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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several in my Mariette's Back to Basics LLC Boutique, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

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Monday, March 30, 2015

{Second Languages}

In husband Pieter's magazine: 'The Rotarian' from February 2015, there was a very interesting article about Facts of the Matter - Second Languages.
TWENTY-SIX PERCENT of U.S. adults and 25% of British adults speak a 2nd language. In the European Union, 63 percent of adults know at least one foreign language. Ninety-eight percent of people in Luxembourg speak at least one foreign language, and 84 percent speaks three languages. In Latvia, the percentage of people who speak at least one foreign language is 95; the Netherlands, 94; Malta, 93; Lithuania and Slovenia, 92; and Sweden, 91.

GLOBALLY, the most widely spoken language is Mandarin Chinese, which has nearly two billion native speakers, and the most popular second language is English, which has 335 million native speakers. More than one billion people are studying English today; it is the most studied foreign language in China. In the United States, Spanish is the most studied; Chinese is seventh.

THE GOVERNMENT of India recognizes Hindi and English as official national languages, but most Indians speak a third language as well: that of their region. All three are usually taught at school.

BILINGUAL SPEAKERS outdo monolinguists at problem solving, planning, decision making, multitasking, remembering directions, and other mentally demanding tasks. They're also better at staying focused and shifting their attention when needed. Speaking two languages may help delay Alzheimer's symptoms.

YOUNG CHILDREN are assumed to be the best language learners: They have twice as many brain synapses as adults and haven't yet burdened their minds with such things as remembering social security numbers or learning to drive a car. But researchers say their real edge is a heightened ability to mimic pronunciation: Studies show that, with ample practice and instruction, adults learn new languages almost as well as kids do, except for pronunciation. Also, adult learners have to master much more vocabulary than kids to seem proficient.

THE EASIEST language for native English speakers to master include Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian; each requires 23-24 weeks or about 600 class hours, to become proficient. The hardest languages for native English speaking are Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, which require 88 weeks, or 2,200 class hours.

THE TOP FIVE languages for business are English, Mandarin, French, Arabic and Spanish. The British Council says English is the lingua franca of publishing, airports, air traffic control, international conferences, science and technology, diplomacy, sports, pop music, and advertising. Eighty percent of the world's electronically stored information is in English. The market for digital English-language learning products is forecast to reach US $ 3.1 billion by 2018.

RESEARCHERS AT THE Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculated the return on investment for English speakers of learning a second language: It boosts earnings only about 2 per cent. For Spanish, the return is 1.5 per cent; French 2.7 per cent; and German 4 per cent. Similar studies in Turkey, Russia and Israel, however, found a 10 to 20 per cent return on investment for people learning English as a second language.  — KATE NOLAN

34 comments:

  1. i don't know a second language. since moving to texas, i've thought spanish would have been handy to know. i'm impressed by europeans' knowing 2 and 3 languages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Theresa,
      Well, as for Spanish, that rapidly became my 5th language when we moved to the USA. In order to continue with my job, I had to learn that!
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  2. I think it's great to learn different language. We really learn their culture by doing so. English has been always my favorite subject at school. In college, I learned French a little bit but I forgot most of it. Recently, I bought French lesson CD so hopefully I can re-learn it :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Tamago,
      Each foreign language we speak is an asset for life and it also is the only way for learning about another culture! By reading some French blogs, it sure does bring back that memory as it actually never is completely forgotten.
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  3. I am Bilingual and have acquired Chinese language on a practical level after living there for 8 years. Now, learning Russian. It is a great thing to learn languages as it does not only keep your brains sharp, it's also a very good way to learn that country's culture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Mari,
      Wow, you acquired some very hard to learn languages as it is for sure not easy to learn Chinese, nor Russian. Hats off to you for being able to do so.
      Yes, you are absolutely right about it being a very good way to learn a country's culture!
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  4. Dearest Mariette,
    I just agree to disagree on the lots of allowed everyone is entitled to their point of at school.
    The world differently be respactiful and when I has only English.
    Thank you with me ..even after my exercise for the brain and my golfing next time I has good news!
    Hugs and love to you both!
    Michiko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Michiko,
      Certainly I do admire you very much for having mastered English, being from Japan. It is the best brain exercise and let's hope it will pay off in the end.
      Sending you hugs and love from both of us.
      Mariette

      Delete
  5. Liebe Mariette,

    durch die Sprache verständigen wir uns.
    Deshalb sind Sprachen so wichtig.

