Why study languages?
Why study languages?

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Why study languages?

2 Languages and the work environment

This section aims to work further on investigating career possibilities open to people with knowledge of modern languages.

These are headlines of news stories that stress the importance of language.

  • ‘Japanese pharma giant chooses UK for European hub.’ Esai – Japan's fourth largest pharmaceutical company – has chosen Hertfordshire as the home of their pioneering European base.

  • ‘Companies to prioritise international markets in search for growth.’ A major new survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit finds that businesses will focus on international over domestic markets in the next three years.

  • ‘To understand overseas customers better, get local, new report tells multinational’

  • ‘Executives within multinational firms agree their organisations would perform better if they gave more control to local managers in overseas markets’, finds a new Economist Intelligence Unit survey and report commissioned by UK Trade & Investment.

Activity 9 Business partners

Timing: You should allow 30 minutes

You are a representative from a British company visiting a possible business partner abroad for the first time. The aim of your visit is to set up an import / export project. This means that the project is aiming to bring products from abroad into the UK (import) and sell products made in the UK to other countries (export). You will need to learn about the country and its products. In addition, you will need to learn a few basic sentences to communicate with your business colleagues abroad in their own language.

Have a look at the BBC languages website. Choose one language from the menu on the left, preferably one you have never studied before. Explore the different dialogues, sentences and situations and write down five to seven sentences that you can use with your business colleagues.

Decide on a country that uses the language you have chosen. Then do some research on the internet to find out some information about that country. Look for information in the following areas:

  • local products available in the country

  • people and customs

  • food

  • weather

  • any other important features.

Now think about the phrase ‘English is not enough’. What do you think this means?

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The phrase highlights the importance of learning languages.

75% of the world's population does not speak English.

60% of Britain's trade is with non-English speaking countries.

65% of people in Britain speak only their own language – every other country in Europe has a wider knowledge of languages.

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