8 Signs You’re a Language Learning Addict

1. You often forget the number of languages you’ve learned

That is, you literally have to pause and think when people ask you how many languages you’ve studied.

I don't remember

2. People mistake you for a spy

Not because you wear a CIA badge, but because of the suspiciously high number of languages you can speak. Wait, did you really learn how to speak Somali?

People mistake you for a spy

3. You can tell the exact country and region somebody is from

…just that by listening to the accent with which people speak English as a second language.

“Wait, are you from Volgograd, Russia by any chance? I could totally tell by the way you pronounce your diphthongs.”

Ha-ha I knew it

4. You have a phobia of monoglots

Meaning, you simply can’t fathom how somebody could live speaking just one language.

Cannot fathom monoglotPhobia of monoglots

5. You always get discounts at ethnic restaurants

Not because you’re a Groupon addict, but because you keep impressing the servers with your kickass language skills.

Looking a restaurant bill

6. You randomly call to Walmart service centers around the world

Just so you can practice your languages, of course.

Random phone call

 

7. People think you’re crazy because you talk to yourself in the supermarket

While you’re in fact speaking on the phone over Skype to your Chinese language exchange partner.

Walking in the supermarket

He's crazy

8. People shake their heads wondering why you would learn their language

“Wait, why would you learn Swedish? Everybody knows that every Swede speaks perfect English.”

–“I don’t know, it just sounded fun.”

Head shake

So, by any of these criteria, would you consider yourself a language learning addict? Or have I missed anything in this list? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂

By Lingholic

  • www.lingholic.com is all about the art of learning languages. Learn how to learn and dramatically improve your foreign language acquisition ability.

  • Show Comments (21)

  • Thanks for sharing, where did u get these ideas? I have just learnt that I am a language addict, haha

    • Hi Teddy! Thanks for your comment, and glad this post made you realize you were a language addict, haha. Welcome to the club 🙂

      I got these ideas from my own head, I guess from some of my personal experiences and a bit of imagination!

  • Mohammad Arafat Rahman

    Number 9: You find certain names or words in a language funny, because there are similar words in other languages which mean something fun / weird / embarrassing 🙂

    • Good one! Like fartkontrol… lol.

  • When you talk to family/friends/pets in a language you know they don’t understand before translating yourself just to get the practice in.

    • Haha yes at that stage you might be in need of rehab 🙂 Very good one!

  • Jocelyn

    This was fantastic!!!! I have indeed entered the world of language learning addiction!!

    • Thanks Jocelyn 🙂 How many criteria could you see yourself fit to?

      • The one that resonated the most with me was #8. When I’m speaking to native German speakers for the first time, they’re like “why are you learning German?” I think they find it pointless because I already know English, but I’m just like, well, it’s just a language that I want to be able to speak. It sounds so intense and challenging, so I want to do it. They laugh (in a nice way), but they all continue to help me in my endeavor at least. 🙂

  • kkaland

    #1, a subdued version of #3 (sometimes), and definitely #8. #8 is justified; people think that, for example, every Swede speaks perfect English, but it isn’t true, and — at least if one is going to live in the country — it is very much relevant to learn the language. Few people express themselves as well in a foreign language as they do in their native language. That’s the main reason I like to study them. It lets me get the inside scoop 🙂

  • All but ##6 & 7 for me. But people think I’m crazy at the store because I approach strangers with random languages–as a result of #3.

    And, yes, I did learn Somali 🙂

    • Haha, that’s awesome 🙂 I’m sure you must get a lot of confused people asking you “Why would you ever learn…”

      Cool blog, by the way. I see you’re a linguist by training; in which part the world are you living right now, and which language(s) are you learning?

      Cheers,

      Sam

      • I’m living in Minnesota, and I’m learning Somali. This is the capital of the Somali diaspora in the US, so it’s been an interesting experience. So #8 applies daily to me 🙂

        • Interesting! Well I’m sure a lot of the community must appreciate the fact that a native English speaking American is making an effort to learn their language. You must be one of the very few to put that kind of effort into learning their language! I find that in these kinds of situations it’s so much easier to bond with people and quickly win their hearts. Would love to hear more about your experience learning Somali.

  • Bike

    #9 You sometimes remember a word in the languages you know except one and it drives you crazy until you look it up. #10 you understand people on the street speaking a language and smile to yourself because you were able to understand them and everybody think you are nuts (and sometimes hold eye contact while creepily smiling). #11 you have the urge to talk to strangers, just because you understand their native language. #12 you dream of situations, in which your amazing language skills save you from something terrible happening and making you a hero 😛 😀

  • I deal with #8 on a regular basis. Why are you learning my language? Seems obvious to me – because its interesting and will expand my knowledge and culture. Maybe I have that phobia of monoglots too…

    • Haha, yes personally I’ve always found #8 to be a curious phenomenon. I guess not everyone thinks learning foreign languages, unless it’s for strictly practical reasons, is a useful or worthy exercise. But it really does help to expand your knowledge and gain a deeper insight into a culture.

  • Elia

    If you like languages you should definitely check out my app on Google Play Store it’s called “4 words 1 language”.

  • شاعر الوداد

    when people ask you how many languages do you speak, you will tell them less than what you actually can (somehow) speak, otherwise they won’t stop to praise you as genius, and it’s annoying!
    other sign is people always ask you how did you learned their language.
    People get so impressed even when you tell just some words in their language, but when you are close to fluency, they stop praising you and talk to you directly as if you were one of them and they don’t seem to be impressed anymore!

  • شاعر الوداد

    you are not sure if you should add this or that language to your reseme so that you don’t look like a language geek for the employer!

  • Catalina Zecchin

    I think I would add 9#: You start to feel your native language a bit foreign

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