How to learn languages
and why learning Estonian is a good idea
Why learning Estonian is good a idea
Over the years I’ve come to understand that the value of a language is inversely proportional to how many people are learning the language.
What does that mean?
Essentially this relationship answers the question: “how impressive is it to have learned the language?”
Think about it: how many people can you wow by speaking Spanish?
The answer is: not many.
Spanish is a very widespread language, doesn’t have a reputation for being particularly hard, and is learned by millions (!) of people around the world.
Duolingo alone claims over 33 million Spanish learners.
Why does it matter to you?
If you learn a language that is learned very rarely as a second language, native speakers of the language will generally be really impressed by this.
Being impressed == strong emotion == higher quality interaction
Essentially, you can have interactions of higher quality in your life by learning a “niche” language compared to having a higher quantity of interactions when learning a popular language like Spanish.
In my experience, it is the quality of the interaction with other people that makes it feel meaningful, not the quantity.
But there are only a few Estonians!
Yes! That’s not wrong. It also doesn’t matter that much.
Let’s use a conservative estimate of about 1 million Estonian speakers around the world.
Even if you wanted to, you would not be able to speak to 1 million people 1-on-1 during your lifetime.
However, Estonians are all over the world.
It doesn’t matter what country you are traveling or moving to, you will always be able to find at least one Estonian.
And that Estonian will be very likely to open up immediately to you because you learned the language.
By learning Estonian you become part of a select club of individuals, operating globally.
How to learn “difficult” languages fast
I’m seeing the same effect I saw with Estonian now with Hungarian - every Hungarian I meet is very appreciative of my efforts and it easily leads to new, high-quality interactions in my life.
Both Hungarian and Estonian have a reputation for being difficult, but actually, the process for learning both is the same:
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