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Why should we learn a foreign language? After all, the whole world speaks English! Ladies and Gentlemen, there’s some truth in this argument – but only some! Allow me to give an example from the area which I can perhaps judge well: diplomacy. British diplomats generally have an excellent reputation as extremely professional and efficient. And that specifically includes language skills. Before they’re posted to a new country, British diplomats are trained in its language, sometimes for up to a year. Why do they do that? When you come to a new post, you can only really make full use of your professionalism and efficiency in your host country’s language. You can’t just rely on English. So having a foreign language in addition to English is vital – as indeed it is in so many other professions.
Learning a foreign language at the earliest possible age – that is, at nursery and primary school – opens up a whole new dimension for children: it greatly benefits their reading and writing in their own language; there’s evidence that, like musical education, it contributes significantly to the development of individual intelligence; and concretely it improves overall results at school.
A new language opens up a whole new culture. A foreign language gives us access to another culture, and our lives take on a new dimension. The great German poet, Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, said in 1827: “Whoever is not acquainted with foreign languages knows nothing of his own.” Seen like that, learning a language is almost comparable to a journey of discovery.
Conversely, to lose a language is to lose a whole culture. This realization has led to determined efforts to preserve minority languages, including, for example, in Britain, with the renaissance of the Welsh and Gaelic languages. There are similar widespread efforts in Britain to promote community languages, for example by providing application forms in Urdu or other languages. It is a fundamental truth that cultures define themselves through languages.
I- COMPREHENSION (15 points)
BASE YOUR ANSWERS ON THE TEXT
A. Answer these questions. Write only the numbers and the appropriate answers (5 pts)
- How long does the training for a British diplomat take?
- Why should they undergo that training, in your opinion?
B. Are these sentences TRUE or FALSE? JUSTIFY. (5 pts)
- British diplomats rely heavily on English when they are appointed to the host country.
- Learning a foreign language helps one understand one’s own.
C. Find out the approximate synonyms of these words from the text: (5 pts)
- field: …………..
- count on: ……….
- crucial: ………..
- familiar: ……..
- trip: ……….
II- LANGUAGE (15 points)
A- Combine the following sentences using a relative pronoun: who, whose and which. (3 pts)
- I returned the money. I have borrowed it from the bank.
- The man went to the police. His car was stolen.
- I liked the player. He scored the best goal in the African Cup, last February.
B- Write the sentences, using the verbs in each sentence in the simple past and the past perfect. (6 pts)
- When I ( get ) ……. to the pharmacy, it ( close) ……..
- When we (leave) ………….. the school, the rain (already start ) …………
- The patient ( already die) …… when I (see) him …….
C- complete the following sentences using the words from the following list (3 pts) shortage / drought / smog / recycling / rubbish / pollution
- Things we throw away are called …………
- Air, land, and sea can suffer from …………………
- Areas with low rainfalls suffer from ………………
D- Use the following situation to express wishes about the past. (3 pts)
I missed the lesson yesterday
I wished I hadn’t missed the lesson
- Leila used to eat too fatty food. She is obese now.
- Ali didn’t revise well for the exam. He finds it a bit challenging.
- Moroccan football fans got very furious because the national team didn’t do well in the last African Cup.
III- WRITING (10 Points)
Some people think that Moroccan TV programs are not very interesting. Show your point of view in no more than ten ( 10 ) lines.
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Key Answers to Reasons for learning a foreign language
I- READING COMPREHENSION 15 points
A. Answer these questions. Write only the numbers and the appropriate answers ( 5pts )
- ( It takes for )up to a year
- to make full use of their professionalism and efficiency in their host country’s language
B. Are these sentences TRUE or FALSE? JUSTIFY. ( 5pts )
- False: You can’t just rely on English. So having a foreign language in addition to English is vital.
- True: Whoever is not acquainted with foreign languages knows nothing of his own.
C. Find out the approximate synonyms of these words from the text: ( 5pts )
II- LANGUAGE 15 points
A- Combine the following sentences using a relative pronoun: who, whose and which. ( 3pts )
- I returned the money which I have borrowed from the bank.
- The man whose car was stolen went to the police.
- I liked the player who scored the best goal in the African Cup, last February.
B- Write the sentences, using the verbs in each sentence in the simple past and the past perfect. ( 6pts )
- Got – had closed
- left – had started
- had already died – saw
C- complete the following sentences using the words from the following list ( 3pts )
D- Use the following situation to express wishes about the past. ( 3pts )
- Leila wished she hadn’t eaten too fatty food.
- Ali wished he had revised well for the exam.
- Moroccan football fans wished the national team had done well in the last African Cup.