Learning Languages

Learning Languages


Posted 2021-02-27 by T. A. Rosefollow

Foreign language learning is of increasing importance worldwide. I've decided not to focus on any particular foreign tongue but to instead base this on a discussion about the benefits of learning languages. A foreign language can be any language aside from a person's first tongue. There are many benefits of learning a language , mainly in a structured setting. I studied foreign languages and scientific languages such as computer programming , so it allows me to understand what the syntax related to foreign languages means, hence making me useful to discuss this. In my own words, syntax is about noticeably different (upon close analysis) order and structure, so in national languages, the way a sentence is structured and ordered based on verbs, subject and object, while in computer programming, it's how in different programming languages the commands are also placed differently. There are over 7000 human languages in use in today's world. My categories of languages are discussed below:

Easier to learn languages: languages are sometimes in an easier to learn category, for reasons such as accessing courses, conversationally, immersion opportunities and sheer level of complexity for a non-native speaker as well as difficulty of grammar . Quite often, the easier languages have lots of speakers worldwide, hence it's viable for an education provider (such as university) to run a course in them, where they can be used for international business, translating, teaching, as well as working overseas. I realise that saying some languages are easy and some hard is a somewhat flimsy assertion, because sometimes people don't find languages hard nor easy, so it instead depends on learning style and native (first) language. I have tried to learn three languages of varying levels of difficulty and find the study required, the link between writing and speaking, as well as the complexity and the structure of the grammar, are at different levels.

Difficult languages: some benefits I have seen from learning harder languages are very subtle and hard to realise. Sometimes even partially learning a really hard, complex or confusing spoken language and perhaps accompanying written aspect can be useful. From experience, I found learning a more challenging foreign language also takes the principles of learning easier ones and steps up or heightens those benefits such as improved memory .

Music: music is not a language somehow. But worth a mention as it has notation and there is a school of thought that it has musical syntax .

Scientific Languages: computer programming uses syntax and unbelievably has grammar. Likewise with math, which somehow has grammar , although some linguists dispute that it is a language. It's because grammar is a form of analysis. Benefits of scientific languages are scientific and sometimes relate to or depend on the other, for example, math and computer programming enhance one another.

Reviving old spoken languages: is something a community can embrace so it has many benefits for that community. So in terms of benefits, those are academic and cultural.

Rare Spoken Languages: some languages are rare because students must travel overseas to learn them so they are hard to learn anyway, so, the benefits are more cross-cultural. Sharing the experience is a strong point and they are useful as a viable way of adding to your formal education/qualifications yet are not always as good as wider spoken languages in that scenario. They'll benefit a student intellectually and socially but are less lucrative and cost money in terms of long term overseas stays to get immersion and lessons. However, most languages can be learnt, if the travel and tuition costs are affordable.

Body-based languages: body language is becoming more understood, the 'silent orchestra' actually generally stems from or relates to psychology studies . Learning them helps in understanding foreign cultures as well as socialising, but there is no grammar in body language. Sign language is also an obvious addition to the array of languages available for learning yet it has complexity and grammar; it is a full language like a foreign language as it communicates everything possible to replace spoken communication.

Linguistics: linguistics is for people interested in foreign language syntax. So linguists are interested in syntactic rules that form grammars. It is a really advanced way of thinking about foreign languages, and requires analysis and tertiary level critical thinking about the underlying rules of languages.

Note, All images from Pixabay.com free of copyright: 1 and 2 is by Gerd Altmann; 3. is by Ryan McGuire 4. is by Oliver Peters.

84346 - 2023-06-11 06:53:15


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