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What reason are you studying your L2 for?

I’ve seen Khatz (AJATT) talk about this before, and I’m sure others have as well, but let’s get this straight:

Study for the love, not the fame/outcome/perceived higher incomes/trendiness/etc.

Do it because you want to. Because you’ve always wanted to. Don’t do it because you think no-one else really is, or you want to beat the crowd (like, say, with Chinese or Arabic). Let me put it to you this way: you’re not the only one thinking that.

As I sit in my graduate school classes here, in the Chinese literature department at National Taiwan University (I point this out to set the background: it’s one of the most language labor intensive departments in the top school in the country), some things have become very apparent to me. The first is: you’re not the only foreigner here studying Chinese. In fact, I have classmates with wicked amazing Chinese. There’s others on campus like this too. As it turns out, despite whatever preconceived notions we have about “foreigners unable to speak the local language”, there’s still a huge number of them walking around.

To put it bluntly: you just aren’t that special.

That being said, use it to your advantage. Give yourself less pressure. Do it because you want to do it. Besides, you’ll end up with better results than forcing yourself into a language that you just feel you have to do. That’s how the people above with the good Chinese got so good—they had the passion to do it.

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