    Alles Gute
    Elisabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liebe Elisabeth,
      Ja sicher, Sprachen sind die einzig gute Kommunikation und es hilft uns um Geistlich fit zu bleiben.
      Liebe Grüsse,
      Mariette

      Delete
  6. Hello Mariette,
    I must from Luxemburg, then!!!
    Very interesting post.
    Hugs from France

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Noushka,
      You belong already to the special group of multi lingual people. It sure is a blessing and for living in a foreign culture a must.
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  7. Liebe Mariette,
    das ist ein sehr interessanter Beitrag.
    Liebe Grüße!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liebe Michaela,
      Ja die Fremdsprachen sind sehr gut für unser Gehirn und es hilft um anderen Kulturen besser zu verstehen.
      Liebe Grüsse,
      Mariette

      Delete
  8. Het is een wonder dat we elkaar nog allemaal kunnen verstaan met zoveel talen in de wereld. Gelukkig spreken veel mensen meer dan 1 taal. Ik heb op school nog drie talen moeten leren, frans, duits en engels maar las laatst dat bijvoorbeeld duits en frans bijna niet meer gekozen wordt op middelbare scholen nu en dat ze ook er ook bijna geen docenten voor kunnen vinden. Toch een verarming als iedereen alleen maar engels spreekt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beste Marianne,
      Ja,vreemd genoeg moet ik zeggen dat, alhoewel ik Engels moet spreken, ik het geen mooie taal vind als zodanig. Maar helaas,er gaat veel verloren zo en Frans, Italiaans en Spaans zijn zo'n melodieuze talen, ook Duits heeft heel veel. Jammer en ook dat er een schaarste aan docenten is!
      Liefs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  9. I agree. My children are all 6 and under, but they speak Italian pretty well...although since we live in the States, English is their main language. I have always loved languages, and it's true that in other Countries most people do speak a second language fluent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Daniela,
      Your children are very fortunate and it does help them for the rest of their lives. Most European countries do very well in speaking a second language fluent, also in Asia as we learned by living and working there.
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  10. Hello Mariette, Those statistics from MIT are kind of strange. Since they are averages, they cannot represent how valuable language skills are to individual people, which can be very great or very little. Also, these figures don't factor in employability. For example, a clerk in a store who can speak with customers in several languages might not make more than the other clerks, but will probably be retained if the store has to reduce its staff. In that case, the important consideration is not the increase in salary, but the comparison of the old salary to none at all. Incidentally the apparent increase in value for English ability might be part of the reason that Americans have less incentive to learn different languages--not that I am excusing them on that score!

    A lot of English speakers can get along in Taiwan with no Chinese skills, but what a lot they are missing--exploring on your own, making local friends, reading signs and labels, and really taking part in things are all rewarding enough without factoring in dollars and cents.
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Jim.
      Sure, MIT's statistic's are not telling an accurate story. My husband Pieter always used the example of his professor about statistics: 'Grandpa of age 80, walks with his grandson, age 4 and their average age is 41!'
      The true value of any language is very hard to measure and for showing these 'return on investment figures' is not always measurable in economics because the cultural value etc. is much more.
      Both of us have experienced how priceless the knowledge about a foreign language can be. By the way, I can handle seven languages and I tell you that if you would live abroad and NOT master the native tongue, you pay dearly as you get often treated like an outsider or tourist and will be cheated on. The cultural value for being able to interact with the locals is even more valuable! We agree completely but the fact that it benefits your mental well being is something we did value most from this article! That would be the most rewarding.
      Kindest regards,
      Mariette

      Delete
  11. Dear Mariette, very interesting post!
    I speak English,my daughters speak English and French language !
    But in The Netherlands i agree,they speak perfect the English language !
    Wishing you a lovely week!Hugs!
    Dimi...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Dimi,
      You and your family sure are bi-lingual and yes, in The Netherlands most people do speak very well English!
      Hugs to you and a lovely spring week as well.
      Mariette

      Delete
  12. I have often wished I could speak another language but alas I don't

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Jo-Anne,
      Well, if there is no need for it, that is also a different thing.
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  13. Interesting information. I don't always believe all the research and statistics. 'Some people just have a knack for learning languages. It helps if you have the desire and most Americans don't have reason to learn one. I remember taking French in 5th grade but don't recall anything about it. I'm not sure that any amount of classroom hours would help me speak Arabic if I haven't learned it after 20 years of living in Kuwait. :) I have friends who speak it fluently just by ear. A Romanian friend speaks at least 6 languages fluently -- her husband speaks his native language of Arabic, her native language and English. I wish language learning just came naturally to me, but it doesn't. Even my boys didn't have the desire to learn Arabic, their father's fault -- so they will never be fluent, and likely will forget it all in a matter of time. A shame as I think it is a great skill set to have. Best wishes, Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Tammy,
      Of course not all the statistics and research are valid but a fact is that you must have a real desire for learning any foreign language! Also living and working in a foreign country helps and it pays off in many ways. Your Romanian friend is talented and so is her husband as Arabic is rather different than any Roman language. I don't speak any language that not uses the Roman alphabet but still manage my seven different ones. For your boys it is true I guess that we all speak our 'mother' tongue as it is seldom that a father teaches the children how to speak. It would have been a big bonus I guess.
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  14. Liebe Mariette,
    das ist wieder eine sehr interessante Ausführung.
    Ich danke es meinen Eltern, dass sie darauf bestanden haben, dass ich
    zwei Fremdsprachen lernen musste. Ich gestehe, dass es mir schwer
    gefallen ist - ich war mehr für Mathematik und Geschichte.
    Einen schönen Abend wünscht dir
    Irmi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liebe Irmi,
      Ja dafür kann man seine Eltern wirklich danbar sein und es nutzt einem das ganze Leben durch und besonders während Reisen.
      Ja, Mathematik war auch mein Lieblingsfach und besonders Algebra. Geschichte hat mich immer interessiert und das braucht man um vieles zu verstehen.
      Liebe Grüsse,
      Mariette

