The benefits of e-learning a foreign language

Written by Kevin Muller | Updated: Aug 22 2011, 08:10am hrs
Today, all of us dwell in a highly competitive world where survival of the fittest is the mantra, whether its social, economic, political, biological or professional context we take into consideration. Following such trends one has to have an edge over his/her contemporaries in order to do well and achieve his/her goals.

Professionally if we are to talk then education in the last two decades has played a pivotal role in peoples lives and has been one of the key factors behind the success of people. The world today stands at the threshold of one global economy. Most of the companies, today, have either expanded beyond the territorial borders or are willing to do so in the near future. This approach of looking out for business opportunities not only expands the companys horizons but also gives them access to the potential markets in a foreign land or provide services to their client base.

The need analysis reveals that apart from having a highly competent and efficient human resource, todays companies also have to have linguistically well equipped and culturally adapted mind sets in their workforce. A foreign language serves the purpose and also adds a flavour to the curriculum vitae.

French, in that case, being the second most spoken language after English, enjoys a popular status. Spoken in almost 82 countries with 77 million first language speakers and 51 million second language speakers, French is also widely used in various international organisations such as the United Nations, World Health Organisation, African Union, World Trade Organisation, Amnesty International, Council of Europe, European Commission, Interpol, International Olympic Committee, International Red Cross and Red Crescent, Mdecins Sans Frontires (Doctors Without Borders), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, etc.

The benefits of learning French are:

Communication: A major reason behind learning a foreign language is to be able to communicate in that language. This might be concerned with the people that you encounter while travelling or the people that you meet in your own countries or communicate on business or personal terms. Knowing the other persons language shows that you their respect their language and also puts the speaker at ease with you.

Cultural understanding: Speaking a new language doesnt confine to being familiar with the words, diction and grammar but also exposes the learner to the cultural connotations of those countries and culture and language share a symbiotic relationship. Be it proverbs, idioms, popular phrases or the colloquial words enrich the learners understanding and open the mind to new way of thinking and understanding.

Professional viability: To be able to speak French increases your job opportunities and also makes your CV more attractive to the recruiters. Its adds on an edge. Recruiters prefer candidates who speak foreign languages.

Language learning: Language learning increases your knowledge base. Learning a second language is always easier since you have already learnt one language and you are familiar with the various intricacies that one has to consider while learning a new language. Since a lot of languages are very similar to each other in terms of vocabulary or grammar rules, one can improve ones test scores of GMAT or SAT as 40% of words in English come from French.

The author is CEO of clickonfrench.com, a project of the Embassy of France