Foreign Languages in the Life of an Educated Person - Иностранные языки в жизни образованного человека
Today it is quite evident that everyone should know at least one foreign language.
Knowing one or more foreign languages makes it possible to get acquainted with different ways of thinking, to understand a new civilization. Learning a foreign language stimulates mental abilities and gives you a chance to appreciate a new literature, a different culture and to broaden your horizons.
Besides, Knowing foreign languages has a practical value. It makes it easier to choose a profession and provides job promotion. It helps to improve the quality оf your work, because it reduces the time lost on obtaining the necessary information. At present many professions, such as a pilot, a doctor, an engineer, a cosmonaut and many others, require a working knowledge of at least one foreign language.
People all over the world speak almost 3,000 languages. Some languages are spoken by millions of people, others by only hundreds of them. The most wide-spread language in the world is Chinese. 350 million people speak English as their first language. About the same number use it as a second language. Russian is also one of the most prevalent, expressive and rich languages in the world. 240 million people speak Russian nowadays.
Among the great number of languages that exist on our planet today there are some which stand out. Scientists distinguish 13 great languages. These are the languages that are spoken by no less than 50 per cent of people on the Earth. They are Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish, Hindi and Urdu, Indonesian, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, Japanese, German, French, Italian.
A person who knows these languages can speak to and understand almost 2 thousand million people and doesn't suffer from the language barrier. To state the significance of this or that language one must take into consideration not only its prevalence but the quantity of printed production. For instance, the largest number of books is published in Russian including technical literature. The greatest number of press production is published in English. As far as books are concerned, the largest number of them is translated from English, Russian, French and German accordingly.
Today there are a lot of people in Europe and Asia who know several languages. A person who knows several languages is called a polyglot. They are not few. The name of Henrich Schlimann, a famous German archaeologist who discovered Troy is known all over the world. It took him two years to learn the first two foreign languages. Later on it took him several weeks to master another foreign language. Among polyglots there are champions. Thus, Cardinal Mezzophanti who lived in the middle of the last century knew 100 languages. Professor Heestermann from Germany knew 132 languages. The more languages man knows, the easier is the way he masters a new one. As polyglots say it is difficult to begin. Rut when you start learning a third language «everything is going on swimmingly». It In within everyone's power to know, read and speak и foreign language. But one should regard learning n foreign language as a very important and prions task. The knowledge of other languages is very useful, especially if you have to work abroad or If you must read foreign literature in the original. If you know the language of a foreign country, you can talk to it’s people and understand what they are speaking about without anybody's help. The knowledge of foreign languages also helps young people of different countries to develop friendship.
As for me, I am learning English, because in the recent years it has become not only an international language, it is now a number one language in the world. Besides, English is becoming a lingua franca. It is used a great deaI by businessmen from different countries, which don't have a common language, in order to do business. It is already a ligua franca at International conferences. Besides, every person who travels in Europe, Asia or Africa, even in South America gets around by using English. So English is becoming more and more the language for practical use.
English has become the world's most important language in politics, science, trade and cultural relations, aviation, international sport and pop music. It is nowadays second only to Chinese. It is the official language in 44 countries: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Australia, Now Zealand and others. It is used as one of the official languages in Canada, the Irish Republic. It is also spoken as a second language by many people in India, Pakistan and numerous countries in Africa, to say nothing of people all over the world who know English as a foreign language. From the British Isles English spread all over the world. 75 per cent of the world's mail is in English, 60 per cent of the world's radio stations broadcast in English and more than a half of the world's periodicals are printed in English.
It is known, different languages can come into fashion or go out of it. It is generally considered that the most fashionable language in the world nowadays is English. Spanish also becomes very popular. It is learnt nowadays more often than earlier. Oriental languages are also widespread today. Learning a foreign language has a practical value but the choice of a foreign language sometimes depends on a fashion, if under fashion we mean the demands of life and society. Thus, the knowledge of a foreign language today is a life necessity.