      Delete
  15. Dear Mariette,
    I wish that I remembered the French and Spanish that I learned in school, but I have not. I think that you have to have a desire or motive to learn a new language and also, hear it spoken on a regular basis to remember it. If I lived someplace that spoke a language other than English, I would wish to learn that language as I am one of those 'nosy' people who like to know what someone is talking about! :) I do believe that children have an advantage and learn quicker and easier before they are set in their ways. My children took French in school and even visited Paris on their own, but have not retained the language. I'm sure if they heard it spoken again, it would refresh their memories. A good reason to visit Paris! xo
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Karen,
      You are so right about having the desire and motive, based on job mainly, for fully learning any foreign language. It does help if you are surrounded by that foreign language, that way you get submerged into it and it will also stay with you. Children do have an advantage over adults, they are incredible. For both of us, giving seminars in so many countries, we just had to speak those foreign languages and it sure helped me by speaking seven in total. Not easy but oh so rewarding!
      Hugs,
      Mariette

      Delete
  16. Dearest Mariette, this is a very interesting post about foreign languages.
    I am bilingual thanks to my Greek mother and French father, but also learned english and german at school. When I started working, my English got better and better, as for German, I used it a lot with some clients but then, when the german business got much more important, we hired two german speaking people to create a new department and l then lost the contact with Germany and the practice of the language, which I regret a lot. l also understand and speak some Italian. I had even started studying Russian at the university, but then stopped (although I liked it very much). I always loved to learn foreign languages and so do my children, and as you say, it is indeed very rewarding!
    I wish you a lovely month of April, and a very happy Easter!
    Many hugs!
    Marie-Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Marie-Anne,
      You belong to the rare group that speak more than four languages and even can handle up to six. It is rewarding and each language is a new window to the world as we always say.
      Glad that also your children have continued in your footsteps!
      Wishing you a meaningful Holy Week and Happy Easter.
      Hugs and love,
      Mariette

      Delete
  17. Dearest Mariette; So interesting to know that such many people require second language, especially in Europe more than 60% adult is amazing! And I always admire who has the abilities like you do, my friend☆☆☆ 
    We talked about language some times here before ;-) Even though English is the most popular second language, I always think there are 2 factors (among other things) making Japanese hard to require it. One is Japanese's 'vowel' based pronunciation, it REALLY makes us hard to master the usage of tongue and lip. I personally thank the girl who first amazed me by her graceful sound of consonant. She is the one who gave me a desire and motive to know the differences. As a daughter of the doctor she stayed in America for a while. She said that the phrase she constantly heard at first was 'you know what I mean?'. And it sounded like 'yu no wa rai min' (*^_^*)
    Second is the structure of the sentence. In our language, verb comes the last. (I still wonder if this characteristic came from our reserved nature or not :-) Haha, I might have written about these when we first became blog friends p:-)
    I truly feel lucky that I could have friends like you in blog land through English. And my mother might be proud of me (a bit) if she knew that I'm introducing about Japan (a little) through writing blog.
    One personal memory at a gift shop from my trip to Germany, I was trying to ask the staff of extra envelopes of the souvenir for my students. The gentleman behind me translated my English into German♪ Languages is a wonder, you reminded me about the 'Tower of Babel' again p:-)

    PS> I'm happy to read your comment to me about no damage. I DO hope our blessing works, too.  
    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend in America, xoxo Miyako*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Miyako,
      Especially the Europeans are known for speaking several foreign languages. Well, all languages I speak are either Roman languages or Germanic like Dutch/English and German and that is quite different from switching to another alphabet.
      For that, I certainly do admire your ability to be so fluent in writing English! Also the phonetic alphabet of non-English speaking languages is far easier than for learning English! You are certainly right about that big aspect. You were lucky for having been able to learn first-hand from that doctor's daughter who lived abroad for a while and fully understood the ins and outs of English.
      True, the grammar part of sentence building is quite different too.
      Your post was most interesting and yes, I firmly believe in that and for sure those blessings will be upheld for you as well.
      Sending you hugs and admiration from Georgia/USA,
      Mariette

      Delete

Thanks for your visit and comment.

Mariette...

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