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Getting in touch with your roots

If your family spoke a particular language in the past you might want to learn it and possibly teach it to your children. It could also be useful if you are research your family tree and some of the documents you find are written in a language foreign to you.


Maybe you're interested in the literature, poetry, films, TV programs, music or some other aspect of the culture of people who speak a particular language and want to learn their language in order to gain a better understanding of their culture.


Missionaries and other religious types learn languages in order to spread their message. In fact, missionairies have played a major role in documenting languages and devising writing systems for many of them. Others learn the language(s) in which the scriptures/holy books of their religion were originally written to gain a better understanding of them. For example, Christians might learn Hebrew, Aramaic and Biblical Greek; Muslims might learn Classical Arabic, and Buddhists might learn Sanskrit.


Perhaps you enjoy the food and/or drink of a particular country or region and make regular trips there, or the recipe books you want to use are only available in a foreign language.

Make Points with a Date

Your bilingual or multilingual date will be impressed by any efforts you make to learn his or her language. And a date who speaks only English will be awed and wooed by hearing some intimate phrases spoken in one of the romance languages.

Stimulate the intellect

Studies show that seniors exhibit improved brain function over a period of time as they learn a foreign language. College students who learn a foreign language as children score better on exams and perform complex tasks better.

Linguistic interest

Maybe you're interested in linguistic aspects of a particular language and decide to learn it in order to understand them better.

Challenging yourself

Maybe you enjoy the challenge of learning foreign languages or of learning a particularly difficult language.

Sounds/looks good to me

Perhaps you just like the sound of a particular language when it's spoken or sung. Or you find the written form of a language attractive. If you like singing, learning songs in other languages can be interesting, challenging and enjoyable.

One language is never enough!

If like me you're a bit of a linguaphile / glossophile / linguaholic or whatever you call someone who is fascinated by languages and enjoys learning them, then one language is never enough.

In each paragraph point out key phrases and words that explain the reason to study languages. Fill in the table.

Reason Explanation
Emigration to communicate and integrate with the local community

Team work

Discuss the reasons to study languages mentioned above with your group mates. What do you agree with, or what ideas are absolutely fake? Try to develop the list of reasons.

2. Enjoy some more ideas that will definitely convince you of the importance of foreign language learning!


10. You won’t have to read the subtitles at foreign films.

9. You will increase the number of brain cells you have.

8. You will impress your date at a fancy restaurant by ordering dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon, using correct pronunciation.

7. You can drop names like Ibsen, Confucius, Nietzsche, Camus, Cicero, Dostoevsky, and Cervantes at cocktail parties after having read them, in the original !

6. You will know what words like deja vu, Perestroika, Tiananmen, smorgasbord, Zeitgeist, and macho REALLY mean.

5. You can get on track early with foreign language classes to prepare for study or internships abroad for a year, a semester, or a summer.

4. When you travel abroad you will be able to talk to people in their language, thus experience up close and personal the local culture.

3. You will understand the English language and American culture better through exposure to another language and culture.

2. You will acquire a highly marketable supporting area of study enhancing any major from Anthropology to Zoology, and thus get a job that will make your friends envious and your parents relieved.

1. You will become a more well-rounded WORLD CITIZEN!!!


Write a short article to the university newspaper about the necessity of learning foreign languages for a future professional.

Project work

1. Sometimes inability to speak foreign languages can result not only in funny situations but also cause some problems. Watch the video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh5xu35bAxA which is called “FUNNY! SOS! MAYDAY! SINKING!” The German Coast Guard officer should obviously have studied English better!

Think of any other situations when serious problems can arise due to inability of some professionals to speak foreign languages. Some ideas for you:

- an air traffic controller;

- a waiter in a restaurant;

- a doctor in a clinic;

- a manager in a car-rental office;

- a policeman;

- your choice.

2. No matter what time you live in: prehistoric, Renaissance, or globalization, LOVE makes the world go round! Now you will have a splendid opportunity to learn how to say “I love you” to your sweetheart in many languages! So, enjoy it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AZ2P3jca20 !

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