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Why study languages?

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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.

After studying this course, 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.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 5 hours
  • Updated Monday 29th February 2016
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Languages
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Why study languages?


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In this course, 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.

Find out more about studying with The Open University by visiting our online prospectus [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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