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Learning languages and finding out about other countries can be fun, as well as useful, and this free course, Why study languages?, is an introduction to the differences in culture and language about which we all need to be aware. There are 10 independent sections: any selection of them can be studied in any order. Some are about why knowledge of other languages and cultures can be important; others are about what it's like to study a foreign language or to have a career using a foreign language. The course is aimed at secondary school students, age approximately 1116.
Once you have completed this unit you should be able to:
- give examples of how language is related to culture in local, national and global contexts
- describe some traditions related to different cultures, using words from the relevant languages
- explain the importance of learning languages and being aware of cultural differences
- develop strategies for improving foreign language writing and speaking skills
- identify the opportunities for studying languages at school and post-compulsory education
- identify the opportunities for careers in languages and the relevance of language skills in the workplace.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Careers in languages
- 2 Languages and the work environment
- 3 Studying languages
- 4 Language study skills
- 5 Language and culture
- 6 International Christmas
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Why study languages?
In this unit, you will explore how learning languages and finding out about other countries can be both useful and fun. You do not need any knowledge of foreign languages in order to begin.
There are ten sections. You can choose which ones you want to study and you can work through them in any order.
Section 1: Careers in languages – some ways you can use the ability to speak other languages in a job or a career.
Section 2: Languages and the work environment – an exercise in doing business in a foreign country and a foreign language.
Section 3: Studying languages – what it would be like to continue to study languages after compulsory education.
Section 4: Language study skills – how to improve your writing and speaking language skills.
Section 5: Language and culture – ideas for three short plays or sketches.
Section 6: International Christmas – an exploration of the many and different Christmas traditions around the world, as an example of the connections between language and culture.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 1st July 2011
Last updated on: Friday, 12th October 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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