“Have you ever met someone who learned Chinese successfully simply because a boss told him or her so? I haven’t.”
While my answer is not exactly a yes, it’s close.
While at school I learned English and Latin as foreign languages. English proved to be useful, Latin didn’t. After graduating from school, life becomes more serious. Comparing myself to others I realized, that a lot of people here speak at least two more or less useful foreign languages. Looking at my CV with English being the only foreign language was a bit depressing.
So I decided I have to learn another language. At that time I wasn’t interested in China. I wasn’t to interested in any other country, so I made my decision purely on an economical basis. I needed a second foreign language to make my CV competitive. I wanted to learn something that had a good ratio of time invested vs. expected progress and it should be a language with a good amount of native speakers. Spanish seemed perfect. It’s close to English, has easy grammar and it is the third widely spoken language after Chinese and English.
It was a pathetic failure. After one year I could barely ask someone for their name. So I gave up, but the issue with the CV was still unsolved. At that point I had thought about Chinese for a few months. Language with highest number of native speakers, it doesn’t have word flexions, one of my main concerns with spanish, and Chinese women don’t look that bad after all. I decided to give it a one semester chance. It was supposed to be among the hardest languages out there and I needed something for my CV in the not to distant future. After one semester of lazy learning, I could ask a person in Chinese, what is their name, if they are hungry, how old they are and many other things. I even could understand their reply. Chinese is so much better than Spanish.
My love for the Chinese language developed afterwards. Initially my decision was mostly driven by economic considerations. There are people out there, who start learning a language because of economic concerns.
Furthermore, while attending classes of Chinese, I did meet a few people, who learned Chinese because their boss told them to do so. Don’t know if each of them made / will make it until the fluent stage, but they put in some efforts. Maybe they liked the language as well after they started learning.
To my readers:
When you started learning Chinese (or some other language), how important was the economic aspect?