The concept of time comes up very often in language learning.
I don’t have time to spend on languages.
How much time do I need to be proficient?
How long should I study each day?
Do I have time to pick up a 2nd foreign language?
If I did, how to split my time?
The list goes on. It’s an important thing to be concerned about but yet you shouldn’t worry or think about it too much.
Right now, I’m starting to get serious in Japanese. I want to take it a little further and see how far I can go with self studying. It’s going to be really pure self-studying, since I don’t foresee myself being able to attend any classes in the next few years or go to Japan (so expensive!!). Anyway, I always like to self study.
But, I know that learning a new language is not a simple, short term commitment. I knew how much effort I had to put into Korean for the past 4 years, and the fact that there is only 24 hours a day, taking up a new language means less time for something else. Be it schoolwork, free time, Korean time etc. And it is likely that Korean time is going to be sacrificed. I know that I still have a long way more to go for Korean, and sometimes I wonder if I should just concentrate my efforts on Korean alone. Thinking about it rationally, that seems to be a better choice.
But sometimes, we just have to learn not to think about things rationally or pragmatically. Sometimes, things are just about interest or passion. If you are so pragmatic in the first place, you will probably realize that most people will end up learning a foreign language for fun, and never get to use it beyond watching dramas, enjoying music, speaking to native speakers in that rare occasion etc etc. And most people won’t even want to commit in the first place, knowing how time consuming and money consuming learning languages can get. It’s also the sad truth that most people think that languages are something like a ‘hobby’ and offer no practical usage and most people won’t even bother investing their time in something so ‘unimportant and useless’. Of course, most of you here will disagree. But for you guys to be reading this, we all know how awesome language learning is.
So.. my conclusion?
As important as the concept of TIME is, don’t think about it. Time always pass faster if you stop thinking about it, and you will probably enjoy whatever you are doing more if you stop thinking about time. (:
And sometimes, we should just learn to follow our hearts and passions.
To hell with rationality and pragmatic thinking! (: