21 April 2008

Learning Languages

A personal opinion piece!

I think that learning at least one other language in addition to your native language should be compulsory. Therefore, simply the Departments of Education around the world must invest in language education.

I am lucky in that I have an affinity for languages and learn them quickly, just lucky I guess. It was like that when I started to learn French and it was like that when I learned Vietnamese. The problem with language is that if you neglect them you lose them! You might re-acquire them quickly but without continual use and practice the languages slowly disappear.

I have just started to re-acquire some of my previous French and Vietnamese language skills and have started to try and learn some Arabic. I have also decided, for personal reasons, that I would like to learn Balinese.

Why should language be compulsory? Simply, because there is so much of a peoples' culture tied up in their language. Perhaps if we knew the languages of others we could better understand their cultures, the things that make them tick, their views on the world, and their outlook on life, perhaps then through understanding we may find peace in our time!

Forever the optimist :D

A good week to and for all!


Unspun said...

A personal opinion piece - as opposed to an impersonal opinion piece? I thought all opinion is personal, unless stated otherwise?

Rob Baiton said...

Yep, all opinion is personal!

I guess I was using personal in this context to refer to the fact that the piece was about something personal to me as opposed to an opinion piece about a topic not so dear to my heart.

Nevertheless, point taken!

pjbali said...

Hi Rob

I am somewhat envious on your ability to pick up languages. My own take on this is that if you are motivated to learn you will learn. I've pretty much forgotton most of the French that I were forced to learn in school. Nobody spoke french in my part of canada so there was no one to practice with. Surprisingly the language came back in bits and pieces while I was attending a course in toulouse a few years back. Despite working off and on in the middle east for 8 years or so I could never get a handle on Arabic. Here in Indonesia however I was able to pick up the language without too much trouble. For me a lot seems to depend on whether or not I feel encouraged to use the local language. I've been lucky to have a few friends here who are patient enough to correct my errors and polite enough not to laugh too loud at my blunders.

Spot on about languages being a key to understanding - some things just don't translate do they.