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Read the text for gist. Grasp the main idea





How many languages do you speak? If your answer is one, then you need to wake up and look around you - the world is getting smaller and the citizens of the world are rapidly bridging the boundaries of language and even social / cultural differences. Learning a new language can mean broadening career opportunities, educational opportunities, enhancing global exchange of ideas and information and, of course, enjoying the beauty of a completely alien language by getting to know the grammatical as well as socio-cultural and historical aspects associated with it. Not just that. Learning a new language might also help to enhance your overall learning abilities and broaden your perspective while looking at the world. German, Japanese, Chinese, English, Hindi, Sanskrit, French, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish or any other language has its own rich knowledge base. Learning a foreign language sharpens our overall cognitive skills and helps in better understanding ofseveral subjects and concepts associated with the language.

Learning a language is a multi-faceted learning experience, which enriches you in many ways. First of all learning a new language brings you closer to the origins of the language, and the cultural, historical and social associations of the language with its place of origin. Thus learning a language is like getting to know an entire cultural or social system, with references to the lifestyle, geography, history, arts, economy as well modern socio-cultural practices including regional dialects and diversities, clothing style, as well as the cooking practices in the area where the language is spoken.

Learning a new language is a great asset, which is highly valued in the era of globalization. It gives you an edge over others, as you become more equipped to face the global scenario than the people who have a limited set of linguistic skills for communication. In an age where business is crossing boundaries, foreign languages help to break the barriers of language and facilitate exchange of information.

So learning a foreign language can be an instrumental step in performing the global mission to solve social and economic problems in the world.

Mark each statement as T (True) or F (or False). If false, make corrections.

  T F
1) If you speak only one language then you don’t need to worry if it is a lingua franca.    
2) Learning a foreign language helps to feel the beauty not only of this alien language but also admire the harmony of the historical and cultural background of the country where the language is spoken.    
3) Learning a foreign language has nothing to do with cognitive, intellectual or analytical skills; it refers only to mechanical memorizing.    
4) Learning a foreign language is a one-sided process which develops only your linguistic skills.    
5) While learning a foreign language you get the whole picture of all aspects: history, geography, culture, fashion, etc.    
6) Learning a new language is a kind of risky investment as nobody knows whether it will pay back or not.    
7) People who have a limited set of linguistic skills for communication feel quite comfortable in a globalized world.    
8) The global mission in present day society is to promote sport on a global scale.    
9) Foreign languages help to destroy barriers and obstacles of all kinds and help to share information and knowledge.    

3. In the text there is a word combination: “an edge over someone” which means “to have an advantage over someone, to be in superior position compared to others”. Answer the following question: what gives you an edge over other people in communication? Some ideas for you:



- intuition;

- in-born charisma;

- knowing one or several foreign languages;

- sincere interest in people;

- ability to adapt to any situation;

- psychological skills;

- your variant.

Discussion

Read the summary of following ideas of some people who participated in on-line public opinion polls about the necessity to speak foreign languages. Say what appeals to you the most.

WHY SHOULD I LEARN A LANGUAGE?

Learning a foreign language takes time and dedication. The reasons below may help to convince you to take the plunge. Some reasons are practical, some ambitious, some intellectual and others sentimental, but whatever your reasons, having a clear idea of why you're learning a language can help to motivate you in your studies.

Emigration

When you move to a different country or region, learning the local language will help you to communicate and integrate with the local community. Even if many of the locals speak your language, for example if your L1 is English and you move to the Netherlands, it's still worth your while learning the local language. Doing so will demonstrate your interest and respect for the new country.

Family and friends

If your partner, in-laws, relatives or friends speak a different language, learning that language will help you to communicate with them. It will also give you a better understanding of their culture and way of thinking.

Work

If your work involves regular contact with speakers of foreign languages, being able to talk to them in their own languages will help you to communicate with them. It may also help you to make sales and to negotiate and secure contracts. Knowledge of foreign languages may also increase your chances of finding a new job, getting a promotion or a transfer overseas, or of going on foreign business trips.

Many English-speaking business people don't bother to learn other languages because they believe that most of the people they do business with in foreign countries can speak English, and if they don't speak English, interpreters can be used. The lack of foreign language knowledge puts the English speakers at a disadvantage. In meetings, for example, the people on the other side can discuss things amongst themselves in their own language without the English speakers understanding, and using interpreters slows everything down. In any socialising after the meetings, the locals will probably feel more comfortable using their own language rather than English.

Study or research

You may find that information about subjects you're interested in is published mainly in a foreign language. Learning that language will give you access to the material and enable you to communicate with fellow students and researchers in the field.

Travel

Many English speakers seem to believe that wherever you go on holiday you can get by speaking English, so there's no point in learning any other languages. If people don't understand you all you have to do is speak slowly and turn up the volume. You can more or less get away with this, as long as you stick to popular tourist resorts and hotels where you can usually find someone who speaks English. However, if you want to venture beyond such places, to get to know the locals, to read signs, menus, etc, knowing the local language is necessary.

A basic ability in a foreign language will help you to 'get by', i.e. to order food and drink, find your way around, buy tickets, etc. If you have a more advanced knowledge of the language, you can have real conversations with the people you meet, which can be very interesting and will add a new dimension to your holiday.

Studying abroad

If you plan to study at a foreign university, college or school, you'll need a good knowledge of the local language, unless the course you want to study is taught through the medium of your L1. Your institution will probably provide preparatory courses to improve your language skills and continuing support throughout your main course.

Secret communication

If you and some of your relatives, friends or colleagues speak a language that few people understand, you can talk freely in public without fear of anyone eavesdropping, and/or you can keep any written material secret. Speakers of such Native American languages as Navajo, Choctaw and Cheyenne served as radio operators, know as Code Talkers, to keep communications secret during both World Wars. Welsh speakers played a similar role during the Bosnian War.





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