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The Language Learning Unit (LLU) is the most visible face of internationalisation at Keele University.
Language is inseparable from communication. Sadly, not many of us now learn a language in order to decipher ancient texts. In academic life it is all too easy to overlook how we can apply and practice what we learn outside the university. Academic success is clearly important, but by communicating to others what we have learned, not only in the classroom but through sharing our own experiences in “the real world”, we can also be the voice of internationalisation and even experience a sense of enjoyment in the process.

So, whether you are brushing up on your English for academic study, studying for a qualification to teach English, learning a modern foreign language or just interested in language and communication, we hope that this Blog will provide interesting posts and food for thought.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Love of Language

We use words to express ourselves. The words joined together formulate statements, opinions, questions, answers, ideas…and basically allow us to express who we are.  When we can do this eloquently in one language communication is smoother in everything we do. So when we can communicate even on a basic level in another language, then the world opens up, opportunities for both work and pleasure increase, we make more friends, we can go with confidence to more places and discover first hand more about others’ lifestyles and culture.
I feel lucky to love language. I can speak comfortably and fluently in one or two languages that are not my “mother tongue”. I have “a smattering” of other languages and like to think that wherever I go, I would be able to pick up a few words and basic phrases. Even a few words help to break the ice  with others who do not necessarily speak the same language. Those few words become a bridge and show that you are keen to communicate.
Perhaps I am an extreme case but a love of language has provided some surreal moments over the years and I am sure there are many more to come.
Spanish once helped me to get on the right train in Southern China.  Japanese helped me to do some trading in Nepal and also allowed me to assist a coachload of elderly Japanese ladies visiting Montserrat in Spain who were very confused about having to pay first to use the public toilets.  Japanese has proved to be very useful – in fact any language is – you never know when it might come in handy.  With French I could help a group of lost Parisien tourists in Bali.
A few sentences of Greek enabled me to get a “good” fruit-picking summer job and a bit of Thai probably saved my skin on a couple of occasions in  deserted parts of Bangkok.   
Whatever you do with the words, as you express them or they express you, your world will grow wider and vastly more interesting.


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