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Why language learning is still important

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In an increasingly globalised world where the English language is undoubtedly dominant, some might question whether speaking other languages is really necessary. For example, many travellers now rely on Google Translate and other apps if they need to decipher signs and other instructions in other countries.

This is all very well, but it’s not going to be a great deal of help when one has to strike up a conversation, whether in a business or a leisure context. And the fact of the matter is, the more languages that we can master, the greater the range of opportunities we will find opening up to us.

To give just one example, if one is on holiday in Spain and looking for the best tapas restaurant in the area then you could rely on a guidebook for recommendations. However, if you learn the basics of conversational Spanish then you’d be able to get the information first-hand from someone who knows the best places to visit. Learning a language is easier than ever as there are sites online that cover numerous languages, including Spanish, with plenty of tutors for each one at different prices. Making that extra bit of effort beforehand can go a long way as anyone you approach is more likely to go that little bit further to help.

Cultural appreciation

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Then there’s the question of being able to appreciate the culture of a country on a more profound and authentic level by having at least a passing knowledge of the language. This can mean being able to read both the nation's classic and contemporary literature, or even attend cultural events like film festivals and being able to enjoy the movies from the country in question without the need to read the subtitles. By being able to also pick up on the subtleties and nuances of meaning in both the written and spoken word one can also connect more directly with the intentions and meanings of their creators.

Of course, encouraging nations to develop a more profound understanding of their neighbours has always been one of the key tenets of the EU, along with a number of other complementary principles. One initiative that has been particularly instrumental in this has been the Erasmus programme, first instigated in 1987 and upgraded to Erasmus + in 2014. Over the years this has allowed many thousands of students to broaden their horizons – and there has been the very welcome recent news that the programme is set to be strengthened considerably. As part of this, the drive will also surely be to underline the importance and relevance of language learning, as well as to facilitate it for as many students as possible.

And it is not just university students who it’s felt can benefit from enhanced learning opportunities. There is also a drive to promote the concept of lifelong learning and personal development in adults too. Through acquiring new language skills, alongside practical and professional one too, the plan is to open up more possibilities for social and physical mobility too. So job opportunities could open up not just nationally, but internationally too. It all adds up to the fact that there is still a very strong set of reasons to learn languages. And the more one can master, the greater the advantages could be

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EU Reporter publishes articles from a variety of outside sources which express a wide range of viewpoints. The positions taken in these articles are not necessarily those of EU Reporter.
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