According to a legend, originally the world only had one language. One day the people decided to build an enormous tower so that they could reach up to heaven. The creator, convinced that he had to put an end to such futile ventures, decided to confuse their languages so that they couldn't understand each other, and to scatter them all over the earth.
Since that time people throughout the world have been struggling to understand each other.
Despite various attempts to create universal language- between 1880 and 1907 no less than 53 were invented- today, whether we like it or not, English is the only universal language.
I'm sure that it is very important and necessary to learn English now, because English is the language of the whole world. 700 million people all over the world use it. Over 30 million people speak English as a mother tongue. The native speakers of English live in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, etc. English is one of the official languages in the Irish Republic, India, Canada and the South African Republic. As a second language it is used in the former British and US colonies. Besides, millions of people study and use English as a foreign language. But at first I'd like to say some words about the history of this language.
The rise of English is a story of wonderful success. When Julies Caesar landed in Britain in the 5th century, English was already spoken by the people, who inhabited Great Britain, but they were not many and their English was not the language we know today. Nearly a thousand years later, at the end of the 16th century, when William Shakespeare created his works, English was the native language of about 6 million Englishmen. At that time English wasn't used anywhere except Great Britain, but now English is the main language of business, sports, science, trade, progressive technology, commerce and it's the world's computer language. 75% of the world's mail and 60% of the world's telephone calls are in English. Also it is the universal language of international aviation, shipping and the major language of diplomacy. It has replaced French in the world of diplomacy and German in the field of science. English is the dominant language of medicine, electronics and space technology, of international business and advertising, of radio, television and film. Besides, the English language is the language of the great literature, hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers are printed in English and read all over the world. A lot of new films in English come out every day. If you know English, you can understand them without translation. Also I should mention that every year thousands of people from Belarus go to different countries as tourists or to work and they can't go without knowing the language of the country they are going to, but they can speak in English, because it is an international language.
I should say that in general interest to foreign languages is increasing nowadays, especially among young people. Youth likes to rest in different youth camps and to communicate with coevals from other countries, but it is problematical if you don't know any foreign language. Modern teenagers like to sit at the computers as well and to spend a lot of time in charts, where they can make acquaintance with people from other countries, but communication with them also requires knowing foreign language.
I'm sure you will feel at home while doing business if you know foreign language, because you have an opportunity to exchange visits and business letters. You can fluently speak to your foreign partners on business on the phone, without help of an interpreter. I'm sure that a specialist knowing a foreign language can find a well-paid job in any professional sphere. Learning foreign languages opens up new opportunities to expand one's knowledge in particular fields. Some people are interested in the culture of other peoples and it is the reason why they learn foreign languages. To my mind the best way to know the culture of different nations is to travel, because when we travel we can see and learn a lot of things that we can never see or learn at home, though we may read about them in books or newspapers and see pictures of them on TV, but to my mind the best way to get to know and understand the people is to meet them in their own homes. Also I'm sure that learning other languages can give you self-confidence when you go abroad, because you can freely express your wishes and thoughts and you will never get in a silly situation.
I'd like to admit that all people have their own purposes for learning other languages, but all of them have the same opinion that learning foreign languages opens up a lot of new prospects nowadays.
As for me I think that learning a foreign language is the best way to discover new things about world culture, which you have never known before and it will open to you great prospects for business. I learn English because it expands my knowledge. At every English lesson I get to know something new and interesting. English enriches my knowledge in some particular fields, broadens my outlook and enriches my mind. If I want to feel quite well in today's multilingual society I should learn English because it is an international language and it is spoken everywhere. Another reason why I learn English is that I want to read English books. I like Shakespeare, Byron and Mark Twain and I want to get pleasure reading books in the original. Also I learn this language because I want to use it for professional purposes as I want to become an interpreter. In my opinion an interpreter is a very useful profession because it helps people to communicate. I want to work in an international environment; I want to travel and to communicate with people. It has always attracted me.
But my friend is sure that learning a foreign language is a waste of time. She says that learning of English is a fashion of the day; she thinks that foreign languages would not be popular in some years. Also she finds her English lessons dull and boring, she says that she always wants to sleep when her teacher begins to speak in English. I'm sure that the reason is that she can't understand what the teacher and other pupils say, and that's why foreign language sounds tiresome for her. She is always grumbling about the difficulties of this language. On the one side she is right, because English is very idiomatic language, there are a large number of exceptions to any rule and the prepositions are terrible, also there is a problem of spelling. I agree with her that English is not an easy thing as it takes a lot of time and patience. Sometimes it is boring to study grammar or to learn new words, but it is well known that reading books in the original, listening to the BBC news and communication with the English speaking people will help a lot But my friend says she would be rather learning one of the artificial languages, for example, Esperanto, because it is a neutral language that is very easy to learn: there are no exceptions to any rule, the tense system is simple and the grammar is based only on 16 rules. Also to her mind it sounds beautiful, because it is quite similar to Italian. She even thinks that in future English would be replaced by Esperanto, but I disagree. I don't think that Esperanto can become an international language, because it is artificial, people don't use it for communication and they don't write letters in Esperanto or read books because only few books are translated in it. There is no country where the native speakers of this language live and where you can go in case you want to improve your language. That's why I prefer learning English to Esperanto, though I find English harder. Also I want to say that a hard thing always evokes larger interest than an easy one.
