There’s a lot of research about the benefits of learning a language (see some of our past posts on the topic), but much less on Why do people learn languages?
We polled our own group of learners recently to understand more about what motivates them to study, and we were a little surprised by the results in this category.
We had believed that one of the main reasons people learn a language was to help them at work, but of the responses we received, none of them fell into this category. Instead we learned that most of our students are motivated mainly by the sheer enjoyment of learning a language (53%) or to learn more about other cultures and people (12%). In elaborating on their answer one student said “Expanding my horizons in multiple ways”, which is a wonderful reason to learn. The remaining students are learning a foreign language to help them when travelling (35%), so a more practical reason, but still tied in with learning about foreign cultures and way of life.
With businesses, the UKTI and Chambers of Commerce bemoaning the lack of language skills in the British population, we had thought that many students would be motivated to learn a language to help them at work. Our survey is relatively small and not very scientific, but we were amazed that no-one at all gave this as their primary reason.
As linguists ourselves, the team at la Academia are all language-lovers, wishing to transmit our own love of languages to others. We’re really pleased that our students are finding language learning to be an end in itself. Next time we are asked “Why do people learn languages?” we’ll be able to respond with real-life reasons, and to shout out that our students just love learning languages and at la Academia!
If you’d like to join in the fun, contact us on 0161 491 1444!