Why Study Foreign Languages

The tale of the Babel Tower: There was a time when the whole earth had one language. And as men migrated from the east, they decided to build a Tower with its top in the Heavens, lest they be scattered upon the face of the whole world. But the Lord foiled them by confusing their language so that they could no longer understand one another — Genesis 11

Was the Tower of Babel a curse or a blessing for humanity? Decide for yourself after you read this page!

Language Study in the Age of Globalization

KNOWING another language enriches your personal life, expands the range of professional opportunities open to you, and increases your power to act as a citizen of the world.

Tower of Babel

AT LEWIS UNIVERSITY you can begin studying a new language or build on your knowledge of a language that you have already studied. Every semester the Program of Foreign Languages offers around 10 foreign languages. Lewis' program may also be the first chance for you to study such languages as Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, and Arabic.

FORGET THE MYTH that you have to learn languages as a child: in the classroom young adults can be faster and more effective learners than small children.

Directly and indirectly the study of languages will provide you with important JOB-RELATED KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS that can give you a competitive edge. These include the ability to solve problems, to think analytically and creatively, to communicate effectively and confidently in writing and in person, and to act with versatility and flexibility. Because you can communicate and connect with people of other cultured and nationalities, you will be able to ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS. IN BUSINESS, any cross-cultural effort for cooperation, sales, or negotiation will benefit from your experience of other languages. Just by being able to talk to more people, you increase the number of people your business can deal with. To be an effective professional, such as a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, educator, artist,or scientist, INVESTIGATING NEW KNOWLEDGE IN OTHER LANGUAGES is essential in the increasingly international workplace.

Study of language, like history, philosophy, or mathematics, helps you develop the ANALYTIC SKILLS needed to be an effective participant in local and national discussions. Studying language can help you FOLLOW INTERNATIONAL EVENTS WITH INSIGHT, opening up perspectives to make you an informed and RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN OF YOUR COUNTRY AND THE WORLD. Foreign Language study contributes to achievement of national goals, such as economic development or national security.

Language study introduces you to new realms of ideas, customs, habits, and values. The 21st century places new demands on people's GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE. As the Internet has changed the way we think about the transfer of information, so has it eliminated the sense of distance between us and the citizens of the world. MATERIALS FROM AROUND THE WORLD are available to every person who has access to computer.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of language study is an EXPANDED UNDERSTANDING OF DIVERSE, CULTURALLY ROOTED ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS. We cannot begin to imagine how much ethnic and cultural values differ until we gain access from the inside, through language. Language preserves the history and traditions of a people, through speakers' common understanding of the meanings of words, expressions, and texts. Only on a foundation of such INSIDER KNOWLEDGE can cultural understanding be achieved.Studying even one language dramatically increases your sensitivity to linguistic and cultural difference, exposes you to MODES OF THOUGHT OUTSIDE YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE, teaches  and encourages respect for other peoples.

Learning a foreign language contributes to the creation of your personality. Many people who study languages and cultures are surprised to find the experience transformative. Students of language discover WAYS OF SEEING THE WORLD that they did not suspect. For some, developing knowledge of a second language and culture is like EXPANDING ONE'S PERSONALITY, acquiring options that are both enriching and liberating. Some students find particular satisfaction in reading texts and hearing stories in the original language, in experiencing authors in their own voices. Others gain a sense of achievement from being able to participate more fully in national and international politics and events.

While you gain an appreciation for the world outside your own, contact with other cultures will give you NEW PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR OWN LANGUAGE, culture, and society. The comparisons that you can make between your language and the one you learn will lead to a greater understanding of the nature of language itself. Studying even one language will make you more aware of how you use your own language as well. it will make you more aware of how you use YOUR OWN LANGUAGE.

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