How to Fall in Love with a Language: Inspiring Stories from Learners like You

A few weeks ago, my partner and I decided to watch the oscar-nominated film Nightcrawler. You may be aware that things get a bit scary in the film, so I allowed myself a distraction from watching it. I was watching the film in English with Spanish subtitles.

And I realised two things:

  1. Spanish doesn't swear sexually but religiously (¡diablos!)
  2. I prefer Spanish to French, even though I've been learning French for 20 years and only studied Spanish from 2001 to 2003

Soon I found myself wondering if this is normal. Does every language learner have a favourite among their languages?

What is it that makes us fall in love with one language more than any of the others?

in love with language

In today's blog post, I enlisted a little help from members of the Fluent community. First of all I want to thank every reader of my newsletter who responded to my call with their own story. It's made this article something I've never had before: A crowdsourced piece of writing. Enjoy!

For some, it's Love at First Word

In the following stories, you'll hear from language learners who were just blown away by their favourite language right from day 1.

Aidan O'Rourke loves German more and more

"My favourite language is German, I much prefer it to French. I love German. I’ve loved it since I started learning it aged 15, I got an A in O and A level and went on to study it at Trinity College Dublin (with French).

German is the most amazing language, I feel it is part of me but sadly I am not a native speaker, though I aspire to that level. I love hearing German, especially on MDR radio and the Tagesschau.

I think I am more enthusiastic about German than at any time in the past! The longer I use it, the more I love it. I've learned a huge amount of German through teaching it as a private tutor over the past few years. There are many things I regret in live but one thing I don’t regret is learning German! Everybody should learn it!"

Aidan is the author of Stargirl of the Edge, a new anglo-chinese novel. You can watch him discuss language learning with me in this video.

Chimene Elessa learnt that other People don't know what she will really love most

"In my school (at age 13), we had the choice between Spanish and German as a third language -- after French (my native language) and English (my second language). When I asked what my third language should be, people advised me not to take German because it was "difficult". So I took Spanish just because people around me were learning that language.

Many years later, I subscribed to cable TV where there was one German channel. I started to watch programmes in that language and I liked it. So I decided to learn German so much so that I now tend to neglect my Spanish because I'd rather study and practice German.

Today my level in German is more advanced than my level in Spanish (which I have been studying for a longer period of time).

My explanation is that I was more motivated when I decided to learn German. Furthermore, I want to add it to the languages I use for my work as a translator.

I still like Spanish. If I take into account years of practice, it is my third language, but in fact it is the fourth if we talk about preferences."

For some, the first love stays true

For many of us, the first foreign language remains special all throughout our lives.

Chiara Grandola will always love British English best

chiara runawaydreamer

"I am Italian and I studied three languages thus far. English, French and Spanish. French is a romantic and beautiful language. I'm drawn to the melody of la langue francaise. It has such a melodic tone that even an insult can sound romantic. Well, kind of…

Spanish is extremely sensual and it can express tremendous passion. Its pronunciation is pretty straightforward and maybe that’s why I feel much more comfortable in speaking Spanish than French.

However, my not-so-secret favourite language is English. British English, to be precise. I find some words and expressions extremely elegant and peculiar, like Quintessential or Blimey! As a long-time learner, I am often amazed by the richness of English vocabulary. The British accent gets me all the time. It's music to my ears and I could listen to natives for hours. I discovered the world of foreign languages by studying English when I was a little girl, so I’ll always be eternally grateful to this amazing language."

You can read more from Chiara on her blog, Runaway Daydreamer.

Ellen Keyne Seebacher got started with her Mother's Books

"I've studied at least eight languages systematically (German, Spanish, Swedish, American Sign Language, Japanese, Latin, French, and Brazilian Portuguese) and another dozen or more casually. My best language is German, but I feel most comfortable with Spanish. I suspect it's because it was the first I was seriously exposed to; as a kid I used to tag along to my mother's Spanish classes (at the time she worked in a hospital in southern Arizona) and sit quietly in the back, then flip through her textbook when she wasn't using it!"

And sometimes it's just right

Does there have to be a reason why you love a language? Or sometimes...is it just what it is?

