Or do they?
Many of you know that I have moved on to a new job but the lovely team at Europe Direct Leeds have invited me to write a guest post.
In my mind it is very rewarding and important to learn a second (or third) language. Among other things it helps your self-esteem, your communication skills, your adaptability and flexibility. It broadens your mind and helps you understand other cultures. It also helps the economy by making you more employable (in the UK and abroad) and by encouraging global business connections and relationships.
Sometimes it’s even just nice to be able to greet your hosts or business partners with a few sentences in their own language to make them smile and break the ice.
There are so many opportunities to promote language learning and help learners get involved. Apart from the obvious courses or teaching languages in schools and universities, learners can get involved independently. You don’t even have to be in school or at university to learn a language. The internet has free resources for all languages (and don’t forget online newspapers!), and even your local library will have language learning resources and foreign language books for you to read or listen to.
There are some good initiatives out there at the moment, encouraging people to learn languages:
Language Rich Europe promotes the importance of multilingualism and is working towards better policies and practices for multilingualism.
Routes into languages works with schools and universities to encourage more people to learn languages.
Speak to the future also works towards getting more people into languages.
Languages work introduces careers with languages – there are many you wouldn’t think of immediately
I hope this has given you a taste of what’s happening with languages at the moment. Why not pop into your local library and give it a try? Or even join Europe Direct’s language exchange for free?
Bis bald, Carolin
Follow on Twitter: @LeedsLangCentre