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OTHER ITA SITES:
Learn a Foreign Language
Why would anyone want to learn a foreign language? Actually, there are lots of great reasons, some you've probably never thought of before.
1. Obviously, knowing the language helps when you travel. Nationals appreciate you making the effort to communicate with them in their native tongue, as it shows respect for them and their country, and will open doors for you.
2. It is enriching and broadens your personal world outlook when you can relate, through language, with people of other cultures who live near you.
3. Having a second language can increase job opportunities and career advancement. You may also be able to undertake translation work, which is often well paid.
4. Students often put their language learning into context by examining the nations who speak the language; their history, their people and culture. This adds relevance and interest, which in turn motivates the learning of the language itself.
5. It has been proven by Readers Digest years ago, and others, that the acquiring of additional vocabulary actually adds to a student's I.Q. There are expressive words from other languages for which there is no direct English translation, and it has been shown that language study, and acquiring new words, can help a student do better in all subjects.
6. Strangely enough, the study of other languages can strengthen our knowledge of English. This is especially true when we realise that the foundation of our English language is largely made up of Latin, Greek, Old French and Old German as well as words of other origins.
Alright, so we can see it will be really worthwhile to learn a second language. But what is the best way to learn? Isn't it really hard to do? And expensive?
Well, no, it's not that hard if tackled efficiently. And it need not be expensive. The fastest way, of course, is to go to a foreign country, and just have to learn the language to survive, but we don't all have the luxury of doing that! Of course, young children pick up even multiple languages in a natural way, just as we all learned English from our parents when we were toddlers. But we didn't automatically learn to read and write English - we had to be methodically taught those skills.
So the best way to learn a foreign language is to incorporate both types of learning:
a) 'natural', by surrounding ourselves with, and interacting with, the spoken language, and
b) 'methodical', by following a well devised educational course which will teach the writing and reading skills to truly master all aspects of the language.
Now I admit that creating 'natural' learning opportunities complete with interaction is a challenge. The best resource for this would be an obliging native speaker willing to spend time with you, simply conversing. You could also borrow foreign language children's book and tape sets from your local library.
To truly learn to speak, read and write the language, you also need the 'methodical' approach and use a good language course. With the level of technology available in many homes now, it has become easy to get a high quality course of study which includes even many of the 'natural' learning benefits, like hearing the pronunciation by a native speaker.
If you do not already have firm ideas of what language to begin with, I would recommend learning German. For an English speaker, the alphabet is almost identical (not like Chinese!), a good number of words are the same as in English, such as 'plastic', and 'baby' , and the grammatical structure is not too difficult.
The best resource I have come across, both in quality and value for money, is a product called 'Rocket German'. As the name suggests, it is a very efficient way to learn, taking the student from beginner, through intermediate, all the way to advanced level for the one low price. They even offer a free 'mini' course you can do to show yourself how easy it is, so it's definitely worth a look. Check out their website: http://4others.rgerman.hop.clickbank.net/
If you would like to try French, check out this one: http://4others.rfrench.hop.clickbank.net/
And if Spanish is your style, this website is a must-see: http://4others.rspanish.hop.clickbank.net/
Go on, you can do it! Learn a foreign language.
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