Parlez-vous francais?

Do you speak French? According to the BBC, there are over 7,700 languages around the world. There are over 250 languages spoken in China alone, not to mention the dozens of dialects within each language. And although there are many diverse languages throughout the world, many are grouped as they have a similar ancestry. English itself was a Germanic language and is thus related to German and Dutch. Language has evolved over many years and has changed rapidly. Language are also lost as it isn’t passed down and taught.

This is a fantastic lesson on language, you’re possibly thinking at the moment. I’ve learned so much from this, is another hopeful thought. And yet I can deduce that many young people have no desire to learn a second language if they don’t speak a language at home.

Learning a language isn’t just the simple “Bonjour”, “Hola”, “Ni Hao” or “Selamat pagi” (or hello in English, if you didn’t get my drift). It’s not just being able to converse with somebody else other than in English (and being able to impress your non-bilingual friends). It’s about learning about another culture, another society that’s foreign to your own. Learning  a foreign language can help strengthen your first and it can also help cross a cultural barrier (I mean, come on, when Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister the fact he could speak Mandarin was so wicked, with us and China.) It can help you understand sentence structure and grammar, and you can also widen your vocabulary and make it even more diverse than it already might be.

I’m sorry, you think, how on earth can it help me strengthen my English? Isn’t that kind of the complete opposite?

Do you know what an auxiliary verb is? What’s a past participle? There’s also a conditional tense? Wait! There’s more, like the imperfect tense and reflexive verbs! Let me get my French book, and I can tell you a whole lot of French things that helped me improve on my English.

Learning a language reportedly boosts your brainpower and let me tell you, if you put down that you’re fluent in so and so language, there’s probably a high chance you’ll get the job! Because employers (I’m not speaking on behalf on anybody, by the way) would love somebody that could speak another language! And, oh of course, there’s also the fact that you get paid 8% more if you do!

I’m completely satisfied with my English, you argue. Well, dear English-speaking reader, while you might only have to learn a single language, those who don’t will have to learn two, including their native language. And, well, actually, in France, students have to master two languages other than English and French. 

Because apparently, ‘Je peux parler francais et anglais’ (I can speak French and English) isn’t enough!

 

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5 thoughts on “Parlez-vous francais?

  1. I believe that learning another language is significant as it increases your knowledge on a variety of other important aspects of life and education. It helps you in life to catch the eyes of anyone that is reading your job or college application. Another point is that learning another language helps keep you reserved so then you don’t have time for the stuff that may ruin your life like becoming a drug addict. Nevertheless don’t you want a bright future?

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  2. Despite the fact that learning another language may bore some people I find it a good life skill. Something that will benefit you. A lot.
    You never know where life will take you and language barriers can be hard to overcome.
    Miming and 10-20 word vocab won’t always get you so far.
    Yes. Some languages can be hard, especially when it comes to learning new alphabet but maybe we need to start thinking more about the benefits and the outcome then complaining about how hard something might currently be.

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  3. Learning another language can increase your knowledge on everything and it could help you if you wanted to travel from place to place. Learning another language could expand your english vocabulary aswell, as learning a new language makes english seem easy

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    • There are some unexpected benefits that come along with learning another language. Some of these are:

      -More confidence speaking your native language
      -Improved communication skills
      -You become a better listener.
      -Your ability to read other people’s gestures and facial expressions improves.
      -You become more expressive as you no longer relying only on words to communicate.
      -You become more patient and understanding of others.
      -Your self-confidence and self-esteem improve.

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  4. As someone who self teaches a second language in my spare time, I see the validity of the point. However what many people do not enjoy is being told which language they need to learn accompanying their beloved English. For example I learn German because I like the sound of it, and I listen to some music which happens to be in German. It’s similar enough to English making most words cognate, ad it has an alphabet. On the other hand I despise being told I need to learn mandarin, due to its lack of simplicity, and alphabet. To promote bilingual teaching I believe there needs to be a greater choose for students, so they feel more accustomed to learning the language as opposed to frustrated and intimidated.

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