In order to learn a language well, we should also learn about the country as well as the cultures and lifestyles of the people who speak it.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
I fully support the assertion that to learn a language well, we should also learn about the country as well as the cultures and lifestyles of the people who speak it.
Let’s first see how we normally define “learning a language really well”. By my understanding, learning a language well would mean being able to speak the language in a proper way. Here, with speaking it properly, we need to know that due to cultural differences, many things are just so different from culture to culture. For example, the Chinese often greet each other by asking ‘Have you taken your meal?’ which, to the Western ears, would make an invitation to lunch or dinner. Therefore, the lack of a knowledge of the cultures of different countries will give rise to wrong interpretations of the message issued or received and as a result, lead to misunderstandings. In this way, we can not say that we are speaking the language properly and further, we can not say that we speak it well.
Second, the ultimate purpose for us to learn a language is to use it in our communication with other people who speak it, mainly the native speakers. Suppose we know nothing about the US or Britain, including its government, its people, its tradition, and its other aspects. Do you think you can speak English properly, thus achieving effective communication with the American or British people? I’ll say at least I can’t.
Third, the lifestyle of the people whose language we are learning is also something we need to know in order that we can speak their language properly. For instance, the Chinese eat pork, but this is not the case with Muslims. Also, Muslims are very religious people and perform rituals many times a day. If we don’t know these things, how can we expect to communicate with them without incurring troubles? In this logic, if we cannot make sure that we are speaking their language properly, how can we say that we have learned their language well?
From the above discussion, we can draw the conclusion that to learn a language really well, we also need to learn about the country as well as the cultures and lifestyles of the people who speak it.