Opinion

Letter: Learn foreign language

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  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    April 21, 2017 12:54 p.m.

    I agree with this letter.

    I will add this. Foreign language learning is greatly accelerated by living in a country where the foreign tongue is the main means of communication, and where one is forced to use the foreign language 24/7. Most American adults who have started their careers simply do not have this opportunity. But, young college-age adults can greatly benefit from an experience in a foreign country.

    Additionally, not all knowledge is created equal. Some kinds of knowledge are more valuable than others. The flipside of learning a foreign language is helping others, especially recent immigrants in the US to learn English. Learning to communicate effectively in written and spoken English is simply some of the most valuable knowledge anyone in the world can obtain today.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 21, 2017 8:16 a.m.

    I'm surprised there aren't more comments on this opinion since there are so many dual-language speakers in Utah.

    @bass679;

    I speak fluent Italian and enough Spanish to get by. I agree, when you try to speak their language, they're much more willing to help.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 21, 2017 8:08 a.m.

    The need to be understood should be familiar to everyone. I have a two-year-old granddaughter who is just learning to talk. She tries to express herself. We try to understand. Her vocabulary will grow and our ability to understand the nuances of her speech will improve. Before long, we will be able to communicate.

    When I served a mission for the LDS Church in Belgium and France, I learned first-hand how it feels to be unable to communicate with others. Fortunately, most of the people I met spoke excellent English. Most of them (outside of Paris) were very patient with us foreigners who couldn't speak French. As time went on I developed a great appreciation for French, for its grammar, for its syntax and for the native logic of the language. Reading great French literature in French increased my appreciation for the effort used by others to portray their ideas clearly.

    When we can at least understand each other's words, then we can start to try to understand each other's point of view.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2017 5:30 p.m.

    Yo hablo EspaÑol (un poco).

    Eu falo PortuguÊs (um pouco).

    Ich spreche Deutsch (ein wenig).

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2017 11:44 a.m.

    This country desperately needs to have people skilled in the languages of the middle east and central Asia.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    April 20, 2017 8:50 a.m.

    More to the point is genuine emphathy for others.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    April 20, 2017 8:24 a.m.

    Honestly most people will work with you if you're trying. I speak decent Spanish. I can get around and work in Mexico without issue. I had to go to Italy from work and since there are so man similar words I found I could get basic information using my spanish and only had to add a few words which are very different from spanish (sinestra vs izquierda for left for example). I found people very willing to work with me and try alternate ways of saying something when I didn't understand. My colleagues who spoke only English got much less help, even when the person spoke English.

    When I had to go to Czech Republic for work I spent about a month beforehand learning how to pronounce words and practice basic phrases. It was much harder and my first phrase was always, "do you speak english or spanish?" If that didn't work I had a phrase book and my small list of words. People were very happy to help me as long as they saw me putting in the effort.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 19, 2017 9:09 p.m.

    You only need to start with a few words. Please and thank you, what time is it, train station, basic numbers, and how to get beer.
    The rest, if needed, will come.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    April 19, 2017 4:32 p.m.

    ok, I will start working on learning 6500 languages.