Learning a new language as an adult is very challenging but can be achieved with enough focus and support from friends.
This was a case where encouragement was lacking.
Redditor novcthrowRA is fluent in English and Russian.
When their close friend suddenly decided to take up Russian, they were skeptical about her focused endeavor and why she wanted to learn the language.
Drama ensued when they confronted her with an accusation.
After feeling guilty about their interaction, they visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for not wanting my friend to learn my language?”
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“I am bilingual in both English and Russian, as my parents are immigrants that raised me in America.”
“My close friend Katie has never showed any interest in the Russian language or culture, which is not an issue because she has no Russian blood in her, (she is Mexican) nor do we live in an area where there’s much of a Russian population.”
“Plus, we’re out of school and working very English (sometimes Spanish) speaking jobs. It just wouldn’t make sense for her to care.”
“However, she had a sudden change of heart about a year ago. I would first see her practicing the Russian alphabet, which I didn’t think much of.”
“And after that she would watch Russian shows with the subtitles on, which is still not that bad. But since then, whenever we’re out, she will say the words of random objects in Russian, or translate signs she sees, or try Russian phrases and full sentences.”
“She posts Russian stuff on her Snapchat stories too.”
“This wouldn’t be annoying if she actually had a valid reason to learn Russian, like wanting to move there. But I’m 100% positive that she’s only learning it to impress her ex boyfriend, who happens to have Russian immigrant parents like I do.”
“I finally got tired of it and told Katie that she’s not taking the language seriously and she’s just doing it for a stupid guy, to which she became upset and denied it profusely.”
“However, she’s a notorious bad liar and I could see right through her. All she could justify herself with was ‘I just think that the language is cool.'”
“Again, I’d believe her if her love for Russia wasn’t so out of the blue. I love my friend and I do feel bad for getting a bit angry at her, but I KNOW her true intention is just to learn the language for her ex and it’s stupid that she’s lying about it.”
Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors did not look favorably upon the OP.
Many of them chose you’re the a**hole judgments.
“YTA. Don’t gatekeep on someone learning a new language. Her motivation is irrelevant.”
“The world is a better place when more people know more languages.” – mountaingoat05
“YTA and a major one. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE languages and most of the ones i speak are self taught and keep learning new ones as much as i can.”
“Her reasons for learning it in this case does not matter. You might be worried that she is not taking it seriously but to impress some boy but in this case she is learning a very useful skill that will add to her skill.”
“i believe that this is different from when a someone smitten tries to show off to ex or current love interest to impress them and does something they never considered before which is very common but your friend will benefit from this skill and she is not doing something stupid like suddenly changing her diet and not eating a favorite dish only because BF does not like it. This is a skill that will enrich her knowledge.”
“i have friends who i became even more of close friends when they found out i know their language and then they shared more of themselves with me and our relationship got deeper.”
“Be a good friend and Support her even if the reason she has not becomes invalid later, you can use her new skill to share jokes and not having to explain it to her or watch movies together or go to genuine restaurants and further open her eyes to new cultures .” – chandrachur3
“And who cares if she is just doing it to impress her Russian boyfriend? I already knew Spanish when I went to college; I took German in college because the professor was hot.”
“Fifteen years later I went to Berlin on my honeymoon and spoke great German. That husband and I are divorced now, but when I go back next year, I’ll still speak German.”
“I’m beside myself at how much of an AH OP is.” – CanIHaveMyDog
“She’s trying to develop a new skill, to learn a new language — and instead of being supportive, even HELPING, you’re only suspicious of her motives? Who cares why she wants to learn it? She wants to learn something.”
“You seem like a bad friend. YTA.” – Jonny-Pasadena
“YTA. I’m multilingual myself, and began learning Icelandic just for fun. For myself. Because I wanted to. You say that she doesn’t have ‘a valid reason.’ I guess I don’t either. I guess we’ll all just never learn a language unless we require it for a job or to move away?”
“Maybe she’s doing it for her ex (I assume she wants him back, or at least you think she does). Maybe she’s doing it for you! Maybe she was just exposed to it and decided it’s a language she’s interested in.”
“Given than she seems to constantly work on it and immerse herself in the language, she clearly takes it seriously. Her motivations are both irrelevant and none of your business.”
“Who made you the keeper of the entire language?” – librarianknight
“YTA. I am also bilingual in both English and Russian and have the same family background. Your friend is allowed to learn a language because she thinks it’s cool or impressive. That is a perfectly ‘valid reason’ to learn Russian.”
“Ask yourself why you find it so annoying that your friend is taking up a completely harmless hobby that is actually likely to benefit her in the long run. You’re picking on her for no reason.”
“I hope your friend continues learning Russian and has fun doing it!” – IpsumDolorous
Overall, Redditors frowned upon the OP for discouraging her friend from learning a new language.
They also agreed the friend’s intentions were irrelevant and her ambition was admirable, regardless of the OP’s cynicism.