Why is it important to teach a second language?

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(413 words)

TASKS:

  1. There are at least 3000 spoken languages in existence today.  T/F

This is true, it has been estimated that the peoples of the world speak at least 3,000 or more different languages although it can be estimated that there are as many as 10,000.

2. Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. T/F

This is true, with 400 million people speaking Chinese (Mandarin), although If the English language is included with its second language use then this would be the most widely spoken language.          

3. Some countries have more than one official language. T/F

This is true of some countries that are made up of many peoples. They speak different languages.  For example, Switzerland has four national languages – German, French, Italian, and Romansch with German existing in two major dialects.  Belgium counts French and Flemish. Canada has two official languages, English and French.

4. Bionic and laser are words that have been in the English language for more than 100 years. T/F

This is false. One specific feature of English is the ease with which new words can be introduced or formed to meet the communication needs of science, popular culture, politics, administration and ordinary speech. The two examples ‘Laser’ and ‘bionic’ are recently adopted words. It can be seen that the English language has an exterior that is forever changing but the core stays the same. An example of this peripheral evolvement of the English language is shown by there being every year a new buzzword (“a word or expression from a particular subject area that has become fashionable because it has been used a lot especially on television and in the newspapers”). The buzzword for 2004 was ‘Chav’. This is a noun which describes young men who wear cheap gold jewellery and baseball caps and hang around in shopping centres all over Britain.

5. English is widely used as an international language in science, commerce academic study, and training. T/F

There are many nations whose unique languages are spoken by no more than a few million people. This is the case with several countries of Europe such as the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland, and part of Belgium. For these kinds of countries simply to have a large enough market for publication, many books especially scientific, technical, or academic are printed in English. For them, English has become the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, and diplomacy and also on the Internet.

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