Monday, September 03, 2007

Why You Should Learn to Speak a Foreign Language

There are a multitude of reasons for wanting to speak the lingua franca of another people; travel, business, education, matrimony, retirement, personal pleasure, even family or friends among many others.

Indeed it’s no small feat to habla EspaƱol, parlez Francaise, or sprechenze Deutcsh, but the prestige, financial gains, personal satisfaction and even peer envy that can accompany this easily-nurtured skill, can be supremely rewarding. If you’re not already an ex-pat, don’t start packing your bags just yet though, you’ve got a little “work” to do first.

If you’re already an ex-pat, then learning or improving your communicative skills in a foreign language may be a moot point. There you are, one of the millions of “escapees” from the USA, UK or other country, now surrounded by new horizons, vistas, culture, everyday life and a foreign language you need to master as quickly and adeptly as possible out of necessity.

Perhaps you’d like to study abroad; Fashion Design or the Culinary Arts in Paris with French as the medium of communication. Learning Renaissance Art in Milan or Rome would certainly be enriched by your fluency in Italian. Delving into Architecture or beer-brewing in Germany will be far more rewarding if you integrate into their society using your best German.

If you want to immerse yourself into Anthropology or Mayan Culture in the Yucatan, Mayan or Nahuatl would serve you even better than Spanish might. You could also simply double up and learn both languages. (Yes, you most certainly can!)

Exploring the mysteries of Oriental Antiquities, culture or martial arts in the Yellow River Valley of China requires at least some communicative skills in one of the dialects of Chinese, don’t you think?

Acquiring knowledge of ancient and modern agricultural techniques or perhaps the secrets of Yoga in the vast stretches of exotic India will be far more enriching with one of the local dialects of the country flowing like honey from your tongue.

Would you like to learn Karate, Judo or the art of making Sushi in Japan? Do you think knowing how to speak Japanese might make things easier?

You might be thinking of honing your Tango dancing skills in Buenos Aires, or improving your Salsa steps in Cuba or Colombia, then Spanish could pave the way to your progress. The list could go on and on, but just think how the “right” foreign language could not only make it all very possible, but expand and deepen your quest as well.

But, you’re thinking, how can you, with limited time, resources and perhaps even more limited patience, make any decent headway in a reasonably short time? You may well ask, “Can I indeed, at my age, really develop good communicative skills in a new tongue?”

Yes, you can and you will if you’ll use some of my “quick tricks” for heightening your language–learning experience and incorporating your prospective new language into your present everyday life.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail:

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