[00:10.12]TEST FOR ENGLISH MAJORS--GRADE EIGHT
[00:13.51]Section A MINI-LECTURE
[00:16.97]In this section you will hear a mini-lecture.
[00:20.29]You will hear the mini-lecture ONCE ONLY.
[00:23.73]While listening to the mini-lecture,
[00:25.82]please complete the gap-filling task on ANSWER SHEET ONE
[00:30.29]and write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each gap.
[00:34.70]Make sure the word(s) you fill in is (are) both grammatically
[00:39.23]and semantically acceptable.
[00:41.85]You may use the blank sheet for note-taking.
[00:45.67]You have THIRTY seconds to preview the gap-filling task.
[01:19.89]Now, listen to the mini-lecture.
[01:22.30]When it is over, you will be given THREE minutes
[01:25.05]to check your work.
[01:27.81]Why Learning Spanish
[01:30.55]Good morning, everyone.
[01:32.29]Welcome all of you to the lecture "series of language orientation".
[01:37.33]Today, we are going to focus on Spanish. Who's learning Spanish these days?
[01:43.45]For starters, residents of the United States,
[01:46.70]a bunch not known for conquering monoligualism,
[01:49.75]are studying Spanish in record numbers.
[01:52.92]Spanish, too, is becoming of greater importance in Europe,
[01:56.65]where it is often the foreign language of choice after English.
[02:00.63]And it's no wonder that Spanish is a popular second or third language:
[02:05.07]with some 400 million speakers, it's the fourth most commonly spoken language
[02:10.61]in the world after English, Chinese and Hindustani.
[02:15.77]And according to some counts it has more native speakers than English does.
[02:20.81]It is an official language on four continents and is of historical importance elsewhere.
[02:27.36]The numbers alone make Spanish a good choice
[02:30.66]for those wanting to learn another tongue.
[02:34.27]But there are plenty of other reasons to learn Spanish. Here are a few.
[02:40.42]First of all, better understanding of English.
[02:43.53]Much of the vocabulary of English has Latin origins,
[02:47.53]much of which came to English by way of French.
[02:50.77]Since Spanish is also a Latin language, you will find as you study Spanish
[02:55.37]that you have a better understanding of your native vocabulary.
[02:59.54]Similarly, both Spanish and English share Indo-European roots,
[03:04.83]so their grammars are similar.
[03:07.09]There is perhaps no more effective way to learn English grammar
[03:10.51]than by studying the grammar of another language,
[03:13.50]for the study forces you to think about how your language is structured.
[03:18.22]It's not unusual, for example,
[03:20.11]to gain an understanding of English verbs' tenses and moods
[03:24.39]by learning how those verbs are used in Spanish.
[03:28.13]Secondly, know your neighbours.
[03:30.93]Not all that many years ago, the Spanish-speaking population of the United States
[03:35.71]was confined to the Mexican border states, Florida and New York City.
[03:40.87]But no more. Even where I live, less than 100 kilometres from the Canadian border,
[03:46.28]there are Spanish-speaking people living on the same street as I do.
[03:50.95]Knowing Spanish has proven invaluable in speaking with
[03:54.27]other residents of my town who don't know English.
[04:00.13]Yes, it is perfectly possible to visit Mexico, Spain
[04:04.36]and even Equatorial Guinea without speaking a word of Spanish.
[04:08.91]But it isn't nearly half as much fun. I remember about two decades ago -
[04:14.01]when my Spanish was much less adequate than it is today -
[04:17.56]when I met some mariachis on top of one of the pyramids near Mexico City.
[04:23.15]Because I spoke limited Spanish,
[04:25.15]they wrote down the words for me so I could sing along.
[04:28.51]It turned out to be one of my most memorable travel experiences,
[04:32.49]and one unlike what most tourists have the opportunity to enjoy.
[04:36.97]Time and time again while travelling in Mexico, Central America and South America
[04:42.54]I've had doors opened to me simply because I speak Spanish,
[04:46.71]allowing me to see and do things that many other visitors do not.
[04:51.93]Fourthly, cultural understanding.
[04:54.92]While most of us can't hope to learn the languages of more than one or two cultures
[04:59.90]other than that of our own, those that we can learn help us to learn
[05:04.05]how other people learn and think.
[05:07.54]When I read Latin American or Spanish newspapers, for example,
[05:11.39]I often find that I gain a sense of how other people think and feel,
[05:16.20]a way that is different from my own.
[05:18.95]Spanish also offers a wealth of literature, both modern and traditional.
[05:24.30]Next in point, learning Spanish help us learn other languages.
[05:28.91]If you can learn Spanish, you'll have a head start
[05:31.40]in learning the other Latin-based languages such as French and Italian.
[05:36.63]And it will even help you learn Russian and German,
[05:39.30]since they too have Indo-European roots and have some characteristics
[05:44.40]that are present in Spanish but not English,
[05:47.45]for instance gender and extensive conjugation.
[05:51.19]And I wouldn't be surprised
[05:52.74]if learning Spanish might even help you learn Japanese
[05:56.10]or any other non-Indo-European language,
[05:59.03]since intensive learning the structure of a language
[06:01.95]can give you a reference point for learning others.
[06:06.07]Sixthly, Spanish is easy to learn.
[06:09.00]In fact, Spanish is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn.
[06:13.41]Much of its vocabulary is similar to English's,
[06:16.71]and written Spanish is almost completely phonetic.
[06:20.57]Look at almost any Spanish word and you can tell how it is pronounced.
[06:25.51]And while mastering the grammar of Spanish can be a challenge.
[06:28.87]Basic grammar is straightforward enough
[06:31.42]that you can have meaningful communication after only a few lessons.
[06:36.21]Seventhly, employment opportunities.
[06:39.32]If you're in the United States and work in one of the helping professions
[06:43.36]including medicine and education, you'll find your opportunities expand
[06:47.72]by knowing Spanish. And wherever you live,
[06:50.77]if you're in any occupation that involves international trade,
[06:54.57]communications or tourism, you'll similarly find opportunities
[06:58.48]to use your new language skills.
[07:01.22]Above all, learning Spanish is fun.
[07:04.21]Whether you enjoy talking, reading, or mastering challenges,
[07:08.13]you'll find all of them in learning Spanish.
[07:11.49]For many people, there's something inherently enjoyable
[07:14.66]about successfully speaking in another tongue.
[07:18.22]Perhaps that's one reason children sometimes speak in Pig Latin
[07:22.93]or device secret codes of their own.
[07:25.98]Although learning a language can be work, the efforts pay off quickly
[07:30.28]when you finally get to use your skills.
[07:33.51]OK, I have outlined eight benefits of learning Spanish.
[07:37.37]For many people, Spanish offers the most rewards
[07:40.61]with the least effort of any foreign language. It's never too late to begin learning.
[07:46.89]Why don't you join us in a happy and rewarding journey
[07:50.44]in learning Spanish together?
[07:53.61]Now you have THREE minutes to check your work.
[10:57.44]This is the end of Section A MINI-LECTURE.
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