10 Good reasons to learn French

1. A world language: More than 200 million people speak French on the five continents. The Francophonie, the international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 68 states and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the ninth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for more than 750,000 learners.
2. A language for the job market : An ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and North and sub-Saharan Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and number-three destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.
3. The language of culture : French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature, as well as films and songs, in the original French. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane.
4. A language for travel: France is the world’s number-one tourist destination and attracts more than 70 million visitors a year. A little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.
5. A language for higher education: Speaking French opens up study opportunities at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world. Students with a good level of French are eligible for French government scholarships to enrol in postgraduate courses in France in any discipline and qualify for internationally recognised French degrees.
6. The other language of international relations: French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
7. A language that opens up the world: After English and German, French is the third most used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all the continents and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).
8. A language that is fun to learn: French is an easy language to learn. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable for children and adults alike. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French.
9. A language for learning other languages: French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.
10. The language of love and reason: First and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language, often called the language of love. French is also an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.

The 5 Big Advantages to Learning Multiple Languages at Once

So, you’re learning Korean, Spanish and French at the same time?

You’re definitely not one to shy away from a challenge.

It doesn’t matter how much you love languages—learning a few at once can be tricky.

Think back to those desperate moments you spent sitting alone in your room and asking your tired self, “what was I thinking? What’s the point of all of this?”

Well, let me help you answer that question.

Turns out, there’s a lot of advantages to learning multiple languages at once.

Here, I plan to demonstrate that doing it is worth every ounce of effort you put into the task. I’ll give you 5 profound benefits that make learning languages cool—and worthwhile for every person on this planet.

The 5 Big Advantages to Learning Multiple Languages at Once

1. It’s Good for Your Brain

Did you know that your brain can be structurally changed for the better in just three short months?

That’s right! Swedish and German scientists conducted a study on conscript interpreters—people who deal with multiple languages as part of their daily jobs—and measured the size of each one’s hippocampus and cerebral cortex. They then subjected these interpreters to three months of intensive language studies. Military boot camp style!

After 90 days of intense training, the scientists, donning their spotless lab coats, came in and again measured their subjects’ brains. They discovered that their interpreters’ hippocampal regions, along with three other areas of the cortex, had grown significantly. The cortical areas increased in their thickness, indicating higher fire power for these areas of the brain.

Learning multiple languages isn’t only about increasing brain mass, it improves memory as well. Psychologist set out to determine the cognitive differences between monolingual and bilingual children, or if any even existed.

They subjected the children to a battery of mental tasks which measured working memory, executive function, visuospatial span, cognitive quickness and conflict resolution. What they discovered was very telling indeed. Bilingual children outclassed their monolingual counterparts in all test conditions. In short, people who grow up bilingual have faster, more accurate and more robust mental capacities.

If you want your kids to have a head start in life, start them young on the road to learning multiple languages.

Lastly, it’s been known that just speaking a second language can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. One study has shown that being bilingual, as opposed to being monolingual, may delay the onset of dementia for a good 5.1 years.

The brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the sharper and stronger it gets. Multilingual people have the advantage of having brains that are in good shape. The benefits of switching back and forth between languages is priceless.

They have brains that need to recognize, distinguish and analyze the different linguistic patterns, intonations, vocabulary, grammatical rules and idiomatic expressions of different languages. Because of that need to do more, they have well-oiled neurons which are less prone to the detrimental effects of old age.

2. It Saves Precious Time

Imaging that you’re travelling in South America and get lost while on the way to officiate a wedding. You’re standing at an actual crossroad and looking up at two signs. The left one says “Una Via“ (One Way), the one on the right says, “Camino Cerrado Delante“ (Road Closed Ahead). Can you imagine how much driving time you’d save simply knowing what those signs mean?

How about finding yourself at a French mall and badly needing to go to the restroom because your tummy disagreed with the escargot you had for lunch. Can you imagine looking at foreign signs that would score 70 points in Scrabble? Or imagine finding yourself trying to communicate with French men who fake not knowing any English, desperately gesturing and asking where the rest room is.

Wouldn’t life be much easier if you could communicate while abroad in France or Spain? That way you’d make the most of your 5-day vacation instead of spending half of it looking for some dingy rest room.

If learning a second language is such a time saver, how about learning a third and a fourth language? Imagine how much of the world you could navigate!