As for my English studies I should say that I have been studying English for ten years. Here I must admit that I was privileged to study at a school where the English language was taught since the first form, as it was a specialized English school. Since the first days at school English became my favourite subject. At the age of seven I was introduced into foreign speech and was taught to read, write and listen to short texts in English. My first English teacher made each lesson an interesting game which I enjoyed very much. It was exciting and easy to learn English at that time by playing games and singing songs. As I grew older our lessons became more instructive and serious. After the 9th form I entered Gomel state region lyceum where we had five English lessons a week and four additional lessons in English literature and practical grammar. Much attention was paid to grammar, writing all kinds of tests, speaking and listening.
Of course like all pupils I had tasks that I liked to do and that I disliked to do. I didn't like to write tests as I found it boring. I'm a rather creative person that's why I preferred such kinds of work where I could express my own thoughts, and opinions ,that's why I liked writing compositions and speaking. I can't but mention my teacher of English who devoted all her energy and talent to making us speak good English. She did her best to convince us that learning a foreign language was a strong requirement of modern life. I think I can never forget her words that every educated person should be able to speak al least one foreign languages and in many aspects of life English is the key and it has a great influence everywhere. She says that today one person in seven of the world's population either knows English or learns it. I belong to the last group because I'm only studying it now. I'm sure that language learning is something that everyone can do throughout their lifetime - you're never too old or too young to learn a language. Learning a new language is always a challenge but if approached in the right way it will be enjoyable and will provide an immerse feeling of satisfaction. It will give you a practical skill which can add to appreciation of other cultures, improve employment prospects and make travel more rewarding; to my mind you should never stop learning foreign languages. You never reach a point where you can say "at the end of this course I will know this language and I can stop learning it". It's a process that goes on and on. You can reach a certain level, you can pass an exam or even get a university degree but you still remain a learner all your life.
If yon learn language you always learn it for some definite purposes and these purposes usually dictate the most important things in learning this language. That's why the most important things in learning foreign language can be different to different people, for instance to my mind learning vocabulary and listening are considerable) more important than learning grammar if you want to use the language for tourist's purposes because I think that gestures and facial expression can always help you in it. But if you want to enter the university and then to use English for professional purposes you should pay a lot of attention to learning grammar and vocabulary hard, also you should read a lot because it is a good way to learn new words and to improve your English. And what about me particularly I can say that it is very important for me being corrected all the time I make a mistake because if I'm not corrected I'll use the word wrongly again and again it can lead to misunderstandings in conversation. That's why I always pay a lot of attention to vocabulary learning.
I should say that different people organize their vocabulary learning in various ways. Some of them put words in groups and have some grammar pages in their notebooks, other remember word families. I find this ways of learning vocabulary rather original and effective because you don't have problems with word formation. My cousin has a little notebook where he writes new words with translation and short sentences as examples. But to my mind it isn't a very good idea because he can't include thousands English words in one small notebook and also I'm sure that it isn't comfortable to curry this notebook everywhere. What about me, not long ago I tried to learn new words by little bits of paper which were hung all over my house. But frankly speaking it didn't work up because I didn't pay attention to these sheets of paper. And now I try to practice another ways of learning English words: I write new words on little pieces of paper in English on the one side and in Russian on the other. Then when I have spare time, for example, when I go anywhere on the bus I learn these words. If I remember the words they go to my right pocket and if I don't they go to the left pocket again. Also sometimes I can record on to the tape the sentences with new words and then listen to them on the walkman while going somewhere. I find this way of vocabulary learning quite comfortable and rather successful.
I think that it can be interesting for you to know: nearly a month ago I had a dispute with my friend. We couldn't decide on what is more important in learning: ability or hard work. I agree with her that skills and abilities play a great role in learning, but to my mind hard work is more important than ability because patience and hard work can change everything, thanks to hard work you can develop your abilities in sphere where you even don't expect it. But ability without practice and work is nothing. I'm sure that if you want to achieve something in this life you should work as hard as you can and try to improve your knowledge all the time.
As for foreign languages I'm sure that there are a lot of ways to improve your knowledge in them. Some people try to read books in the original, they can learn poems by heart, others can learn definite amount of English words at a time. I personally do English tests or exercises from additional textbooks and I listen to special cassettes. When I listen to an English song I always try to translate it into Russian and I want to admit that it is very interesting. Also I have such TV channel as BBC, that's why when I have spare time I like to watch it. But I think that the best way to improve your foreign language is to go to the country where this language is spoken and spend there some time, communicating with the native speakers. I'm sure that it is not only the best way of learning the language, but also the shortest way of learning it. That's why I have a dream to go to England for a month or two.
I'm definitely sure that my future career should be connected with foreign languages, because I want to become a translator or interpreter. But to achieve my dream I should work hard And I do everything possible to make my dream come true!
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