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Learning Languages

Why Study Another Language ?

Today, university students are surrounded by changes that impose choices–fundamentally important choices. In part, this situation is a product of shifts within university programs that now oblige students to select a substantial part of their own course of studies, but outside the university, the working world has also changed. It has grown more volatile and, for those who aspire to satisfying careers, there is a growing demand not only for skills in a speaker's native tongue but for an education in other languages as well. Knowledge of other languages is promised by the very best institutions of higher learning, and students should expect no less when they come to Western. Such knowledge permits contact with other cultures and other peoples–contact through which whole new perspectives can be acquired. Students, mistrusting themselves, may find that idea too grand or too remote from their experience. What they remember is the problems of a high school language course–problems of memorizing vocabulary, or conjugating verbs. Let's begin, then, at the difficult point of those remembered tasks, and consider the value of language study in introductory or intermediate courses and programs.

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