring the foreign language.

The argument which one might make against learning a foreign language then is a simple one:

“Do the ends justify the means?”

jsc3791's avatar

I am just curious – is this for a debate project or something, or is it a personal belief of yours?

Vincentt's avatar

It depends which language you’re learning. If it e.g. concerns Esperanto, then you might argue it is a waste of time because nobody is going to speak is in your lifetime.

You might also bring in some anti-globalist arguments. And perhaps you could also take a pro-Esperanto stance, i.e. learning a language other than Esperanto is a waste of time from your side because the total effort would perhaps be less if everybody learned Esperanto (because Esperanto is more similar to many languages than others).

gailcalled's avatar

And for the record (and the newbies) Vincentt^^ speaks Dutch as his native tongue. As for his English, he knows what words mean, he knows what a sentence is, he know how to spell, he uses the hyphen (-) correctly, he is familiar with the subjunctive, he uses the Latin citations e.g. and i.e perfectly, his diction and usage are correct, and he knows how to make a cogent argument.

(Now ask how old he is.)

@Osaka; I agree about achieving a near perfect level of proficiency; but there is a whole spectrum just below that where one can read, write, speak and understand without being able to do simultaneous translations.

And knowing something about a language other than English often makes one understand the mechanics, nuances and beauty of English better. I loved having had two years of HS Latin and two years of college Spanish for just those reasons; and my French, altho far from perfect has afforded me decades of pleasure.

nina's avatar

Ok, I am going to come clean.

I am a lover of languages. As a matter of fact, English is my second language. My love-language, a language of choice. I have working knowledge of at least 4 more languages and would take up another language at the drop of a hat. As a general rule, the benefits of learning a foreign language are faily obvious.

But, and here comes the but. Language brings with it a whole culture and political environment, and the people of a country it is spoken in. If you want to protect your child from an influence of a culture you are trying to get away from, you protect it from learning the language of that country.

An example of such a choice is Ben Yehuda, who protected his children from any language but Hebrew.

In his book ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Amoz Oz is talking about his parents, who while conversant with seven languages each, ensconce their children in Hebrew only, as if to protect them from the horrors of Europe.

I come from Russia and, against the constant and vocal complaints of fellow-immigrants, have not cultivated Russian in my children. If I have anything to say about it, they will never cross THAT border. Not knowing much of the language will protect them against the temptation to do so.

Trance24's avatar

Du bist nicht so klug, lernen viele sprechen ist sehr gut. Helft es dein Gehirn sehr groß wachsen!

In other words there is no negative reason not to learn a second language.

nina's avatar

@Trance24: Viele Besetzungen lassen dein Gehirn wachsen. Aber Sie haben nicht meine Gedanke addressiert.
(Many occupations make our brain grow. But you have not addressed my thought)

Kayak8's avatar

Once I worked through all the watermelon and potato commentary and, of course, the Germanic concerns for brain growth . . . I can’t even make up a compelling reason why it would be bad to learn another language.

If this question is for a debate, I feel really bad for the OP because the other side is so much easier to argue (common sense is involved in this argument). You may be able to make a case for not learning Latin as there are no more native speakers (except my former Latin teacher who was ancient). You could argue that learning Latin just encourages the “power” of the Catholic church but then there’s that troubling little bit about how Latin helps you learn other languages. But if you are opposed to learning other languages, that shouldn’t be an issue . . . I think you might be able to make it work . . .

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