THE ADVANTAGES OF LEARNING FRENCH AND SPANISH

Did you know that over half the words in the English language originated from Latin. In specialized areas such as cuisine and clothing there are hundreds of French words found in English. French and Spanish are both romance languages and have their roots in Latin. It would make sense that either French or Spanish would be a language of choice to study since both languages have Latin roots just like English. English, French and Spanish share many cognates. There are thousand s of English words that have Latin origins and closely resemble words in French and Spanish.

It would be easy for many students studying French and Spanish to do well since English/ French and Spanish share many of the same cognates. The words in the new language could be looked upon as a very handy tool for learning and recognizing unfamiliar or unknown words in their own language. It is very clear that the study of both French and Spanish offers a tremendous asset in developing a richer and more advanced English vocabulary. Here are some examples.

Latin /Spanish Derivative /French derivative/ English Equivalent

Amicus/ Amigo/ Ami /Amicable, friend

Numerous/ Numero /Numéro/ Number

Bonus/ Bueno/ Bon /Good, bonus

Veritas /verdad /Vérité /Truth, veritable

Magister/ Maestro /Maitre/ Magisterial, teacher

Avarus /Avaro /Avare /Avaricious, greedy

Oculus /Ojo/ Oeil /Ocular, eye

I believe as a nation if we want to remain competitive in an ever changing global world, we must change our priorities. Football players and actors earn millions of dollars; yet as a nation we can’t finance early childhood education properly. There is compelling evidence that the earlier a child is exposed to a new language the easier it is for that child to master that language. Foreign language study should be available for all children starting with first grade. In Austria, a student must have eight years of instruction in a modern or classical foreign language before being admitted to a university. It is not unusual for students in Sweden to have taken nine years of English before high school. Even a country like Egypt, requires six years of English study. Here in the united states less than 8 percent of our colleges have a foreign –language entrance requirement. We are the only country where one can graduate from some colleges without having studied a foreign language prior to or during the college years.

The benefits of expanding one’s horizons by becoming fluent in a second language are numerous. It is truly very rewarding to be able to communicate directly and comfortably with other people, I know of no greater joy than that. I have been called to a mission, that mission is to inspire others to be open to learning a new language.

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