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Is Fluency Worth the Massive Investment of Time? — 17 Comments

  1. I think it’s absolutely worth it. As you discussed in the article, learning a language to fluency is a life-changing process. I can’t imagine at all what my life would be like if I hadn’t decided to start studying Japanese, but that’s completely fine! At this stage in the game, it’s an intrinsic part of what makes me me. Although I don’t know what opportunities Japanese will bring me in the future, the time I’ve invested in it up until now has yielded plenty of return.

  2. I think it´s worth it. I don´t want to criticize other people but I always see them spending their free time on Facebook or watching TV, which isn´t bad, but I think it´s better to have a hobby that gives you knowledge. So if I wouldn´t study japanese, I bet I would be looking people´s profiles on Facebook as well. Luckily, I´ve never thought that learning Japanese is a waste of time. I love learning this and I´m happy seeing that other people share the same passion

    • The coolest thing about Japanese is that once you put in the early time investment, you can turn your Facebook/Watching TV into Japanese Facebook/Watching Japanese TV making both of these feel very productive.

  3. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”- Earl Nightingale

    Also, I know 100% I would be watching Netflix and browsing the internet if I didn’t use this time to study. Learning Japanese makes my life productive. And I love Japanese media, and for whatever reason I just love Japanese too.

    • Great quote!

      And that “for whatever reason, I love Japanese” becomes clearer and more ingrained the further you go.

      • That quote kept me going whenever I got the “oh, learning/doing X is going to take you at least 5 years” quip. Also, every time I wanted to rip up my textbook as a beginner.

    • Excellent quote. Similar to the way I tend to reason with myself about these things: “Listen, in 5 years you can either be fluent in Japanese or not be fluent in Japanese. Those are the only two options.”

      When you think of it that way, it’s not too hard a choice :D

  4. For me, it is definitely worth it. While I haven’t reached fluency yet (still several years away at my pace) the journey up until now, has already paid for itself.

    • That’s the great thing about the time investment, is that it starts to pay off way before you make the full several year investment.

  5. While I do agree that it is important to have a love for the culture in order to have the motivation to become fluent, I don’t think that’s totally necessary to become fluent in a language. As an anecdotal example, I’m not huge fan of Latin-American or Spanish culture, but I still became fluent in Spanish, because I needed to use it every day. Great article though! Fluency in another language really is wonderful, and sometimes I forget that other people don’t understand Spanish. Does that ever happen to you Adam?

    • I’m curious as to why you needed to use it every day. Was it job or family related? What was your motivation for fluency?

      And yes, there have been plenty of times where I expect everyone to understand my Japanese :P

      • Well, I learned it all through high school, and I figured, might as well add it as a double major in college, and because I wasn’t super passionate about it, my Spanish wasn’t great when I graduated imo (my grades were great though, funnily enough). But at my job after graduation, I was the only person who spoke Spanish, and they had me using it most of the day, at least 5 days a week for years.

        • Interesting path. So you kind of worked your way through a high school requirement, to seeing what you could do with it in college, to a job that made you take it in even further.

  6. Meanwhile, I’m still learning English. “ancillary” is a new word for me (I added it to my extremely small English Anki deck.)
    And yeah, fluency is totally worth the time. I wish it were easier for other people to see that.
    “I want to be fluent in Japanese.”
    “Okay, then start studying.”
    “I don’t have any time.”
    I didn’t “have” any time when I started studying either. But it was so rewarding that I found time.

    • We’re all still learning English :P

      I think a lot of comes down to the perception of language studying. And it’s hard to appreciate the value until you actually give it a try.

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