The international contacts with all the other countries in all the spheres of science, technology and life are steadily growing. That is why it is quite evident today that everyone should know at least one foreign language.
Knowing one or more foreign languages makes it possible to get acquainted with different ways of thinking, to understand a new civilization. Learning a foreign language stimulates mental abilities and gives you a chance to broaden your horizons.
Besides, knowing foreign languages has a practical value. It makes it easier to provides job promotion. It helps to improve the quality of your work, because it reduces the time lost on obtaining the necessary information.
People all over the word speak almost 3000 languages. Some languages are spoken by millions of people, others by only hundreds of them. Among the great number of languages there are some which stand out. Scientists distinguish 13 great languages. These are the languages that are spoken by no less than 50 per cent of people on the Earth. They are Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish, Hindi and Urdu, Indonesian, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, Japanese, German, French, Italian.
As for English, it has become not only an international language, it is now a number one language in the world. Besides, English is becoming a lingua franca. It is used great deal by businessmen from different countries, which don't have a common language, in order to do business. It is already a lingua franca at international conferences. Besides, every person, who travels in Europe, Asia or Africa, even in the South America gets around by using English. So English is becoming more and more the language for practical use.
English has become the world's most important language in politics, science, trade and cultural relations, aviation, international sport and pop music. It is the official language in 44 countries: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and others. It is used as one of the official languages in Canada, the Irish Republic. It is also spoken as a second language by many people in India, Pakistan and numerous countries in Africa, to say nothing of people all over the world who know English as a foreign language. From the British Isles English spread all over the world. 75 per cent of the world's mail is in English, 60 per cent of the world's radio stations broadcast in English and more then a half of the world's periodicals are printed in English.
It is known, different languages can come into fashion or go out of it. It is generally considered that the most fashionable language in the world nowadays is English. Thus, the knowledge of English is life necessity.
Mr. Lebedev's office has business relations with a lot of foreign firms in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. As a rule, his business partners don't speak Russian but the people at his office know different languages. For example, he speaks English and Spanish. It is very convenient because they do business with many firms in English- and Spanish-speaking countries. He often takes part in talks and it helps him to speak these languages fluently. He also reads foreign newspapers and magazines and listens to radio programmes in these languages.
III. Answer the following questions.
1. What chances does a foreign language give a person?
2. What can you say about practical value of foreign languages?
3. How many great languages do scientists distinguish?
4. Why is English becoming a lingua franca?
5. Where is English the official language?
6. Why is knowledge of English life necessity?
7. What can you say about Mr. Lebedev's working languages?
IV. Express your opinion on the English language importance in everyday life and business relations.
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