Sybille Rieupeyroux, the Home-School Tutoring Area Advisor for South Surrey (who was born in France but now lives in England) explains why all of us could benefit from learning a foreign language. She writes:
“Nowadays, knowing a foreign language has many benefits. International tourism is becoming more and more accessible and the internet is part of our daily lives.
There is so much to learn from trips abroad and foreign websites. Knowing a foreign language can open many doors, and the younger we learn the better.
Children up to the age of 6 can reproduce any sound. After that it becomes more difficult but I have, through the years tutored adults who decided to start learning French late – for various reasons, some for their job, others because they bought a property in France – and I have seen most of them succeeding in acquiring a level of language that is sufficient to be able to understand and communicate.
I find though, that parents often don’t give importance to foreign languages any more when it comes to helping children make choices, and I believe this is a mistake.
Learning a language uses a different part of the brain too: it is good brain activity for anyone.
There are other, among many, reasons why we or our children should learn French and here are my top 10:
1) French is spoken all over the world: 260 million people speak French. It is the only language other than English to be spoken on 5 continents.
2) Along with English, French is a language that helps in finding a job: speaking English and French will improve your opportunities when entering the international world of work.
3) French is a cultural language: French is the international language of cuisine, fashion, dance, visual art and architecture.
4) A language to learn in French universities: France has the best universities and business schools and foreign students can obtain scholarships from the French government.
5) A language for travelling: France is one of the most visited countries with over 70 million visitors every year. French is also a language that will give you access to tourism in Canada, Switzerland, Africa, Monaco, the Seychelles and more.
6) A language to help in learning other languages, especially Latin ones like Spanish or Italian: They are all very similar and when you know one you can soon understand the other. French also gives English 50% of its vocabulary!
7) An ‘official language’: French is the other official language (alongside English) of the UN, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee and the International Red Cross.
8) An open door onto the world: After English and German, French is the third language before Spanish on the Internet. Nowadays it is not enough to learn one foreign language.
9) A language to train and study: French is a must in many areas such as law, international relations, the history of art, food and hotel industry, tourism, cosmetology and fashion.
10) A pleasant language to learn: learning French is first of all about learning a beautiful language often called the language of love.”