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Is language education a bridge for peace and understanding?

Could language education serve as a bridge for peace and understanding? Is it true that if we could only understand each other better, we might avoid unfortunate actions of violate? Should we invest in education of foreign languages, not only for yourself, but also for the benefit of the entire world? If it is so important, how come many governments avoid from teaching foreign languages in preschools and save it for higher education only?

What do you think, is language education a real bridge for peace and understanding? Is it only a simple form of communication that has nothing to do with relationships between men, cultures and countries?

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16 thoughts on “Is language education a bridge for peace and understanding?

  1. I think it is a good starting point to learn another language ..and to start to think with somebody else’s head..trying to imagine how words are received by the other person ..and also realizing that words are only the starter as they are in themselves not a complete answer..just a tool to get closer.
    It signals a willingness ..willing to learn another language is like an offer which needs a helping hand from those who already speak it ..well I better stop ..

  2. First thing – good topic to talk about. 😉
    I agree with Caroline. I know so many children (including my classmates) who have problems with learning foreign languages. There is no point in confusing them by stuffing foreign languages into their heads, even though they are young and it’s easy for them to learn.
    Our government wants us (students) to study two languages, obligatorily of course. They say that we should start studying the first one (English) in the first grade and the second one (Russian, German, or French) in eight grade. And I say: This won’t work out. So, we’ll see…
    And yes, we will understand each other but it won’t change anything 😉 Wars are about opinions, regimes, proving power, etc., not about plain talks. 😉

  3. I believe it is. To same extent, of course. Learning and then speaking a foreign language, helps us understand other cultures. However, it is not a solution for each and every global problem.

  4. Confusion over languages can cause conflicts. See the movie “Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” where a poor translation from Spanish to English of the word “horse” led to a massive manhunt and miscarriage of justice. I think also of once in Tokyo, where a fellow gaijin complained to me about Japanese people being standoffish but who refused to learn any of the Japanese language. However, I agree with the majority view on this thread: basic conflicts over power and resources are not obviated just because people understand what they say to each other.

  5. Language education should not be neglected or reserved for the later part of life, everybody should be given the oppotunity to learn foreign language at the early stage of education, this will afford them to learn better and with ease. it looks easier to learn language before the brain attain lateralization.

  6. I attended a k-12 school run by the American Embassy in a bilingual country. My classmates were children of diplomats from countries around the world. As children we were immersed into learning Spanish and English. Those students now are Supreme Court Judge in a US state, diplomats throughout the world, lawyers and doctors whose ability to speak several languages has brought them to high paying jobs.

    What I have noticed is that the motivation of the parents, as well as of the teachers in each site, transfers to the student. If both parents and teachers see the value of “another” language then the student is interested in learning it.

    I am not certain that speaking other languages would bring “Peace on Earth.” It does help understand what is the agenda of the other individual. As an example let me provide you with a situation I have lived through: I look caucasiian when I dye my hair blond. Having such look I went to a bank in an area inhabited mostly by Hispanics. I waited over an hour beyond my appointment time to see the new manager. He was busy, he said. I had listened to his conversation. His words to me were lies. He was visiting with friends that were there to applaud him for his new job and seeking one as well. I complained to the company. He had no idea I was able to understand languages other than English. He was re-assigned to a rural area and with my luck is was my “hometown” bank. I have to admit I had excellent service as long as lived there.

    I am not certain about which governments do not favor multilingual education. English is the business language. Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese and German are considered the machinery and technology languages. Then you have the romance languages from the Mediterranean and depending in which part of the world you live and business you need to be well acquainted with it as well.

    Due to business, marketing and trade languages have borrowed words from one another. In my opinion our perspective of a need for multi-lingual acquisition needs to change. With most manufacture being outside of the English speaking countries, the English language is slowly losing its grip in business. “American” English is mostly learned for its use in entertainment.

    In age of instant communication I see the value of language, and I wonder how many of my students were influenced by my perspective. I teach a foreign language and I am always open to learning a new one.

  7. The comments about languages “confusing” children are absolutely ridiculous. Nobody is saying we should be telling children how to congregate verbs or learn the grammatical composition of languages, just to speak them. It should be started at a kindergarten age, with reading books and having basic conversations in a second language. There are no “learning difficulties” in this situation because the child is not aware that they are learning; they are simply communicating and being showed a different way to communicate, a different language.

  8. I think its a positive step in the right direction to support & advocate for foreign language education as a means or vehicle to bridge peace & develop harmony for fruitful co-existence but I believe that tolerance, love, righteousness, acceptable attitudes, respect for our differences, etc are d core needs of a progressive living… & they are universal, they are unnegotiable wherever we come from & whoever we are, d basic necessity of any real form of learning should not be less of such kind of educational content


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