I was just thinking about what someone wrote on another thread about how most people who do not travel [for a living] speak only one language. Even people who study languages speak only one language for the most part.
So if the average American* speaks only English, and will only speak English, were to study a language in high school, why should he or she have to study a language that would benefit him or her in theory in America if he or she will probably never use it?
For example, my friend Joe took 4 years of Spanish in high school and a couple at university. He barely speaks it, and has never spoken it well because he has never had the need or desire to speak Spanish. So what I am getting at is why should we study Spanish if we will never use it? Could we not study Latin or Greek or Faeroese instead?
* I used American for my example because Americans are notorious for speaking only English. I wonder what other people are like Americans in this reguard? Perhaps the Russians or the Spanish?
"Why should he or she have to study a language that would benefit him or her in theory in America if he or she will probably never use it?"
Because it increases awareness and appreciation of other cultures and one tends to understand one's own language better if he/she has studied a foreign language at some point.
Ah yes. I was just thinking about this question from a purely linguistical point of view. Well, not entirely; there are far too many Americans who take foreign languages and do not know a thing about the culture of the people who speak the certain language.
What did you expect? The American pre-university educational system is an embarrassment. And your example is a bit sketchy, if you ask me. One would think that your friend would *need* to learn Spanish because of all those illegal Mexican immigrants flowing into the U.S.
The real issue here is horrendous immigration policy. Fix that, and you won't need to learn Spanish to survive in the U.S.
They're poor people... Understand them...
By the way, if Mexicans wanna live illegally in the U.S., then they SHOULD learn English. But they don't, so they can't find any jobs (they shouldn't work either but they have to survive)...
"Fix that, and you won't need to learn Spanish to survive in the U.S."
That has to take the cake as the silliest thing David has said yet...and this guy is criticizing other people's education. Oh, boy...
Spanish certainly isn't necessary for survival in the U.S., but it can be a huge asset in certain locations (Southern California, Texas and the area near the border, Florida and here in the Northeast in the NYC area). However, I don't see knowledge of another language as a bad thing.
Any Mexicans that I have ever worked with have been able to learn enough English to get by on the job without too much trouble.
<<horrendous immigration policy>>
Don't you think we need to concentrate on the problems of our own illegal immigrant / asylum issues here in the UK without criticizing the policies of other countries?
I look forward to reading a positive posting from you....when that happens I will even wave the St George's flag...just for you, pal! :-)
It depends which country you're from, in some places people are bilingual, example with Spain, Italy, Swiss, France (less than in the past)
Not of course in all part of the countries, i mean by example all the italians are not bilingual but a lot are in Frioul Venety, many are in Basque Country in France or Spain.....
In my experience, most educated Europeans, especially those from more developed European countries, speak English or maybe even some other foreign language as well. In ex-Yugoslavia people had to learn one foreign language at school, usually English, French, German or Russian, but my parents' generation generally doesn't speak any foreign language unless it's their profession. But nowadays, learning English has become extremely important and I think many young people speak it, especially if they are educated. Of course, things still have to improve, because most ordinary people on the street won't be able to speak English, but I think that is slowly changing. Nowadays you almost can't get a good job if you don't speak English and it is required in the most good jobs.
<<"Why should he or she have to study a language that would benefit him or her in theory in America if he or she will probably never use it?"
Because it increases awareness and appreciation of other cultures and one tends to understand one's own language better if he/she has studied a foreign language at some point.>>
Great answer! ;-) The same thing I'd have written.
Um no; I said the first part, and Mjd said the second.
<<Um no; I said the first part, and Mjd said the second.>>
Yeah, I realised that the first part is yours since it is in quotes. The unquoted part is obviously mjd's contribution. I was agreeing with his rebuttal not your quoted comments :-)
Sanja sez >> most educated Europeans ... speak English <<
So do most educated Americans. The difference being they knew it already and thus had no need to go through the process of acquiring a second language.
Tremmert says : "So do most educated Americans."
Well of course, it is their native language. LOL :)
By the way, I think that learning a foreign language is never a waste of time, even if your native language is English you can benefit from learning a foreign language.