standgale (standgale) wrote in linguaphiles,

Introduction and a Silly Question

 I've posted a few things on here the last week or two, and thought maybe I should introduce myself and my linguistic background. :)

I am a native English speaker, I live in New Zealand. Both my parents were born in and grew up in England, coming here 30 years ago or something. My mother is English and my father is Polish. Apparently my parents have accents but of course I can't hear them :D
Dad never taught us Polish, which now is regretted by all, and his own Polish is very old (ie. he learnt it as a child, and his parents left Poland approx. 1939-1940) and his vocabulary is small.

I studied French for 4 years at school, Japanese for 5 (one year by correspondence). I have tried independently: Ancient Egyptian, Latin, German, Polish, Maori, Ancient Greek. I did one semester of Ancient Greek at university but my other course requirements precluded doing more, and I did some NZ sign language, but there are no more classes and I know no deaf people.  I cannot say or communicate anything in any of the aforementioned languages.
I am wondering if I should learn Korean so I can find some good recipes and read the packets of the imported Korean foods ;)  (I love some Korean foods. I don't like all of it, but what I like, I love.)

Anyways, I found this community and I think it is awesome.

My silly question is - how long does it take to learn a language enough to be useful. Like, say I wanted to read a website. I don't mind if it involves a dictionary extensively. Usefulness, not fluency is what I'm asking about. Holding a conversation about mundane things is also useful of course.

I ask because I have just started learning Polish for the 90th time (maybe not 90th, but it feels like it). It seems to be going well. It's only been a couple of weeks, but I feel a lot better about it than in the past; I have a routine, I have motivation. It feels totally different - but a bit like when I did Ancient Greek, which I did very well in (I was so proud of myself!) But, I did all that French and Japanese at school and never could do anything. I could barely make a useful sentence. I couldn't read anything in the languages. I couldn't speak it to someone or understand anything in movies we watched in French class.

So, if I do a bit everyday, what are some realistic expectations and goals? (I am using a textbook I got that is online, and it is supposed to cover 1 year at university. I don't know what I will do after that.) I know there's no real answer to this, nothing exact, but I want whatever you've got!

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