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.
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.
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.
Yo hablo EspaÑol (un poco).Eu falo PortuguÊs (um
pouco).Ich spreche Deutsch (ein wenig).
This country desperately needs to have people skilled in the languages of the
middle east and central Asia.
More to the point is genuine emphathy for others.
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.
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,
ok, I will start working on learning 6500 languages.