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Learning languages

There are close to a million people learning the language of High Valyrian (from Game of Thrones) on Duolingo, the language learning app.

While this might just be a fun exercise to learn a language from a popular TV show, learning a lot of languages today is similar to learning High Valyrian. The reasons to learn them are curiosity and community more than anything else.

Just like learning High Valyrian is not useful beyond being a topic of dinner conversation ("Hey! Did I tell you I'm learning to speak High Valyrian?"), learning several languages today have no practical use other than to let us be a part of a community that speaks that language.

However, many people associate their identity with their primary language and feel that their language is superior to others and everyone ought to learn it. As a result, we have cases where governments mandate school instruction in certain languages.

Rather than mandate education in a certain language that can be a handicap later on when it comes to finding a job in the global workplace, a better approach is that of High Valyrian, where close to a million people have come together to learn a language purely for the fun of it and to participate in a community, without the trappings of identity and heritage.

Everyone ought to learn multiple languages. As with everything else, learning just one language is one-dimensional and learning new languages opens up new ways of thinking.

But, mandating it isn't the way to go about it.

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