People are interested in foreign languages now. They understand that it can help them in their career. The first American and British consulates General in Ekaterinburg, business and information centers, joint ventures, visits of foreign businessmen and cultural workers give people a lot of opportunities to show their knowledge.
French and German are popular; by the way French was very popular with Russian nobility. Some of them spoke French better than French people did. Pushkin wrote some poems in French. People translated and still translate different books from foreign languages into Russian for other people to read. Thanks to translators we know much about cultures, science, way of life, be it Great Britain or China. Different cultures influence each other and enrich each other, I think. This would be impossible if we didn't know each other's languages.
I study English. That's why I want to tell you about it.
English is a world language. It is the language of progressive science and technology, trade and cultural relations, commerce and business. It is the universal language of international aviation, shipping and sports. It is also the major language of diplomacy.
Hundreds and hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers are printed in English and read all over the world. 75% of the world's mail and 60% of the world's telephone calls are in English. Half of the world's scientific literature is written in English.
English is spoken by more than 350 million people. Geographically, it is the most widespread language on earth, second only to Chinese in the number of people who speak it.
It is the official language of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the United States of America, of Australia and New Zealand. English is used as one of the official languages in Canada, the Republic of South Africa and the Irish Republic. It is also spoken as a second language in many parts of India and Africa. The number of second-language speakers may soon exceed the number of native speakers.
Besides, millions of people study and use English as a foreign language. In our country English is very popular: it is studied at schools (sometimes even at nursery schools), colleges and universities.
There are different ways of mastering foreign languages. It is useful to read books in the original, listen to their songs or watch their films. But now there are foreign teachers in Ekaterinburg (I mean native speakers) more over, it is possible even to go abroad and study there. Some people do.
Learning a foreign language is not an easy thing. It is a long and slow process that takes a lot of time and patience. But to know English today is absolutely necessary for every educated person, for every good specialist.