23a. Learning foreign languages General information: Studying foreign languages is important for everybody. We have many reasons to study them. We need it for travelling abroad, for reading foreign materials, for business communication and so on. The largest number of people speak Chinese, but the most important language for the world communication is English. It is spoken by around 350 million people. It’s a language of business, technology, science, Internet, sport and culture, world politic, it is used at United Nations.It is used as a first language in countries such as Australia, Canada, GB, Ireland, New Zealand, the USA and many of the countries in the Caribbean. In other countries it is used as a second language, it is a way in which people who have different languages communicate with each other. This is especially true in many parts of Africa and India. In these countries and former British colonies English is an official language. There are five main types of English which differ in pronunciation, spelling. vocabulary and grammar. They are: British English, American English, Australian English, Indian English and African English. Here are some vocabulary differences between British and American English: Flat x Apartment, lift x elevator, post x mail, cinema x the movies, shop x store, biscuit × cookie… Importance of studying foreign language: For Czech it is important to learn foreign languages, because only a few people abroad can speak Czech. And when we can communicate with people from other countries, we have to know some of world language. In our country especially German, English, French, Italy and Russian languages are learned. The most favourite foreign language at Czech schools is German, because we border on Germany and Austria. But the second favourite language is English. It is easier than is Germany and also Germans and Austrians can speak English. Most important is fact that studying another language helps you become more competitive after graduation from school. In my personal experience, learning a foreign language opened up totally new doors and allowed me to have a much broader range of experiences. My experience in studying foreign language: I started to study foreign language on basic school. I have been studying English for nine years. At first it was difficult for me, because the words are other written and other pronounced. I like English because I can understand other people in the world. I started to learn another foreign language on grammar school German. At the beginning I mixed these two languages together. Now I can say that English is much easier than German. First it has no cases. In German there are four cases. Of course it is less than in Czech, we have seven cases, but it made me a lot of troubles, especially because German cases are not same as Czech ones. And not to lie I have to say that I don’t like German for its sound. It sounds me very sharply. If I were allowed to choose my second language I would have chosen French. It has a very nice sound. However I wasn’t allowed, so I have to study German. In my opinion, the most difficult parts of English grammar are tenses. In Czech we have only past tense, present tense and future tense and a special category, which is not in English.. In English there is also past perfect, present perfect and future perfect tense and other confusing categories as a present conditional, perfect conditional. All this tenses can be passive or active, simple or progressive. When I was studying English for some years I realised, there are no emotional nouns. If I want to express my feelings I have to use different ways than I use in Czech. I thing, that learning how to express feelings is the most difficult part of studying a foreign language. If you want to speak good English or German, you have to learn not only vocabulary and grammar but also the mentality of the people that speaks these languages as a mother tongue. Of course, vocabulary is the most important. I have some methods of improving it. I write new words into my wordbook, write the pronunciations and then I find Czech equivalents in a dictionary. Sometimes if the word is irregular I note there also plural or past tense. I read this list of words and try to remember them. Another method of improving my word power is reading English books in originals. Sometimes I listen to music and especially American songs. I understand it but sometimes no because of their dialect. I’m happy if I could learn new words throw radio or TV. Time to time I watch satellite chanells but in the TV news the English speakers speak to quick and sometimes is hard to understand them. The best way is going to a foreign country. Nowadays it is not impossible. Young people can go there as au pairs to families, help them with looking after children, cooking and so on. They can go for three months or two years. It is also a very good experience. Besides schools there are various language courses both for children and adults, either state of private. There are also some TV courses (American English, Business English) and many textbooks and cassettes from abroad are available now but they are too expensive. In bigger cities we can apply for a language school or we can take lessons from a private teacher.
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