That being said, learning more than one language at a time requires careful planning and an awesome strategy.

There are two ways of studying multiple languages.

One way is sequentially and the other is simultaneously. The methods are right in the names. Doing multiple languages at the same time (simultaneously) saves time because, in a way, you’re multitasking. Instead of getting fluent in one language in 1.5 years, you become fluent in 2 languages in 2 years.

3. You Can Take Full Advantage of Similarities and Differences Between Languages

One advantage of learning multiple languages at once is that you can play the languages off of one another. You can take notice of (and better remember) the eccentricities of a language by noting its similarities or differences with another tongue.

An example of this are the many cognates shared by romance languages. Cognates are words in different languages that share similar spelling, meaning and pronunciation. Examples in French – Italian – Spanish are:

a) ARM

French: le bras

Italian: il braccio

Spanish: el brazo

b) FEVER

French: la fièvre

Italian: la febbre

Spanish: la fiebre

c) TONGUE

French: la langue

Italian: la lingua

Spanish: la lengua

If you notice, the spelling, meaning and pronunciation of these words (and many, many others) are similar for French, Italian and Spanish, indicating that they have a common etymology.

Cognates are very useful for 2 major things.

1. Vocabulary building. Let’s say you’re studying French, Italian and Spanish simultaneously. In the examples above, instead of building your vocabulary in just one language, you’re building it for 3 at the price of 1.

2. Contextualizing. Cognates are very useful for contextualizing. As I’ve said, you can play the languages off of one another. For example, your new Italian friend told you over the phone, “let’s meet on sabato.” The problem is, you’re not sure if “sabato” is a newly-opened Italian restaurant downtown. Fortunately, you do know that “sábado” is Saturday in Spanish.

In short, knowing a second language puts you at a definite advantage in learning a third or a fourth one. So, why learn it serially when you can do it simultaneously?

4. Tackling Multiple Languages Keeps You From Getting Bored

Another advantage of learning languages simultaneously is that it keeps you alive and alert on the task.

Tired of differentiating ser from estar? Sick of “Buenas dias”? Try a little Anyong Haseyo and discover a whole new soul in the Korean language.

Tired of watching Spanish telenovelas or listening to Latin songs? Try some of the awesome Japanese drama series that currently populate the internet.

as appeared: http://www.fluentu.com/blog/learning-multiple-languages-at-once/?lang=en

Twenty-five Reasons to Study Foreign Languages

  1. Foreign Language study creates more positive attitudes and less prejudice toward people who are different.
  2. Analytical skills improve when students study a foreign language.
  3. Business skills plus foreign language skills make an employee more valuable in the marketplace.
  4. Dealing with another culture enables people to gain a more profound understanding of their own culture.
  5. Creativity is increased with the study of foreign languages.
  6. Graduates often cite foreign language courses as some of the most valuable courses in college because of the communication skills developed in the process.
  7. International travel is made easier and more pleasant through knowing a foreign language.
  8. Skills like problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, are increased when you study a foreign language.
  9. Foreign language study enhances one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, marketing, etc.
  10. A second language improves your skills and grades in math and English and on the SAT and GRE.
  11. Four out of five new jobs in the US are created as a result of foreign trade.
  12. Foreign languages provide a competitive edge in career choices: one is able to communicate in a second language.
  13. Foreign language study enhances listening skills and memory.
  14. One participates more effectively and responsibly in a multi-cultural world if one knows another language.
  15. Your marketable skills in the global economy are improved if you master another language.
  16. Foreign language study offers a sense of the past: culturally and linguistically.
  17. The study of a foreign tongue improves the knowledge of one’s own language: English vocabulary skills increase.
  18. The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other peoples: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature.
  19. Foreign languages expand one’s view of the world, liberalize one’s experiences, and make one more flexible and tolerant.
  20. Foreign languages expand one’s world view and limit the barriers between people: barriers cause distrust and fear.
  21. Foreign language study leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity.
  22. As immigration increases we need to prepare for changes in the American society.
  23. One is at a distinct advantage in the global market if one is as bilingual as possible.
  24. Foreign languages open the door to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, science…
  25. Foreign language study is simply part of a very basic liberal education: to “educate” is to lead out, to lead out of confinement and narrowness and darkness.

-Renate Latimer, Associate Professor Emerita of German

as appeared http://cla.auburn.edu/forlang/resources/twenty-five-reasons/