Does anybody else feel kind of disappointed that they are not a native speaker of a more widespread language?
I am a native speaker of Polish. Personally, I love the language and I find it beautiful and dignified. It is an extremely difficult language to learn, let alone master for foreigners, so I am glad I possess a skill that most people in the world would probably be never able to obtain. Of course, I've been surrounded by Polish since conception, so it is not really any kind of amazing intellectual achievement, but still.
However, Polish is not a particularly important or relevant language worldwide. Aside from Poland and its neighbouring countries, it is pretty much irrelevant. It is not taught in schools or universities, it is not a working language of any major internations organizations (like the UN or the UE), is it not an official language anywhere outside of Poland, and so on.
Like, I love Polish, but I kind of wish my native language was a little bit more relevant.
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Say, if you are a Mandarin Chinese native speaker, and you move to the USA, you could always use that to you advantage and maybe even get a job. There is surely a lot of demand for fluent Mandarin speakers. Even if you never set foot in China, being a native speaker of Mandarin is an EXTREMELY useful skill.
Now, by comparison, were I to do the same and move to the USA, literally nobody would care about me being a native speaker of Polish. Meanwhile, I would always be an inferior English speaker compared to native speakers.
I hope you understand what I mean. I envy native speakers of Spanish, Chinese, French or English, as those are languages that are actually somewhat relevant and people respect them. I think that natives of those languages do not appreciate their gift enough.
German N|English C1|Japanese N2|Manchu ?|Mandarin ?
No, if anything I think it would've been really cool to grow up speaking some small regional or minority language besides our national language (German). It's very hard to learn these smaller languages as an adult, partially because of the lack of resource.
I used to feel the opposite, wishing I were a native speaker of any European language since nowadays that basically guarantees you "start out" bilingual. Especially people like me who grew up using the internet. But nowadays I try to focus my thoughts on things within my control, rather than dwelling on what I can't change.
FWIW lots of native speakers of English feel a little disappointed because there’s so many of us, and are envious sometimes because it can be surprisingly difficult to learn a second language when you can use your native one as a crutch literally everywhere.
Edit: and obviously the above sentiments are mostly coming from fellow language nerds but surprisingly Ive heard them from normal people too
I agree with this. I also find it odd when people want to learn because they genuinely like it rather than out of utility, because it's kind of boring and plain to me (as a native speaker. Grass is always greener right? I'm sure if I spoke any other language natively it would still lack the appeal foreign languages hold for me for some reason…
Idk I think English is kind of fun. It’s the machine gun of languages, you can just keep talking and talking and talking without really having to plan on where you’re going next or having to remember what you’ve already said and it continues to be coherent as long as you follow the basic word order rules and stay away from creating too many subordinate clauses.
Oh I’m so sad that secondary languages aren’t a thing in the USA. Hell, I barely speak English well, thanks to poor educational standards in the US, let alone a second language! I’d much rather be fluent in two languages (common and uncommon) than just fluent in one!
I definitely can’t speak for everyone but where I live in the United States knowing Polish would be more beneficial than knowing Mandarin or any other language except for Spanish. Polish is far from a useless language.
I was just thinking the same thing. I lived in Chicago for four years and fluency in Polish would be very valuable.
Where do you live?
Wouldn't be surprised if he lived in Chicago
Probably Chicago or Midwest. There are still Polish speakers around, although not nearly as many as a generation ago. My grandfather was born into a monolingual Polish-speaking household in the Midwest US and didn't learn English until he went to school. Unfortunately he and his generation never really passed the language down. That's why I'm learning it now.
My fathers dad spoke Polish and my fathers mom spoke Lithuanian. Neither grandparent passed the language down.
I don’t think you should view your language as inferior. It’s a part of an identity that only natives will understand. There’s too much nuance to “learn” it, especially with outside influence of their native culture
Embrace it 🙂
My native language has about 4% the speakers that Polish does: Yiddish. (I picked up English as a second language as school.) My family is very proud of our language and we'll keep it going as long as we can. I'm strengthening my own Yiddish to become an expert in the language, so I can research and publish linguistic works and learning materials. This tiny language is my world; personally, it's the most useful language I'll ever know.
I can't wait to start learning Polish seriously after Spanish. My family always spoke it but the younger generation doesn't apart from some words here and there, so I'd like to get it back. Such a wonderful language! It'll also help me learn Russian and Ukrainian quicker when I get to them.
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