Working effectively in an international economy can be particularly challenging American business professionals.
For too many years we were a country apart, separated from the rest of the world by two great oceans. We grew up thinking that English is the global language and that - of course - everyone should speak English. After all, we were the center of our world.
That worked pretty well when American business served American markets. But the reality is that now Americans are discovering, to their dismay, that we're sadly behind the times. Most people in other countries speak at least two, and frequently as many as a half dozen, languages. People in other countries have traditionally learned to be fluent in several different languages because of their proximity to other countries and nationalities and have made a concerted effort to learn English as well. They have been taught to think globally.
We need to catch up - and quickly!
Fortunately, we're not that far from being able to expand our linguistic skills. language is , after all, simply a set of symbols, terms and rules we use to share information. Language is structured and typically maintains connection with it's origins while evolving to meet regional and nationalistic needs.
We can think of language as four major classifications. We need to have at least a nodding acquaintenace with of the four. And if we are familiar with one language in each classification we can get on farily well, with the others in that same classification.
The major language classfications include:
Germanic Languages and romance languages are most similar to American English. In fact, the language we speak was built on these types of language. So, they will be most natural to our ear and easiest to adapt to.
We can make progress by choosing one language from each classification and, simply immersing ourselves in it. This doesn't need to be terribly complicated, Here are some easy ways to begin the process:
1. Put yourself into situations where you listen to others who speak the language fluently. The ideal is to spend time with people who speak the language and to make it a rule that you will speak to them only in thier language. Radio and TV programs that cater to ethnic audiences are perfect. Alternatively, consider casettes, CDs and software that give structured exposure to the language. Here are some places to find learning opportunities on the Internet:
Find Out Which Is Best Software To Learn German. You'll Find Free Demos & Software Reviews On The Top 4 Learn German Software.
Beginners and Intermediate Learners can find resources here.
2. Listen to familiar music. The advantage to learning a language through music is that it's rhythmic and easy to follow, you already know the meaning of the words you're listening to and you get a sense of the emotional context.
3. Listen proactively. In short order you'll begin to recognize patterns and, more importantly, you'll hear similarities with American English. That's inevitable with both Germanic and romance languages because our language is derived from them. In similar manner, you can start to recognize similar patterns in Asian and programming languages.
There's no time like the present to learn a new language. You're never too old. This one activity will open many doors both online and off in terms of business profits and personal satisfaction.