Language Learning Quotes

Learning a new language isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it can be exhausting, frustrating and even infuriating! Here are some inspirational quotations about learning a new language that will hopefully cheer you up and might even remind you of why you’re learning a new language in the first place!


Benefits of Language Learning

Just a quick Ginseng English post to share this great quote from an article in Fast Company about three benefits of language learning:

"New languages give you opportunities to shift your perspective on the world."

Do you agree? How has learning English changed your perspective?

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WRITE TO EXPRESS, NOT IMPRESS

With the strong emphasis on vocabulary in standardized tests, it is not a surprise that many students thing that good writing is about big words. It isn't. Big words can be nice, when used correctly, but never forget that the primary reason we write is to communicate, to express. Only add the big words if they enhance and clarify your meaning, not to impress people with your big vocabulary while learning English!



IS CODING MORE IMPORTANT THAN ENGLISH?

Apple CEO Tim Cook caused some controversy this week when he said that he believes learning coding is more important for students around the world than learning English. His exact words are below:

If I were a French student and I were 10 years old, I think it would be more important to learn coding than English. I’m not telling people not to learn English—but this is a language that you can [use to] express yourself to 7 billion people in the world. I think coding should be required in every public school in the world.
— Tim Cook
 

There were different responses to Cook's words. Some people agreed, and some think he is wrong. Fortune said, "Acquiring coding skills makes financial sense," because coding can help you get many high-paying jobs. But, as Quartz points out, "it’s very difficult to become a good or even decent programmer without working knowledge of English."

What do you think? Is coding the language of the future, or will English remain important?



The Most Important Profession

Ridley Scott—the film director most well known for Blade Runner—just made a powerful statement about teaching at the The British Academy Film Awards after being awarded a BAFTA fellowship.

Scott says, "It's extraordinary what an enthusiastic teacher can do, drawing the student out, igniting independence, and encouraging a design of your own future, rather than waiting for something to happen. Teaching is the most important of all professions. Sort that out and social problems will get sorted out."

We couldn't agree more (but maybe we're biased!). What do you think? 


THE QUIRKS AND BENEFITS OF RAISING BILINGUAL CHILDREN

In an article from The Economist, Lane Green discusses the strategies, challenges, and rewards that he and his Danish-speaking wife observe while raising their two children in a bilingual home. His son makes some cute errors, applying the grammar of Danish to English vocabulary, resulting in phrases like "Come heredown."

This interaction between two languages is called language transfer and many English learners do the same. Spanish and Portuguese speakers will often say to their teacher, "I have a doubt," when the more natural English phrase would be "I have a question." Chinese speakers will often use back as a verb, as they can in Chinese, creating sentences like "I back my home."

In the Economist article, Green mentions misguided teachers and doctors who warn parents to only speak the majority language with their children. This is based on the false idea that bilingualism can somehow harm children. The fact that children are learning two vocabularies simultaneously means that they might make errors (like "heredown") that their monolingual peers do not. But this is a temporary delay. 

The research in fact supports the Greens' intuition, that bilingualism has many cognitive benefits. These include "enhanced attention control," “enhanced perceptual attentiveness,” and better spatial reasoning, among many others.

In the second half of the article, Green discusses some fascinating research on the development of bilingual children's minds. Read the whole article at the Economist!


TWAIN ON LETTER WRITING

This Mark Twain quote is one of our favorites as a Ginseng English teacher:

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.
— Mark Twain

The phrasing is counterintuitive: we are inclined to think longer equals more time. But that's where the true insight of the quotation lies. Writing is deceptive in its simplicity, and anything but linear.  Being concise requires more effort in the form of editing and organizing thoughts than simply pouring your thoughts out onto the page. 

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