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Different languages around the world

Written by: Stephanye Schäfer

From: Palmela, Portugal

Edited by: Luana Mayer

You have probably heard the short sentence: ‘Communication is key.’ But to transmit a message, you have to be able to understand it. If the message is not in the language you speak, you won’t be able to comprehend it. Technology has helped us overcome these barriers with google translate and other translation apps. But you cannot always expect to translate it correctly, and it is nearly impossible to keep up a conversation with someone that doesn’t speak your language. Luckily, 17% of the world population speaks English, most of them not fluently, but society can communicate, even if it is the basics. Therefore, English is the most popular language in the world with 1,35 billion speakers. You, who are reading and understanding what I am writing, are one of them. 

There are many reasons why people want to learn a new language: perhaps they were offered a new job opportunity in a foreign country, or they have to learn it in school or even at university as a compulsory subject. Either way, they learn the language, and preferably in the most efficient way possible. 

To do so, the course has to start at the A1 level. There are six levels, going up to C2 (native speaker). The left hemisphere of the brain will help you to learn a new language. Your brain selects one language and inhibits the other. This process takes effort, but the brain adapts to do it more efficiently. This is the reason that bilingual people will find it easier to learn a new language than people that speak a single language.  

These are the guidelines that most language courses follow: firstly, the present tense and some vocabulary is learned. Applications like Duolingo might help you with pronunciation if you don’t have anyone to teach you. Writing words is extremely important for the development of the brain to learn a new language. It is highly recommended to have classes with someone who already speaks the language. It is far more efficient than learning it on your own. From the point that you can more or less understand, the language should be practiced with other people. To do so, it is best to go to the country of origin of that language and stay there for more or less 3 weeks. If it is possible, do a course on the language that you are learning in that country, and in those weeks, you will learn the past and future tense, deepening your vocabulary. 

If you are learning a language from the same family, it will be way easier. For example, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, and French all come from the Latin language and the romance family. If you already know one of these languages and want to learn another from the same family, it will be far less complex than learning German, which comes from the Germanic family.  43% of the world’s population is bilingual, and 13% are trilingual. As you can see, almost half of the inhabitants on earth speak at least two languages fluently, and over 1 Billion speak 3. These people may have parents from different nationalities or went to international schools. 

Concluding, if you are planning on learning a new language and you are still young, don’t waste your time and start learning. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be. This will not only make you more intelligent academically but also allow you to create meaningful connections with people from different countries.

Different languages around the world: Feature Story
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