REASONS FOR LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES
Ø 1) What are possible reasons for learning foreign languages?
Why do you learn languages? You may have relatives living in Japan, or you want to visit China. Perhaps you have a life-long desire to see Italy or you are planning a vacation in Argentina, or retirement in Costa Rica. All of them are valid reasons for learning a foreign language. Learning for travel is one of the most common reasons to learn a language. There are more opportunities to travel today than there have ever been before, and they are likely to increase in the 21st century Global Village.
Many people learn a language to connect with their roots. You may still have relatives living in the US, or you may just want to define yourself a little bit. Learning the language of your ancestors can open up a whole new understanding of yourself and how you got to be who and where you are now.
The reasons for students to learn languages are many, and not just because you need it to graduate. Learning a language gives insights into other cultures. It creates a more positive attitude toward people who are culturally different and gives us a better understanding of what it’s like to be an immigrant. Accomplishing this life skill will give you increased prestige in your own culture and a markedly increased status in other cultures. It’s a required skill to become a World Citizen.
Do you have a new addition to the family by marriage? Learning even a little of your new family members’ language can bring both families closer together. Or maybe you’re looking for love yourself. Think of the possibilities when you learn another language. The increase in possible social contacts is tremendous!
To learn a language for career advancement is one of the best ways to get ahead in the job market. Surprisingly, language learners improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in their mother tongue as well as in the new language they are learning. Overall communication skills improve, and that is a boon to any potential employer. For the business owner or entrepreneur, it is even more important for you to maximize your ability to communicate with employees, clients, or potential business contacts.
Learning a language also develops analytical skills, improves problem solving ability and increases flexible thinking and creativity. If you have your own business, there is an even greater need for you to cultivate these abilities in yourself.
Learning a foreign language improves your overall job skills, and makes you more valuable as an employee. It also broadens your potential career options, should you decide on a different career path.
Knowledge of a foreign language can make you more valuable to your company, giving you a better chance for promotion, reassignment, relocation or pay raise.
Obviously, learning a second language could get you a possible assignment in another country. The potential experience you gain could lead to a whole new plateau in your career, or a new career opportunity altogether.
The current climate of globalization is most likely to stay. More and more businesses are becoming internationalized by mergers and acquisitions. Multinational businesses, global corporations, conglomerates, and joint ventures are increasingly common. This means that learning another language is essential if you are going to be involved in any international business.
Fewer employers are looking for specialized skills and abilities nowadays. Prospective employers are increasingly looking for more adaptable workers with wide ranging abilities and flexible skill sets. General business skills, communication abilities and foreign language skills are the type more employers are seeking today.
The opportunities here are tremendous. From your employer’s or clients’ point of view, you double your potential list of business contacts when you add a new language to your arsenal. It’s a way to gain a powerful advantage over your competitors.
We could probably add many more examples to this short list, but the point is made. When you learn another language, you add important skills to your repertoire and increase your value and you make an investment in yourself. When you leverage that investment in your private or business life, you can profit from the rewards for the rest of your life.
Lots of the reasons above pertain to me, but my reason for learning English is much simpler - because I enjoy learning foreign languages!
Ø 2) Generalize the reasons for learning foreign languages based on the text examples.
Ø 3) Explain the expressions: “the 21st century Global Village,” “a World Citizen.”
Ø 4) Prove that “If you learn a foreign language, you make an investment in yourself.”
Ø 5) Find the author’s major reason for learning foreign languages and talk about your own reasons for learning English and other foreign languages.
1.12 HOW MANY LANGUAGES CAN A PERSON SPEAK?
Ø 1) Answer the question asked in the title of the text.
Multilingualism is the use of two or more languages, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world’s population.
“A multilingual person,” in a broad definition, is a person who can communicate in more than one language, be it actively (through speaking or writing) or passively (through listening or reading).
More specifically, the terms “bilingual” and “trilingual” are used to describe comparable situations in which two or three languages are involved. Multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language. The first language (sometimes also referred to as “the mother tongue”) is acquired without formal education. Children acquiring two languages in this way are called simultaneous bilinguals. Even in the case of simultaneous bilinguals one language usually dominates over the other. This kind of bilingualism is most likely to occur when a child is raised by bilingual parents in a predominantly monolingual environment. It can also occur when the parents are monolingual but have raised their child in two different countries.
As a legend goes, Buda spoke 150 languages, and Mahomet knew all the languages of the world. Among the other famous polyglots are Sir John Bowring (100 languages, with knowledge of 200+), Emil Krebs (68 languages), Uku Masing (65 languages), and not so many more. Such multilingual persons are “polyglots” (in Greek “poly” means “many,” and “glot” means “language”). But how many foreign languages should a person know to be considered a polyglot? More than two.
Heinrich Schliemann was a German businessman and archaeologist, and an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an important archaeological excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His successes lent material weight to the idea that Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid reflect actual historical events. He spoke 13 languages, including his mother tongue and wrote his diary in the language of whatever country he happened to be in. By the end of his life, he could converse in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Italian, Greek, Latin, Russian, Arabic, and Turkish as well as German. Schliemann’s ability with languages was an important part of his career as a businessman in the importing trade.
Kató Lomb was a Hungarian interpreter, translator, language genius and one of the first simultaneous interpreters of the world. Originally she graduated in physics and chemistry, but her interest soon led her to languages. Native in Hungarian, she was able to interpret fluently in nine or ten languages, and she translated technical literature and read belles-lettres in six languages. She was able to understand journalism in further eleven languages. As she put it, altogether she earned money with sixteen languages - Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Ukrainian. She learned these languages mostly by self-effort. Her aims to acquire these languages were most of all practical, to satisfy her interest.
According to her own account, her long life was highlighted not primarily by the command of languages but the actual study of them. Through her books, interviews, and conversations, she tried to share this joy of studying languages with generations. As an interpreter, she visited all five continents, saw forty countries, and reported about her experiences and adventures in a separate book “An interpreter around the world.”
Harold Williams was a New Zealand journalist, foreign editor of The Times and polyglot who is considered to have been one of the most accomplished polyglots in history, said to have known over 60 languages and other related dialects. He taught himself Latin, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, and other Polynesian languages when he was only eleven years old! He sat for his BA at Auckland University, but failed because of an inability to sufficiently master mathematics.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and “The Silmarillion.” Both Tolkien’s academic career and his literary production are inseparable from his love of language and philology. He was fluent in 13, yet knew 12 other languages, not including his self-constructed languages.
Ziad Youssef Fazah is a Lebanese polyglot who claims to speak 59 languages and maintains that he has proved this in several television shows, where he has successfully communicated with native speakers of a large number of foreign languages. He is considered the world’s greatest polyglot by the 1993 UK edition of the Guinness Book of Records. He works as a private teacher of languages in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Polyglots claim that any person with average abilities can master 5-6 languages during the lifetime. One only needs motivation, strong will, and courage. The tips that can help polyglot-beginners are the following: study regularly, always carry a pad and a pen with you, practice whenever possible, read as much as possible even if you don’t understand everything, and use every spare minute for revising the language. At one of the linguistic congresses he greeted the audience in 50 languages.
Ø 2) Scan the names typed in bold and say who of them you would like to read about.
Ø 3) Find the terms relating to the topic “languages” in the text.
Ø 4) Debate the statement “Any person with average abilities can master 5-6 languages during the lifetime.”
Ø 5) Develop the tips for polyglot-beginners suggested in the last paragraph of the text.