Final Paper

Final Paper - Greta Streed Engl 333 Language Matters Just a...

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Greta Streed Engl 333 Language Matters Just a few weeks ago I found myself taking a placement exam to figure out what Spanish class I should take next semester. It’s been two years since I’ve been in a formal Spanish class and as I bumbled through the questions I knew that I should be more prepared than I was. Three years of high school Spanish and off again on again spotty Spanish in elementary school has done very little to move me towards fluency. At nineteen years old I speak only one language. I’m sure that most of our population would also find this statement true about themselves at any age; unless they grew up in a home that spoke a second language most people do not attain fluency in a second language. Yet, take a trip to Europe as I did last summer and you’ll discover that almost everyone speaks their native language, English and usually a third language. Their secret? Start early. In a study done in 2001 researchers found that most countries have mandatory foreign language requirements, these requirements are implemented at age eight whereas in the United States most students aren’t exposed to foreign language instruction until fourteen (Tagliere, 2007). Language is the key to communication, life as we know it would cease to exist if we ceased to communicate. So why are we so unwilling to spend the money and take the time to learn new languages? When my mom interviews new employees for her company the first thing she checks for is a second language. Recently they secured a job with the Russian government over several other competing companies because one of their sales people happened to speak Russian. It’s undeniable that language is necessary and speaking multiple languages can benefit you in many ways, what’s debatable is when to teach it. Waiting until high school is too
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late for students to have enough time to perfect the language and gain fluency. In the current economic situation and with widespread budget cuts language programs are often the first to go, but what are students losing out on when they’re cut? We can’t afford to lose out on learning language early. Experts say the sooner the better, studies dating back to the 1960s report that the ideal time to begin learning a language is in elementary school (Tagliere, 2007). Children who study foreign language in elementary school are shown to “have greater
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This note was uploaded on 07/27/2011 for the course ENGL 341 taught by Professor Danielle during the Fall '10 term at CSU Chico.

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Final Paper - Greta Streed Engl 333 Language Matters Just a...

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