We might add... when everyone else speaks English. Well, here are some of the main reasons:

  • Actually, there are many more people in the world who don’t speak English than do!
  • Just think how much time and effort those who have learnt English have put into their studies; shouldn’t we make some effort as well in acknowledgment of this?
  • Even learning a limited amount of the language can make a huge difference to the benefit derived from a trip overseas.
  • Learning a language is often a key to understanding a people and a culture.
  • You only really understand your own language when you can compare it with others.
  • Learning a language is mentally stimulating and fascinating in its own right.
  • In most countries around the world, it is taken for granted that educated people will speak at least one foreign language.
  • New Zealand trades more with non-English-speaking countries than with those where English is the first language; surely some of us need to speak their languages.

On a very basic level, languages have two key components: vocabulary, the actual words, and grammar, which is the set of rules determining how the words are strung together to make sentences. And you encounter language in the form of the so-called four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

You certainly can’t get away from the vocabulary; some language courses avoid too much grammar, and concentrate instead on certain situations, like buying a ticket or ordering a meal. Listening and speaking are the most important skills for most people; some courses don’t offer much reading, and may leave out writing altogether.

It all depends what you want.

Many books have been written on this subject... Different people have a preference for one approach over another.

While a few people seem to have the ability to learn a language from reading a book on the subject, there would probably be general agreement that it is hard to learn a language in this way. An audio course with cassettes or CD will work for some people. Others will find that Internet-based materials are effective.

Most people, though, will find that the above methods are secondary to the key one, which is interaction with an effective teacher. Language is a social experience, and we believe that it only really comes to live when it is used in a social context.

Not entirely, because children's acquisition of language is closely linked to the development of their brains. Some language courses try to imitate the child's learning processes as closely as possible, but others recognise that as adults with knowledge of one language already we can't go back to that language-free state we were in as infants.

Adults will always relate their second language to their first. Most adult courses recognise that, while we have lost the abilities we had as infants, we have acquired an understanding as adults which can be exploited to make language learning easier.

Somehow or other, vocabulary has to be learnt, and words have to be strung into sentences using grammar, which also has to be learnt. While some courses are undoubtedly more effective than others, at the end of the day, certain bits of language have to be understood and memorised.

Unless someone has discovered a wonder drug, it's hard to see how the magic results promised by some providers can be achieved.

At Euroasia, we are constantly exploring cutting-edge methods and technologies. If appropriate, we incorporate what we learn into the courses we offer, which are custom-made for native English speakers. With over 3000 New Zealanders who have completed one of our courses, we draw on a significant experience base in designing effective courses to help you learn a foreign language.

Few of us were. But do you know the best way to learn English grammar? By studying the grammar of a foreign language! You kill two birds with one stone.

At Euroasia, we try to keep the grammar as straightforward as possible, and we avoid using difficult terms. Some basic concepts are helpful, like “verbs” and “adjectives”, but we make sure people understand the terms we do use. At the beginners level, you will survive without knowledge of grammar, so don't let this stop you from learning a language.

You probably can’t avoid grammar for ever, so as you advance through the levels, we will progressively teach you more. Without grammar, you just learn words and phrases, but you can’t really put them together to make new sentences. It’s like adding up just using a plus sign (+). With grammar, you enter the world of multiplication (x)!. You can say so much more.

If you go to live in a new country without taking any course at all, what will probably happen is this: you will start to pick up odd words, then phrases; after a long time, you will begin to understand what people say to you, and you will be able to respond using your repertoire of set phrases; but you will find it very hard to use the language creatively. As you do not have the right foundation, you will likely be frustrated. After the initial euphoria of being able to understand a few terms here and there, you will encounter some brick walls as you are unlikely to pick up the rules of the language (grammar) simply by listening to others speak.

It’s much better to learn the basics of the language before you immerse yourself in this way. Once you have mastered those, then it makes sense to go and live in the country, if you have the opportunity, and start putting your knowledge into practice.

Many people will have a particular reason for learning a certain language. If you just have a desire to experience foreign language learning, it doesn't really matter which one you choose. Which country or culture interests you?

For example, at Euroasia, one of the languages we offer is Italian. Despite the fact that not many people speak Italian outside of Italy, we continue to get enrolments for Italian courses. We believe this is because New Zealanders are fascinated with Italy; Italian brands, Italian architecture and generally all things Italian!

Some people learn a language for business reasons. Various international organisations adopt "working languages" for day-to-day communications. Your career prospects would certainly be brighter if you are fluent in at least major one language other than English. Some examples of key working languages:

  • The United Nations has six official and working languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish). German also enjoys special status as a "documentary language".
  • The working languages of the Secretariat of the U.N. are English and French.
  • The World Trade Organization has three working languages: English, French, and Spanish.
  • The International Criminal Court has two working languages: English, and French.
  • The International Labour Organization has three working languages: English, French, and Spanish.
  • The International Olympic Committee has two working languages: English and French.
  • The European Commission has three working languages: English, French, and German.
  • The Free Trade Area of the Americas has two working languages: English and Spanish.
  • Mercosur has two working languages: Portuguese and Spanish.
  • NATO has two working languages: English and French.
  • FIFA has four working languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. Formerly, French was the sole official language of the organization. Currently, English is the official language for minutes, correspondence, and announcements.

From the point of view of children learning their first language, no! Children around the world acquire language at pretty much the same rate. But as adults learning a second language, we are likely to find languages which are more closely related to our own easier than others.

German and Dutch are the most closely related to English, but the Latin-based languages (e.g. French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese) have a lot of vocabulary in common with English, and some people find them easier. In any case, Euroasia courses are carefully structured so that you are only introduced to language you can comfortably cope with, and this works for the Asian languages (like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) as well.

Most languages are relatively easy to learn in the early stages. Check out some of our upcoming beginners courses.