jueves, 8 de abril de 2010

Writting an essay! ~ Benefits of learning a foreign language!


It's been kind of a long time since my last post... but here I am again! This time the post is about writing a complete three paragraph essay following an outline, this is a practice before the final essay so I hope I can do it properly in order to write a good one at the end of this trimester

OUTLINE

Title: Benefits of learning a foreign language

I. Languages connect people

A) Socially

B) Professionally

II. They make people more open minded and culture sensitive

A) Enables the achievement of a more profound cultural understanding

B) Makes a difference in the way of seeing the world

C) Makes people more open toward ideas and ideologies

III. Helps people develop their mental ability

A) Accelerates cognitive development

B) improves analytical and interpretative capabilities

C) Turns people into more effective problem solvers

BENEFITS OF LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

BY ANDREA MORENO

At one point or another we have all faced interacting with someone in a different language than our native one, taking myself as an example I realized that I have never really taken any time to analyze just how important it is, and so I came up with a very important question ,how can learning a foreign language benefit you?

Well first of all, languages, what is language? we can establish that language is the systematic use of sounds or symbols in order to communicate with other people, so one of the most important reasons to study and learn a second language is obviously because it connects people, they connect us not only in a social way but also in a professional way; they connect us in a social way as well , because when looking for ways to practice the new acquired language we might meet people who speak it as their native language, we can also socialize with the group of people who are also new to the language and try to learn it together!, there is always need for practice so the interaction with others is practically inevitable: In the professional sense having knowledge of a foreign language will always give you the upper hand when it comes to competing for a work position, professionals who speak a second language are called for travel and business purposes . Moreover such people also get to use new technologies and ideas; speaking a second language also helps you gain the trust of international business people making the job of convincing them into a business venture all the more simple. If one speaks in native language to a foreigner then it’s easy for the foreigner to get comfortable with such sales or business person

Following this train of thought, we can name another benefit of learning a new language, and that is that it makes you more open minded and culturally sensitive. How does learning a new language change you way of thinking?, well it does, first by allowing you to experience another culture and enabling people to achieve a more profound understanding of their own; nowadays the new generations have become more and more interested with traveling and experiencing different parts of the world, which is something our forefathers couldn’t have even imagined!, certainly there is no need and it would be basically impossible for people to learn the language of every place in the world they wish to visit but it's an undeniable fact that the traveler who knows the language of their travel destination has an easier time solving everyday problems associated with the travel , but they will most likely have a more pleasant experience and greater understanding of the foreign country and their culture, therefore there will be no frustrations or isolation as you travel around the world, in the end it's just more fun to vacation somewhere and know the language, not only do the locals treat you better , because they see that you made an effort to learn their language but you end up getting better service in shops and restaurants because you can read the signs, understand the menus, and converse with the staff. this learning process also makes a difference in the way you see the world and the way you see other people, of course that knowledge of a foreign language is not guaranteed to create empathy with the native speakers of the language, however the desire to understand and empathize with the members of a certain society is greatly facilitated by language study. Furthermore, foreign language study helps dissolve misconceptions and often leads to the creation of feelings of sympathy for native speakers of the language especially if the study is begun early and continues for a long period of time. Another popular believe is that bilingual people are more open minded towards ideas and ideologies this is based in the fact that people take interest in the customs and rituals of the culture to which the language they study belongs to, there's also the case when people take interest in the culture of a certain country in the first place, and after being fascinated by the music, the literature, their history and culture, wish to learn the language in order to have a deeper knowledge in all aspects of such a culture.

The benefits of learning a foreign language are not limited to social aspects such as socializing and learning about culture, there's a more scientific and physical benefit to it and that is that it helps to develop an individual’s mental ability. It is said that studying a foreign language accelerates the cognitive development of the brain; there was a time when learning a foreign language was regarded primarily as a mental discipline for developing intellectual capacity. Even though it is now clear that learning a new language has numerous applications of both a practical and a humanistic nature, researchers recognize that it is also helpful for other academic areas, for many decades researchers have tried to find evidence and there have been studies that show how students in elementary, middle, and high school as well as those in college that study a foreign language have a tendency of having a higher average score than those students who do not take any sort of additional study, the average level of grades would increase depending on the time they had been studying a certain discipline .For example if they had dedicated special studies to certain areas such as math, biological sciences, physical sciences, and social studies, the average score would be higher but with the difference that with each additional year of language study brought a further rise in scores, so the scores of students who had taken four or five years of a foreign language were higher than scores of students who had studied any other subject for an equal length of time. Impressive isn’t it? But that is not all when it comes it the mental development that comes with language studies. It is also said that people become more effective problem solvers ; bilingual subjects in various tests have outperformed similar monolingual subjects on verbal and nonverbal tests of intelligence; this discovery has led some researchers to speculate that bilinguals may have a language ability that enables them to achieve greater mental flexibility, this , along with the certainty that people who know more than one language and culture can communicate more effectively with people of other countries and cultures, it is indeed possible that through learning another language and culture, people gain the ability to solve problems in an easier and more logical manner and are closer to achieving solutions to social problems because of an increased awareness of a wider set of options.

Whatever may be the reasons to learn a foreign language the bottom line remains that second language acquisition is an incredible experience, with incredible benefits, this learning process is one of the most satisfying ones because you can use it on your day to day activities, not only for understanding what a block of text says but it changes you as a person not only in the cognitive and perceptional way but it makes you aware of other cultures and other people.



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