Technology -specifically the Internet- is making the world a smaller and smaller place. Our world has become a “global village”, now that communication is instantaneous. The world is only as far away as the computer. People are trading ideas and communicating faster than any other time in history. Countries and markets are trading people and business as well. However, since its now becoming more common to come into contact with people from different sides of the globe, we’re also coming into contact with different languages.
Should you not happen to be familiar with at least one other language, this barrier can destroy a large portion of the possibilities technology provides for us today; to connect with people from all over the world. I therefore believe that learning at least one other language is a vital skill in this day and age. Even though contact with other languages in everyday life is creeping closer to Americans, learning another language isn’t catching on. According to C. Edward Scebold of the American Council of Teacher of Foreign Languages, 60% of High School students are not studying another language.
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This is too great a number, as improvements in the Internet will make communication with people from other parts of the world more and more commonplace. Americans also seem to have an air of ignorance in learning another language, as many foreign people we come across today already speak English. Paul Aron, vice-chairperson emeritus of Daiwa Securities America is quoted as saying, “English is an international language, but it isn’t the international language. ” Language barriers can isolate you from the people around you, making it impossible to exchange information and converse.
Lacking a second lingua becomes a problem not only when using the Internet but in the work place, air port, shopping centers, while traveling, and in hundreds of different locations common to everyday life. In the world we live in today, you are shut out of a limitless number of opportunities without the aid of another language. Encounters with people of a different language are becoming more and more prevalent in our world today, so therefore the ability to speak another language is helpful in many situations.
As more people from all corners of the earth are moving, relocating, or seeking asylum in other countries, a second language can be advantageous to you as you are able to communicate or assist people from another country. Even if you don’t plan on going into a career where a different language is vital, a second tongue can just simply expand your horizons into a broader sense of thinking and add a little bit of culture in your life. Being incognizant and having stereotypical views of different cultures is none too attractive.
Learning another language opens your mind to the contrasting customs and lives of people in distant countries. Being able to speak another language makes you more cultured and seem more attractive. Our society is incredibly mobile. Technology has also made traveling even more accessible and affordable. If you don’t speak the language of whatever country you’re in, or one that’s commonly used worldwide, getting out of a difficult situation can be next to impossible because you can’t communicate with those who can help you.
Having the benefit of a second language during excursions will make it all the more enjoyable and meaningful, as you are able to communicate with the local people. A major reason for learning a second language, though, is for business or career purposes. A statement from Careers for Foreign Language Aficionados and Other Multilingual Types by H. Ned Seeyle and J. Laurence Day remarks, “Business schools have begun to integrate foreign language requirements into their programs as they recognize the importance of language skills to their graduates’ success ‘in the real world’. Forbes magazine has stated that a key for success for promising employees, regardless of where they work, is a genuine desire to learn and communicate. Language is crucial to a business that intends to have wide spread success. Two hundred years ago, a business could flourish even if it’s commercial services extended no further than a very contained area. This, of course, is no longer possible. With the technology provided today, businesses and corporations everywhere have the opportunity to advertise for their products or services all over the world.
A business or corporation, no matter how successful it is in America, is destined to fail unless it can compete in the overseas markets. Should an employee be fluent in several languages and succeed in difficult overseas assignments, then they become a prized possession of their company, and in return their company will continue to grow. Second languages become useful when trying to sell a product overseas. Even though English does seem to be the language of business markets around the world, it’s easier to sell something to someone if you speak his or her own language.
A salesman who is articulate in the native language of the person they’re speaking to is more likely to make a sale. The same is true for the opposite perspective. Forcing a prospective buyer to talk in a foreign language puts a salesman at a distinct disadvantage. Employers of businesses that deal with interaction from overseas people specifically look for the multilingual people amongst potential employees. Spanish, as it rates as the second largest language in the world, is a vital language in the business world.
Asian languages are also critical in the economic world. The United states alone does a massive amount of business and trading with Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. The ability to speak Chinese (the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects) is of even more critical importance to a business, as nearly 3 out of every 5 people in the world speak that language. While these three languages tend to be used most often, French, German, Russian, and Italian can be essential assets to a businessperson.
The fall of the iron curtain opened up Eastern Europe to business from the outside world, so knowledge of Polish and Swedish is of all the more advantage in the business world. Besides multi-lingualism’s immense importance in the business world, there are many other career opportunities for people who can speak more than one language. In the field of journalism, the ability to converse in more than one language will often provide the chance to travel to other countries while on an assignment.
Foreign language skills are also required in the fields of missionary, public relations, translating, social service, tourism, and jobs with the Federal government. As the Internet and other technologies of today have opened up many new possibilities, the same tools we have for connecting with the world can also assist us in learning new languages. They can hook you up to a classroom through satellite links. An infinite number of web pages containing lessons or classes make it possible to learn nearly every language in the world.
Chat rooms in which people of all different tongues converse can help to polish language skills. Some other options for learning a new language are volunteering at a center where the language you wish to acquire is the only one used there, or applying for classes at a college or high school. Without the benefits of speaking two or more languages, the possibilities of today’s technology are severely limited. The aid of language will allow technology that is already moving at an unbelievable rate to become even better.
When interaction between people from other countries are not restrained by a language barrier, goals and ideas can be exchanged more efficiently and freely. Information can travel faster. You gain a better perception of what the world is like. Learning another language is one of the most enriching experiences in anybody’s education. Not only is it essential for the Information Age that we live in today, but that being able to speak in other languages gives you the power to reach out and communicate with people from around the world.