What can you expect? You will learn a second language in exciting new ways, using technology and focusing on communication. Learning a language is not just learning grammar and vocabulary; it is learning new sounds, expressions, and ways of seeing things; it is learning how to act in another culture, how to know a new community from the inside.
When should you start and how much can you learn? You are never too young and it is never too late to begin. Depending on how long you study, you can gain different levels of fluency. You will probably not sound like a native speaker who has spoken the language at home as a child. Don't worry; you're not expected to. To a greater or lesser degree you will, however, make yourself understood, read
magazines or books for pleasure or information, and meet and talk with new groups of people. Of course, it doesn't happen overnight. Like learning math, history, or playing the piano, language learning takes time. And it adds to who you are.
Should you continue language study after high school? Yes! Don't waste your investment of time and effort; whatever you have learned is a foundation for further study. Stick with it. Use your second language on the job; seek out opportunities to use it in your community; in college, take more courses, study abroad at intersession or for a summer, a semester, or a year. Some programs teach languages in conjunction with engineering, business, nursing, or journalism. And you might decide to start yet another language. When you study a language, you learn about how to learn a language, so learning the next one is easier.
There's no one answer. Here are the twelve most likely to be offered in your high school or college: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Hebrew, Greek, Chinese, Arabic, and Portuguese. Swahili, American Sign Language, and Navajo -- and 121 other languages -- are also taught in American high schools, colleges, and universities. Whatever language you choose, learning it will make a difference in how you see the world and in how the world sees you.
Source: Modern Language Association
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