LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES
Defining the "educated man or woman" is very difficult to do. However, most
would agree that the knowledge of at least one language would surely be an
important item on the list. If wе review the history of the study of
languages, we find that the study of Latin and Greek was, for many centuries,
necessary for any scholar. As late as the middle of the 19th century, an
educated person could read in their original form the works of great writers
and thinkers, both ecclesiastical and secular.
By the later part of the 19th century, individual disciplines such as
chemistry, botany, and geology began tо evolve. Specialization in particular
fields, including modern languages such as French and German, became
necessary, because it was no longer possible for an individual to be well read
in many subject areas and stay current on rapid developments in industry,
science, and medicine.
The study of European languages is considered as part of а classic education.
One could read and approach the literature, art, and architectural heritage of
Europe more closely with an appreciation for, if not fluency in, one of the
European languages. To have been exposed to foreign languages is a hallmark of
good scholarship and a “proper education”.
A bridge to understanding
Language displays а culture. When you study another language, you gain the
understanding of language, not only the one being learned, but also of your
own. Foreign language study brings home the impact, the sensitivity, and the
limitations of our native language. It teaches volumes about the culture that
uses the language being studied. Developing an understanding of а simple
phrase in another language can explode the imagination. No mere translation
will be able tо convey the true meaning of the phrase you understand in its
In examining the Eskimo language, you'll find just one word for а motorized
vehicle, meaning both an automobile and а motorcycle. You cannot distinguish
between the two different machines by vocabulary, because historically the
Eskimo culture was seldom confronted with motorized vehicles. On the other
hand, these people, who live in what others see as an almost monochromatic
world of icе, have а multitude of words for snow. Wet snow, big snowflakes,
dry dusty snow, intermittent spitting snow, snow that falls so fast there is
no visibility — all have a term.
Americans are sometimes referred tо as being culturally isolated, but, like
many blanket statements, this simply is not accurate. The United States is
made up of citizens from countless nations, many of whom continue tо speak
their native language in the home and with friends. There are even communities
of native speakers, so you might find а large cluster of Koreans in Los
Angeles and an equally dense population of Cambodians in Lowell,
Massachusetts. Americans are, in fact, а polyglot nation. American so-called
English language is also interwoven with non-English words. Dungarees is an
Indian word; kindergarten is а German word. A great number of French words is
also used: croissant, esprit de corps, mattre d'hotel, hors d oeuvres,
chateaubriand. However, it is true that Americans do not have а good
reputation for learning foreign languages. This is largely due to the
country’s physical isolation. Europian and Asian countries, which are in close
proximity tо other countries, are multi-linguistic. Add tо that the growing
dominance of English in international business, and some Americans can
justifiably feel less urgency about learning а foreign language. No matter
where an American goes, he thinks that somebody who can speak some English
will always be right around the corner.
Foreign languages are useful and needed
The exciting fact is that foreign language study is needed now more than ever.
For both the students and the teachers of foreign languages comes the bonus
that experiencing the language, using the language, and hearing and seeing it
used are no longer confined tо the classroom. Nor does it take а trip abroad.
The world has grown closer and smaller, and that makes learning а language not
just more meaningful, but also imperative.
The need for foreign language skills confronts you daily. In the political
arena, world leaders often cannot retire alone tо discuss important matters
face tо face and confidentially; interpreters must relay their communications.
In equally significant arenas of economics, joint military operations,
medicine, and science, global sharing is imperative and can be seriously
impeded by the need for translation services. Each day the world community
becomes ever more entwined in economic, political, social, and military
combinations of states and countries. Our stores are filled with products from
around the world, many in the original packaging. Our cities abound with
restaurants, coffee houses, newspapers, radio and TV stations, and social
centers for groups that are built around other languages. With so many
examples of cultural interchange it’s easy to see why the knowledge of foreign
languages is so vital.
With shared language, we reach across enormous cultural boundaries. It is
certainly а skill and an art that are well worth the many hours оf study,
language lab practice, travel, and reading tо attain.
The Future: A Must for Our World Community
Learning someone else's language is nо longer some personal cultural
adornment, but rather а signal of membership in and stewardship of the world
community. The ground is shifting under our feet, and we will continue tо see
dramatic changes in the numbers of people learning foreign languages, in the
use of and exposure to foreign languages.
Ultimately, we need tо make the individual connections, whether it is two
powerful leaders adjourning for some private conversation or а tourist and
native sharing а cup of tea together. Each will find differences really not so
vast as we once supposed when communication was obscured by the veil of а
language we did not understand. The arenas may change; they may be political,
social, economic, military, artistic, educational, or recreational, but the
underlying need for individuals tо understand each other does not change.
Nothing can make those connections faster or more human than sharing а common
It is necessary to learn foreign languages. That's why pupils have got such subject as a foreign language at
school. Everybody knows his own language, but it is useful to know foreign
I learn English, because I understand that I can use it. For example, if I go to England I'll be able to speak English
there. If I go to the USA, I'll speak English too. English is used not only in
England, but also in other parts of the world.
I learn English because I want to read foreign literature in the original. I know and like such English and American writers as Charles
Dickens, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll and others. I understand that I must learn
English. If I know English well, I'll be able to go to the library and take books by English and American writers in the
I like to travel. But it is difficult to visit countries, when you don't know the language of these
countries. If I know the language of the country, where I am going to, it will be easy to travel
there. If I want to ask something, I can do it in English.
I like to read books. And I like to read newspapers, too. If I know, for
example, English I'll be able to read English newspapers and magazines. Knowledge of foreign languages helps young people of different countries to understand each
other, to develop friendship among them. For example, we have a foreign exhibition in
Moscow. If I know a foreign language, it is easy for me to visit this
You can see a lot of advertisements, signboards, names in the streets. They are in foreign
languages. Very often they are in English. If you know English, you can read and understand
Now we buy many clothes from other countries. If you know English well, you can read something about the size of this or that
thing. It is clear for you what it is made of.
There are a lot of films in foreign languages. If you know foreign languages, you can understand films without any
help. There are international friendship camps in the world. If you can speak foreign
languages, it will be easy for you to visit such camps and speak with the
boys, girls, men even they don't know Russian.
In short, I understand that I have to learn English in a proper way and I try to do