I have a multilingual/polyglot question for you, one that's been on my mind lately. Perhaps you can lend me some insight.
We both share the same uncontrollable urge to learn languages, but the question is: Why? For what larger purpose? That's the existential question I'm struggling with. I'm curious to know, what are you going to do with the languages you learn?
Thanks for any insight you're able to offer.
I have some time now to answer J's question.
The reason I like to learn languages is because I find it fascinating to transform incomprehensible communication into something I understand. Or rather, I enjoy transforming myself into someone who can understand that language.
When you first listen to a language you don't understand, perhaps you're like me and think, how can anybody understand that? Is that really a language? It sounds so strange, so weird.
Once I learn just a few words, a phrase or two, or some tiny bit of the language, I am just amazed that I have this new found power. It's a super power! I have gained extra special abilities that no one in my family has. Most people out there can't understand a word of that language, but I can!
It's like being let into a secret society. Just repeat the secret phrase to the doorman and you're in! Once inside, everyone around you speaks in the secret language, known only to native-speakers.
Outside of the secret language society, life is pretty boring. Everybody speaks English and nobody is interested in learning a language. You understand everything everyone says and there is no challenge.
I find I'm generally interested in learning the language of somebody I know. I won't be interested in learning Russian until I have an acquaintance from Russia.
I don't really have a larger purpose for learning languages. I do, however, see it as a useful skill that won't constantly need to be upgraded to the latest version. Once you learn to speak or understand a language, that skill doesn't become out-dated. It may even open some opportunities to you that you wouldn't have had available.
With the Japanese language, I am using it to live and work in Japan. Knowing the language of the country makes things possible. Not knowing it would make my opportunities much more limited.
For Chinese, I'll probably just use it to build friendships. There's no other reason to learn it except that it sounds like a cool language. It's a good feeling to know that I can now understand what I couldn't understand at all 2 years ago. There is some sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from that.
Learning languages has been one of the most exciting things I've ever done. It's also been very frustrating and tiring too, which is why I seek to do things the right and proper way. The natural way is undoubtedly that way.
I hope these words have offered some insights or at least have been interesting to read. Thanks!