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Is learning languages a good idea in my case?

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Hi, I've stopped games, 80 days so far, I've started nofap and cut off movies, books, internet curiousity stuff, anything that I find interesting and is very easy, with the idea to rewire my dopamine system.

I'm trying to improve my discipline and increase a lot my resistance to discomfort by building habits and doing boring and unpleasant stuff. And by not doing easy high-dopamine stuff. I used to flood my system with happy chemistry by reading and learning for reading and learning's sake, without much actual benefit from those. I'm trying to eliminate distractions from what I want to be my vocation.

With that in mind, does it seem like a good idea to spend about 30 minutes every day on learning languages? The way I'd go about it is 15 minutes Spanish, 15 minutes German every day, long term, in Duolingo, which is lots of very easy exercises. In 3-4 years I should be quite good conversationally at both. They would not be immediately beneficial, I have no plans of living in or even traveling long term in any predominantly spanish/german speaking country. I don't even have friends who speak any of these. I just like how they sound, probably because of tv channels I used to watch as a kid.

Is this a total and useless distraction? I do get a serous dopamine hit from it (I do feel very good while doing the exercises) yet at the same time, long term it should be quite good for discipline (daily habit) and it is not a huge time sink. Any thoughts? My main concern is the effect on my dopamine system reboot.

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imo yeah it would be a distraction for you. I spent some time searching some ways to learn languages quicker. A key piece of advice I found was that you need really strong reasons to do it, otherwise it really isn't worth your time - that's why most people learn just a little bit and never become fluent or even competent (What use would a little bit be anyway?).

I'm not a fan of DuoLingo, (just personal political stuff). I did use it for a few months before, but I felt a bit addicted to it. It was all about chasing medals, levelling and they also had a 'comment' section on every phrase which gets distracting. Also once you hit that learning curve where it really ramps up, I think ppl tend to change languages in order to gain more medals, levelling ect. (Since the higher you go, the more work you need to get the same rate of medals, levels ect. as before) The system is built like a game. I'd definitely avoid it if you're concerned, i'd be on DuoLingo for way too many hours, just like it was a video game. I don't feel learnt that much either. compared to if I had've just learnt irl from my family.

Additionally, i've seen people say that DuoLingo is inaccurate in certain ways. I'm learning a language (Indonesian) because half of my family speaks it. DuoLingo in that language was too formal for aswell. It was so formal that a native speaker would need a dictionary. In the career field i'm looking at tho, itd also be super advantageous to learn a language or two.

Learning a language without DuoLingo for example (It's really the only good digital one i've seen), you'd have to apply methods such as watching TV in those subtitles ect. stuff that you'd likely be avoiding. I can see how that'd definitely be distracting too. Those are my thoughts on it at least. It's definitely doable tho if you decide to, i'd recommend you come up with a different method of doing it tho, one that's more physical. Maybe journalling or keeping a translation book with you.

Congrats on getting that far! I've been in this for almost a year now, never been as far as you. But i've had some great streaks. Currently still struggling with starting again, but i've been setting goals and getting stuff done again. I might quit again cause I definitely know what you mean by cutting off the 'easy dopamine'. It would really help my work ethic.

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Depends on your background. I mean, aside from eating and drinking, virtually everything else in your life is arbitrary.

I use Duolingo for Russian regularly and a few days back I threw in Spanish (because I had it on high school) and German (randomly). I try to teach English in my home area (it helped out a lot to stream to be really fluent back when I was gaming), so I think picking up additional languages makes sense, as I have no idea if my English teaching business will be successful. I think I like languages too and I think Spanish and English are still more related to each other than English and e.g. plumbing, so I justify it by that.

I agree with @TwoSidedLife on the fact that if you do not have a strong reason to learn, then you will hardly ever become competent in a language. Good reasons to become competent in a language include, e.g. moving to a foreign country (for more than a few years, let's say more than 5) or building a career in languages.

But obviously there is nothing wrong with doing a hobby for the sake of doing it, because it brings you some joy, mental or physical stimulation, social interaction etc.

Myself, I never cared for the game aspect of Duolingo. I enjoy to drop by daily for some minutes, combining all three languages and enjoying the steady graph of daily language learning routine :D

Edited by Ikar
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Thanks @TwoSidedLife and @Ikar, you helped me see things a bit more clearly, I'll be dropping duolingo for now. Indeed, I don't really have a reason to learn a language other than that "it's cool" and that it might "somehow sometime come handy". I don't chase medals and stuff on duolingo, but I'm there for the feel good trickle of the successful "ding" sound and the gamified progression. Not intentionally, but that must be what makes me want it. I spent about 35 minutes on it today and it did feel like a distraction. There's ton of other way more important things that I was ignoring for that "ding". Thanks again :)

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On 9/9/2019 at 11:59 PM, TTT said:

[...] I'm there for the feel good trickle of the successful "ding" sound and the gamified progression.

Huh. You just made me realize that maybe Duolingo isn't such a great thing for me. I've spent a lot of time on it lately and I do go for the medals to the point of pulling all-nighters if I'm behind. I just thought it was good fun, but I think you're very right that the thrill of the "ding" is no different than video games.

Thank you for your post. 😀 You've made me realize I have to be a lot more vigilant about my activities so I don't just replace my gaming addiction with pseudo-gaming.

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@Blab It's a tricky disguise. Especially cause it seems justified.

Just checked cause I remembered seeing DuoLingo recommended in the hobby list here (Yeah, it's recommended as a resource). I think Duo use to be a lot different a few years ago, not sure. I personally don't think it should be a resource here. Everyone on this thread seems like they might agree w that.

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@Blab Good for you that you realized that you use it primarily for something else than learning a language!

On 9/15/2019 at 5:52 AM, TwoSidedLife said:

@Blab It's a tricky disguise. Especially cause it seems justified.

Just checked cause I remembered seeing DuoLingo recommended in the hobby list here (Yeah, it's recommended as a resource). I think Duo use to be a lot different a few years ago, not sure. I personally don't think it should be a resource here. Everyone on this thread seems like they might agree w that.

I think some 30 months ago when I started out on Duolingo learning Russian, there were streaks and XP already in place, but I'm not sure about the medals.

Myself, I think Duolingo is still a perfectly valid resource and possibly one of the best ways to really start off learning a language - to hammer in some basic grammar and vocabulary for survival level abroad. I mean, of course they "rigged" it a to try and keep your attention, but it's still on you just how much attention are you willing to give it.

In a broader sense, everything that can take advantage of the play/gaming aspect, does so, because it's naturally appealing to humans. Tinder works that way. News (either on TV or paper) are also trying to "steal" your attention by the fact that e.g. a bombing happened that in some remote location you've never been to. It's definitely more interesting than the fact that e.g. firefighters rescued 12 kittens from trees in your city in the past year.

So all I can say is just that we should be aware and I think any self-convicted gaming addict has some basic form of self-awareness. Your eyes are yours only.

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