1. A few reasons why I have explored 50+ languages.
* obviously I just love languages
* I want to have a good understanding of HOW languages work
* I wanted to establish a wide base of phonetic ability early in life
But there is something else. **RESPONSIBILITY **
2. This might sound odd
I am a native English speaker. I am an American. I am White and I am male.
By birth this puts me in a category that I probably don't even have to explain to anyone here.
3. I'm so glad that I somehow became obsessed with other languages and cultures early in childhood.
much of the world comes to me without effort. And I'm aware of that fact
4. I have been in business meeting in Japan, China, France, German, etc
French, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Mexicans...speaking English to me and to each other. It's mind-blowing!!
But it also makes me feel that I should "do my part"
5. I cannot stand the feeling that I know *nothing* about the language of the person I'm with.
At these meetings, I feel like I'm sitting at a dining table and everyone else is my waiter/waitress. I feel I need to get up and bring someone else at least a glass of water!
6. so...guilt? Definitely responsibility. If I am flying to a new country, I feel I need to *at least* learn a little to show effort.
Otherwise I feel very rude.
I don't want others to feel like people want to do business *in* their country but do not care *about* their country
7. The great benefit of this has been friendships, better dining experiences, learning parts of another country that I wouldn't have seen otherwise without that extra effort.
And I get more out of a trip (even a short one) being able to read signs, menus, etc - at least
8. I also think this is good for destroying the ego. It's healthy to try to speak a new language, get it wrong and be laughed at.
I get unfair bonus points by trying as an American. I also feel that gives me greater responsibly to be a good world ambassador.
9. I am so deeply grateful for the experiences I have had in being welcomed and encouraged.
Language-learning makes the world better. There is no doubt.
Keep building bridges.