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Learn A New Language In Retirement?
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Learn A New Language In Retirement?

In previous articles I have looked at the issues of language learning, and also looked at the dreadfull prospect of retiring with nothing to do. Let's try and put these two thoughts together and suggest how good it is for retirees to learn a new language. What !! I can hear some readers saying. Look at the problems as you get older. It is not so easy to remember those shopping lists never mind a language.

Well let's look at a few pros.

  1. You will have much more time to do the studying.
  2. You can schedule the learning sessions just when you want and move forward at the pace that suits you, (no pressure).
  3. With the host of technological advances in language learning you won't necessarily have to go to a class somewhere where you might be embarrassed about your age.
  4. It doesn't have to cost a fortune.
  5. If you are moving to a new country for retirement it will be much easier when you get there..
  6. It will keep you more active in the brain area which is a great thing to do as you retire.
  7. It is one of those things to do which will bring you benefit, especially if you travel, and many of us do more of this in retirement.

And the cons

  1. It may take you longer than you would have when you were much younger, but in reality who cares?
  2. Your hearing may not be as keen as it was, but with practice you will pick up the nuances of the language.
  3. You will have to get over the embarrassment when you make mistakes - not something you may be used to.
  4. and......?

That's kind of a light hearted look at the pros and cons, but if we are more serious for a second the big advantage is that if you travel you will find it much easier, and for sure if you relocate to one of those countries maybe where the sun always shines you will definitely find it a big advantage if you can converse in the local language. I have worked in many countries and lived in about fifteen and always I have found two key benefits coming my way when I learnt a smattering of the language, and these were definitely absent when I did not.

Firstly you get a great rapport with a local person if you speak even a few words. I went into the local bank recently and just said hello and how are you in the local language and got a very big smile and a nice compliment in return. The feeling you get when this happens cannot be measured in money terms. Go to a gathering where the invitees are mixed (local and expat), and you will be amazed how welcomed you will be if you speak a little of the local language. This is great and let's face it we can do with great feelings once we are retired can't we? They are free as well.

Secondly you can start to understand what the local residents are saying and this can be a very big advantage. It is usually used to strike up a conversation, but unfortunately there is another use. Let's face it not all people are honest and if they know that you know some of their langauge then they will be less tempted to be dishonest with you. I know this sounds shocking but it's a fact of life. On a local forum here one contributor gave this as the only reason she was learning the language.

We will leave the mechanics of how to learn a language when you are retiring, for another day but I would encourage any of my readers to include this in their list of things to do either now (why wait to start) or when you retire.

Happy learning.

Street Talk

Thanks for these articles on language learning. I find that here in France I suffer from a delayed reaction, that my slow brain (age) will remember the words I needed some 5 minutes later by which time the conversation has moved on. Most frustrating!

  about 1 decade ago
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