Israel Lai feels the Music with German

"As a Hongkonger I'm fluent in Cantonese, English and Mandarin, and have additionally studied French for quite a lot of years - technically 12 years from the moment I was first exposed to it. I find it a beautiful language, especially when I picked it up again 2 years ago, but just can't get it 'into' me for some reason. 2 years ago was when I discovered my passion for languages, and since then

I took German in university and touched upon various ones like Japanese, Dutch and Russian. Surprisingly, although I find written German ugly (no offence), I feel most 'at home' with this foreign language. It could be me being a musician, or it could be my one month in Vienna, perhaps even a particular way my tongue is built in, but while all other languages have one feature that appeal to my rational mind, German is the one foreign language that I feel like speaking the most, the one to which I feel a sense of belonging. That's why I'm so looking forward to becoming fluent!"

What's your language love story?

As I put this article together, I felt a wonderful sense of the love and motivation all these Fluent readers feel for their languages. No matter if it's German or Spanish, the language you love is always special to you. Creating this collection of real stories was extremely enjoyable and I would love it if you commented with your own story of true language love.

And just in case you've not seen Nightcrawler yet: Give it a try. It's pretty great.

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.

Announcing How I'm Working to Combine My Three Passions

Today's blog post is an announcement, an open letter and something from the heart for everyone who follows the Fluent blog. I'm hoping to start a new chapter in my professional story. I will be announcing a few changes to Fluent Language, and introducing you to my new venture.

First of all, I want to give you the quick history of how far Fluent has come since its start in 2012. When I first launched this website, my first steps into offering lessons (without a teaching certificate!), I was absolutely delighted at finding the blogging platform I have. I was not setting out to take over the world, but at the same time I totally was. My first articles went straight to the meat and were all about making it clear what I want to stand for. Along the journey, you readers have come along and found those values with me. I've got amazing language students from all over the world, and have worked from my tablet and laptop while I was on the road. And then I self-published the Fluent Guides. Not bad for a girl from Mülheim, right?

Finding My Purpose

Every project and every business is a journey that changes on a regular basis. And for me, chatting straight to you in the 50 Calls Project has been the start of something amazing.

As a one-woman business, I believe that finding my best purpose and putting your AND my happiness first is very important. For me, this is all about combining my two passions. One of them, you already know: Language learning! Languages! Making the world multilingual! But what's the second passion, you ask?

It's all about what's underneath that language passion. My big passion in life is communication. It's why I love marketing, why I get inspired when I see a bilingual road sign and where I draw my energy from. Talking to people makes me happy. So in my business, I want to combine communication and service to individuals that I really believe in.

The third passion that I have is all about inspiring, encouraging and promoting others. I love teaching, coaching and mentoring because it allows me to make others succeed.

Compass for Online Teachers

I already mentioned how many Fluent readers I have had the pleasure of serving as part of the free 50 Calls Project. I've found that my own story of how I started Fluent and how much I believe in following my path has resonated with many other tutors. Many of you dream of trying out online business -- becoming authors, bloggers, teaching online and combining your passion with a real income.

That's not crazy. It's possible, it's amazing and it requires a bit of a helping hand.

Online teaching is a set part of our future. It's going to change the world of work and learning. And independents are leading the way, so this is why my next service will not be for language learners, but for anyone who wants their own Fluent.

I will launch new programme in October. The title is COMPASS and the information is at www.fluentlanguage.co.uk/teachers. It will be perfect for anyone who finds him- or herself where I was a few years ago, unhappy in my work and wishing I could do things my way. You don't have to become a German teacher. This is all about showing you how to stand out in a busy marketplace, find the students you are right for, and making a living on your own terms. I am giving this my all for the next three months and if you're on the programme we will brainstorm, find solutions, students and new independence together.

While I go and work hard in the website mines for creating the first ever Kerstinhammes.com presence, you will find that Fluent is going a bit quieter. This wonderful Fluent community is a fantastic boost to me and it will not go away, so look out for a great bunch of posts and thoughts. They might be different to what you know, but with the usual thoughtful perspectives intact.

Here's the Important Thing

If you are starting a teaching business and struggling with being independent, working from anywhere, saving time and earning more, then you have to join us, because THIS IS FOR YOU! I have a special list for Compass candidates.

Simply visit the quick email registration page and sign up. You can find out lots more information about Compass here.

Thank you for being along for the ride.