1. Studying the English language in an English-speaking country is the best but not the only way to learn language.
Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Studying a language in a country where it is widely spoken has many advantages. It is, therefore, a good idea to study English in a country such as Britain. However, I believe it is not the only way to learn the language.
In the first place, most students in non-English-speaking countries learn English at secondary school, and sometimes at university nowadays. Although their spoken English is not usually of a very high standard, their knowledge of grammar is often quite advanced. This is certainly useful when students come to an English-speaking country to perfect the language.
Secondly, studying the basics of English at secondary school is less stressful than learning the language while overseas. This is because students living at home do not have to worry about problems such as finding accommodation, paying for their study and living costs, and trying to survive in a foreign country where day to day living causes much stress.
However, there are obvious advantages of learning English in Britain. Every day there are opportunities to practise listening to and speaking with British people. Also, students can experience the culture firsthand, which is a great help when trying to understand the language. This is especially true if they choose to live with a British family, as exchange students for example. Furthermore, if students attend a language school full-time, the teachers will be native speakers. In this case, not only will students’ speaking and listening skills improve, but attention can be given to developing reading and writing skills as well.
In general, even though it is preferable to study English in an English-speaking country, a reasonable level of English can be achieved in one’s own country, if a student is gifted and dedicated to study.
2. Learning a foreign language offers an insight into how people from other cultures think and see the world. The teaching of a foreign language should be compulsory at all primary schools.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this view?
Language is linked to the identity of a nation, and speakers of a common language share many things, but does this give governments the right to restrict the way a language is used or taught?
It can be argued that a nation maintains its culture through its language, and so there is a need to restrict the use of foreign words and changes in pronunciation. However, in reality this approach is fruitless, because language is a living thing and it is impossible to stop it from changing. This policy has been tried in some countries, but it never works. People, especially young people, will use the language that they hear around them, and which separates them from others; stopping the use of certain words will only make them appear more attractive.
As for spelling, we all know that the English system is irregular and, I believe, it would benefit from simplification so that children and other learners do not waste time learning to read and write. On the other hand, some people may feel, perhaps rightly, that it is important to keep the original spelling of words as a link with the past and this view is also held by speakers of languages which do not use the Roman alphabet.
While it is important for people who speak a minority language to be able to learn and use that language, it is practical for education to be in a common language. This creates national pride and links people within the society. Realistically, schools are the best place for this to start.
Ultimately, there is a role for governments to play in the area of language planning, particularly in education, but at no time should governments impose regulations which restrict people’s linguistic freedom.