sobota, září 06, 2014

Computers in everyday life

The household led by the computer is another of my Vladimír Renčín's favorites:
Loose translation from Czech:
The whole kitchen is administered by the computer. Knows everything, understands everything, he's even capable to react to my groan.
What do I actually have from my life?
... and there is SHIT on the screen ...
... yeah, I may seem like a hypocrite just now writing this blog on the computer, but I worked with them for quite a while and using it is a second nature to me.

sobota, ledna 11, 2014

The importance of learning languages ...

I may seem to be obsessed by the topic of communication and understanding in the global world, where more and more communication goes through e-mailing and social networks ... and I have a reason - after 20 years of living elsewhere I'm coming back to live in Czech republic, want to move forward inevitably linking to the past too. And it is - well - challenging.


According to the British Council English is now the main language of books, newspapers, airports and air-traffic control, international business and academic conferences, science, technology, diplomacy and other fields with global impact. One out of four of the world's population speak English to some level of competence; demand from the other three-quarters is increasing. 

It is known fact that kids learn naturally and they can achieve fluency of native speakers. It is thought that after the age of 12 the learners lose the ability to fully learn the language. The motivation is of vital importance to the success of language learning. (more theory is on Wikipedia)

Czech republic is a small country in Central Europe where we always look for some support from a bigger country/ies. During the phases of our history we were part of
  • the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, 
  • then self standing Czechoslovakia between the WWI and WWII, 
  • part of the German Reich during the WWII, 
  • Czechoslovakia again after WWII, the communists took over in 1948 and we were a land of one political party until 1989 with a short period of political liberalization in 1968 (Prague Spring) ended by the Warsaw Pact Invasion on the 21.8.1968 followed by normalization and censorship.
  • since 1989 - country on the - long - way to democracy ...

Naturally the political orientation affected which languages were offered at schools - for my parents German was the obligatory one, my generation growing up in the communist era learned Russian (I don't remember much, it was the language of the occupants), after the 1989 the English is the main foreign language taught ... but the teachers should speak the language first to be able to teach ...

It seems to be a continuous loop - the youngsters can achieve native-like proficiency, they have a natural ability to sponge up loads of information they encounter every day.
However for most adults - who then usually teach the kids - acquiring a second language is a lifelong learning process.

Here is the point -
there is about 10 millions Czech native speakers, too few to expect the rest of the world to learn Czech. It is in our own interest to be able to understand and communicate with people around the world.
However where comes the motivation to learn from?
File:ESL 1918.JPGNowadays there is a big amount of sources for learning, the text-books, dictionaries, books, films ...

What makes you to learn a language?
What urges you to grab an English book for reading instead of one in your mother tongue?
What is you motivation to learn a new language?