Importance Of Learning Foreign Languages
South Africa is a multi-cultural society with diverse languages. By extension, South Africa is part of the global village and relates with many countries for social, political and economic reasons.This implies that leaders and citizens of South Africa often find themselves in situations where they have to communicate in a foreign language. Experts have argued that the best place to learn and teach these languages is through elementary school. Below are some of the reasons why learning foreign languages is important in schools.
Intellectual development – Research has shown that being bilingual makes one smarter. As opposed to people who can only speak one language, bilinguals have a better awareness of the environment since they regularly have to switch languages. It requires them to keep track of changes around them in the same way a person does when driving. Instead of creating more internal conflict, it forces the brain to resolve it.
Improvement of chances of entry into College or Graduate School – It is important to note that most schools of higher learning recognise the influence of language in areas like the arts, theology, literature as well as social and hard sciences as they consider exposure to a foreign language as a necessary aspect of any successful college education. When students reach that level of education, knowing a language is likely to make you a more competitive candidate in both the undergraduate and graduate admissions process.
Career advancement – Having an intermediate or advanced knowledge of a foreign language is a huge asset in the professional world.The economies of the world are increasingly more globalised, this means people who can interact on that international stage are becoming very valuable. Its easier for bilingual employees to both communicate with foreign business partners and clients and also to understand and appreciate the influence that the language and culture have on the working environment.
Enhancing travel – There are many ways in which speaking or reading a foreign language can both enhance your experience in another country and make travel a whole lot smoother. When you lack the ability to communicate in a native language, assimilating into day to day life and gaining a deeper understanding of the culture becomes very difficult. While local people may have interpreters or speak English themselves, there are aspects of a language and culture that gets lost in translation.
Improving english – Believe it or not, learning how to speak another language can actually help improve your English or whatever your native language is.This is because the same idea is often expressed differently in other languages. When you speak a foreign language, you have to actively think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Global understanding – Cultural insensitivity can have a huge influence on a nations inability to cooperate,negotiate and compromise in todays world.The solution is to promote cultural relativism, to gain an understanding of the worlds other cultures, and even if you don’t agree, at least accept their right to be different.This is where knowing another language will be key as language can be used as a tool to improve communication between businesses, governments and people as well as breakdown cultural and ideological barriers.