What is an adoptive language? In short, an adoptive language is a language a person chooses to learn and use.
A few days ago I talked about my heritage languages. While some of those do fit the definition of adoptive languages, I will focus on languages not on the heritage list here.
First up is American Sign Language (ASL). As I write this post, this is the adoptive language in which I am most fluent. However, I am not as fluent as I would like to be. Part of that is self-motivation, and part is the difficulty that I have in finding regular, live, fluent conversation partners.
The rest are on the potential end of the spectrum, although I have studied aspects of each one to some degree. In general, those I am more inclined to learn are listed first.
I took a liking to Hebrew while trying to translate The Story of Babel into a conlang directly from Hebrew. One of my favorite Hebrew features is how most all words with the same base set of three consonants share the same nugget of meaning.
Greek interested me when I read that 80-90% of the New Testament is written with a Greek vocabulary of only 200-300 words. (Sorry, I don’t remember the exact statistics.) Granted, Greek has undergone some changes since New Testament times, but with only a few hundred words to learn for usable literacy, the goal sounds quite achievable.
Japanese caught my attention when I learned that it is a topic-comment language. One of my difficulties with ASL is using the topic-comment structure, so studying Japanese seemed like a good idea. After reading through a grammar book, I found that I liked other features of the language, such as omitting number in nouns and honorifics.
Spanish is very widespread in America. I could use it to order food at a couple of my favorite restaurants. I could enjoy it on TV and radio. I could read the rest of the text on most product packaging. I know people which whom I could practice conversation. My kids are likely to learn some of it in school. All in all, Spanish could have high practical value for me.
There is a somewhat sizeable Russian population where I live, and one of my coworkers is from Russia. I like the sound of the language, and Russian-accented English.
I am not exactly sure why I like Turkish, but I liked what I found in a book I ran across.
There are probably more languages I could add to the list, but these will suffice for the time being.