Foreign language

A foreign language is a language originally from another country than the speaker. However, there must a be defined distinction between foreign and second language. It is also a language not spoken in the native country of the person referred to, i.e., an English speaker living in Spain can say that Spanish is a foreign language to him or her. These two characterisations do not exhaust the possible definitions, however, and the label is occasionally applied in ways that are variously misleading or factually inaccurate.

Some children learn more than one language from birth or from a very young age: they are bilingual or multilingual. These children can be said to have two, three or more mother tongues: neither language is foreign to that child, even if one language is a foreign language for the vast majority of people in the child's birth country. For example, a child learning English from his English father and Irish at school in Ireland can speak both English and Irish, but neither is a foreign language to him. This is common in countries such as India, South Africa, or Canada due to these countries having multiple official languages.

In general, it is believed that children have advantage to learning a foreign language over adults. However, there are studies which have shown adult students are better at foreign language learning than child students. It is because adults have pre-existing knowledge of how grammar works,[1] and a superior ability of memorizing vocabulary.[2]

Foreign language education and ability

See main article: Language education

Most schools around the world teach at least one foreign language and most colleges and high schools require foreign language before graduation. By 1998 nearly all pupils in Europe studied at least one foreign language as part of their compulsory education, the only exception being Ireland, where primary and secondary schoolchildren learn both Irish and English, but neither is considered a foreign language (although Irish pupils do study a third European language). On average in Europe, at the start of foreign language teaching, learners have lessons for three to four hours a week. Compulsory lessons in a foreign language normally start at the end of primary school or the start of secondary school. In Luxembourg, Norway and Malta, however, the first foreign language is studied at age six, and in Flanders at age 10.[3] In Wales, all children are taught Welsh from the first year of primary school. The Welsh language is also compulsory up to the age of 16, although a formal GCSE qualification is optional.

In some countries, learners have lessons taken entirely in a foreign language: for example, more than half of European countries with a minority/regional language community use partial immersion to teach both the minority and the state language. This method is also highly used in Canada, wherein anglophone students spend all of most of their lessons learning the materials in French.

In 1995, the European Commission's White Paper on Education and Training emphasised the importance of schoolchildren learning at least two foreign languages before upper secondary education. The Lisbon Summit of 2000 defined languages as one of the five key skills.[citation needed]

Despite the high rate of foreign language teaching in schools, the number of adults claiming to speak a foreign language is generally lower than might be expected. This is particularly true of native English speakers: in 2004 a British survey showed that only one in 10 UK workers could speak a foreign language and less than 5% could count to 20 in a second language. In 2001, a European Commission survey found that 65.9% of people in the UK spoke only their native tongue.[citation needed]

Since the 1990s, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages has tried to standardise the learning of languages across Europe.

An article from The Atlantic claims that only 1 percent of the adults within the American population consider themselves proficient in speaking a foreign language. This is in stark contrast to many other countries, where the percentage is much higher. Even though there are many benefits that come with learning a foreign language, schools across the United States continue to cut foreign language from their budgets.[4]

Pronunciation

Instruments for foreign language learning

In recent years, computer-assisted language learning has been integrated into foreign language education and computer programs with varying levels of interactional relationship between computer and the language learner have been developed.[5] Language learning aids such as foreign language writing aid and foreign language reading aid, targeted at the specific language skills of foreign language learners, are also alternative instruments available for foreign language learners.

Other Languages
العربية: لغة أجنبية
Deutsch: Fremdsprache
eesti: Võõrkeel
Esperanto: Fremda lingvo
한국어: 외국어
hrvatski: Strani jezik
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa asing
עברית: שפה זרה
Kiswahili: Lugha ya kigeni
lietuvių: Užsienio kalba
македонски: Странски јазик
Nederlands: Vreemde taal
日本語: 外国語
polski: Język obcy
Basa Sunda: Basa kosta
татарча/tatarça: Чит тел
Tiếng Việt: Ngoại ngữ
粵語: 外文
中文: 外语