En este parte de California, es bueno conocer un otra lengua. Tal como Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, o Español. Por ejemplo, muchas tiendas en Salinas (un ciudad cerca de mi universidad)están poseído por muchas residentes que están imigrantes de México. Muchas no saben hablar en ingles.
I just said (for those who dont know Spanish): In this part of California, it’s good to know another language. Such as Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean and Spanish.For example, many stores in Salinas (a city near my university, they are owned by many residents that are imigrants from Mexico. Many don’t know how to speak in English.
So, in order to communicate with those who dont speak your language well, learning a second one can be helpful (and it helps you to understand them). Others have mentioned that learning a second language helps you to understand your native language better, and I couldn’t agree more. I have learned more about grammar in my Spanish classes at my university than I had in my English clases in high school and elementary school. I understand the grammar of English better through learning Spanish. It may also inspire you to read up on other languages also (like it has done to me.
Language is a ‘use it or lose it’ type of thing. I can attest to that. A couple of summers ago, I took a Tagalog course at my University over the summer. It was an intensive course (5 hrs a day, 5 days a week), and I learned much. I learned so much i could write a one page essay in the language. I even did a skit at the end of the course party in the language. Since i didn’t have regular access to native speakers i lost almost all of my knowledge of it (I can decipher many things but I cant say more than greetings and naughty words!)
Useage also improves fluency. I am by no means fluent in Spanish, but I can hold a simple conversation and I can also write out essays in the language. I hope to study abroad in Spain or in one of the Central or South American countries for a year to improve my speaking skills.
With the advent of the Internet you have access to speakers of many different languages (there are chatrooms, and even usenet newsgroups set up for different languages). It also helps to learn the language of the people who make up most of the non English speaking community in your area.
I would like to see schools implementing ‘foreign’ languages during the early years of elementary education, and continue the courses through high school. At least in my Junior High they did have foreign language classes, and that is where I started learning Spanish (the class was taught by an evil Bolivian woman (La Bruja!), but she’s another story). The majority of foreign language classes are taught in high school (at least in the US AFAIK. I only took two years, when I would have liked to have taken the full four years.
At my university, the courses are set up so that you learn greetings, and simple grammar in the first level of the language, and as you go up, you learn more about the grammar, and work on your listening, reading, and writing skills. In the course I am in now (third semester), my professor only speaks in Spanish, unless she is explaining a grammatical concept. She also has us speak in the language when asking or answering questions, and she has us talk to our partners. I understand 99% if what she says most of the time :). We also have ‘facilitators’ who talk to us in Spanish, and we are supposed to talk back with them in Spanish, to practice our speaking skills also.
Last but not least, I believe that you have to at least like, if not love the language you are taking for it to not be a chore. I love learning Spanish, and I think it’s fun to be able to speak in another language.