Foreign languages

Discussion in 'Higher Education' started by MarcusBrody, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. MarcusBrody

    MarcusBrody Well-Known Member

    Why are Americans so reluctant to learn foreign langages?
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  2. hemihead

    hemihead Well-Known Member

    Because the largest majority of business in the world is conducted in English . I , personally . always wanted to learn German , Russian , and Ukrainian .
    marylove likes this.
  3. MarcusBrody

    MarcusBrody Well-Known Member

    yes but there is more than business in life. Speaking other languages allows you to read books in their original forms, understand other cultures

    what prevented you to learn them?
  4. hemihead

    hemihead Well-Known Member

    I already know their cultures . That's what interested me in the languages spoken . How many in the world really want to learn American culture ? All I see is people bad mouthing America and Americans . You can learn America by what you see in movies on TV or Music Videos . Normal America isn't like that .
  5. MarcusBrody

    MarcusBrody Well-Known Member

    Hemi, you are making my point. You don't know a culture until you speak the language and can actually meet the people of that culture, talk with them, understand how they live, what they like and why.
    My vision of America has changed a lot since I moved here 18 years ago, and the vision of France of my friends also has changed after talking with me.
    You cannot always rely on translations asa some words do not exist in different languages and you need to do your best to describe the concept, but there is always something lost in translation.
    hemihead likes this.
  6. Lahrun

    Lahrun Member

    I thought it was just me. Even when I hear some Americans struggle to pronounce a foreign place name I just cringe, but then I remember that being a European, I'm so used to foreign weirdly spelt shit that maybe it's why it takes me less time to process it. In school I was forced to learn French and German, I kept both and took Mandarin later on because there was a job I wanted, but speaking either Mandarin or Russian was a requirement and I stupidly thought Mandarin would be easier (It wasn't, I started studying Russian in April and it's way fucking easier). Are languages just not pushed as hard in American schools?

    Pretty cool that people who live on the coasts or in TX seem to be quite good at speaking Spanish, obviously not the immigrants in this case.
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  7. MarcusBrody

    MarcusBrody Well-Known Member

    Growing up in France, I learned English, German and Latin.

    Ad no languages are not really pushed in US, at least not everywhere
    hemihead likes this.
  8. hemihead

    hemihead Well-Known Member

    If you really think logically about it , English is becoming a universal language because like I stated before , business . So why do we have a need to speak any other language in the US ?
    Americans need to learn English . Most speak and write in America horribly so much slang and ebonics because they think it's hip and cool . It actually makes people sound uneducated .
  9. Jerseyjen

    Jerseyjen Moderator

    It's mandatory to take a foreign language in American schools. As for speaking it outside of school, that's another thing. All countries I've traveled to speak English.
    hemihead likes this.
  10. A late reply but this has been a point that has fascinated me as well, and starts to touch on topics like the eminence of the Anglo-sphere ( a philosophy I know little of beyond the name itself but that I can kind of gain a rudimentary understanding of by the name--the idea of English gaining a sort of dominance over the world itself). To answer the original question I would say that "Americans" are reluctant to learn for the same reason anyone of any other country would be unwilling to learn a foreign language--it is uncomfortable and takes work.

    I believe that Americans at a certain level fetishize learning new languages, and, soon thereafter, become overwhelmed by the huge commitment that learning it might take. It's something I have to remind myself of regularly in my own lingual pursuits, but a personal commitment and fascination makes it less of a chore. To be a bit more specific, my grandmother being from Puerto Rico motivates me to learn Spanish. A fiction book that I like motivated me to learn Latin. Friends I have motivate me to learn Portuguese, etc. etc.

    As to the necessity to learn different languages, I think that a a very base level the necessity of learning other languages is to show respect for another culture. Whatever extent that the Anglo-culture is having on the world, one would be remise to imply that every culture is English like ours is. Every people group has a distinct history, customs, a completely different national identity which language is simply a part of. Diminishing the need to learn a different language steps dangerously close to devaluing a key component of masses of groups of people. This is an issue that at least my mother is acquainted with all too well as a sign language interpreter. In order to effectively interface with the deaf community you cannot expect that they interface with English as "hearing" people are accustomed to it, and the same would go with any culture.

    A side note regarding the departure of English from its "proper" form. One does not have to study languages long to understand that any language is in a constant state of flux. True, contemporary standardizations would label certain pronunciations/word usages as being improper, but it would be naive to think that these collections of "improper" uses would not become their own structure language. All that is to say if we want to talk about English being the "universal" language we're forced to confront the issue of "which" English. Romance languages largely evolved from vernacular Latin, not the "proper" Latin used by Cicero and Caesar. Thus, learning different languages from different countries could give us an informed perspective about incoming influences on English and help us retain understanding and consistency in meaning during this evolution of English. I'd find this preferable to being blindsided by a culmination of codified changes that have taken influence from other cultures (be them domestic or abroad) right under our noses
    Louise_angel, SuperJake and hemihead like this.
  11. VCStone

    VCStone New Member

    Im not sure how this works--foreign language maniac here, wish i could do nothing but study them as my livelihood
  12. Phantom

    Phantom Guest

    because English is the easiest language to learn
  13. WitchySeaWingLady

    WitchySeaWingLady Active Member

    I wish I knew other languages hhhmm I wonder if reading a little of magic seals count as written languages???

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