Che cosa (o chi) si cela dietro ai cambiamenti linguistici a cui stiamo assistendo?
Ce lo spiega il direttore didattico di Level Up Scuola di Lingue SK idea, Spencer Moores, in questa intervista in lingua inglese.
“With clear survival needs, people have been consumers of one form or another since the invention of the barter system. Today, thanks to sophisticated global media and advertising, we have become not only far more exotic in our needs but also more voracious in our consumption and more discerning in our choices. So if we can’t find what we are looking for within the borders of our home towns or countries then we are now quite prepared to look farther afield. This is not only true of physical tools such as food and technology, however, but also in the tools we use to fulfil our expressive needs. If we can’t find the words or tools within our own languages we will therefore readily subsume them from others.”
So is it simply a desire to express ourselves that has seen language studies take such prominence within our educational system?
“Helping our clients to express themselves effectively in any language is always a key goal at Level Up, of course, but this is a question of the effect of the global economy. Foreign trade was once considered secondary due to the high costs of transportation and the complicated logistics involved but now, with more international trade deals, falling costs and easy access to digital communication this is no longer the case. The subsequent growth in international trade has seen it become central to the sales and survival strategies of Italian businesses far smaller than was once the case. The result of this is therefore two-fold; Italian businesses have had to recognise that their ability to compete on the global stage depends on their ability to effectively communicate and negotiate with their international clients and the government has had to recognise that providing Italian companies with the professionals required to do that will have a direct effect on the long term growth of the economy. In light of this, the need to prioritise and invest in language studies is clear.
So what does a school like Level Up bring to this situation?
“First and foremost, the idea of meaningful and realistic communication which is appropriate to a learner’s age and needs is absolutely central to how we approach the learning process at Level Up. Our school is part of the SK Idea Group which also offers business consultancy, translation and interpreting services which means we have a huge body of experience in using language in business contexts but for most people this is not the main thing that makes the way we work here so different to their past experiences of language learning. What makes us different is the smaller class sizes combined with our training and freedom to innovate. This means we are able to apply and adapt a whole range of teaching techniques to each individual, even within a group study context. This level of personal attention is what our clients feel makes us so different.”
So are the goals you deal with always business orientated?
“Not at all. What we most appreciate about our work is how every class, lesson or camp is different and how many ways there are to approach what we do. I always feel that when it comes to language training, if you’re not enjoying it then you’re clearly not doing it right. We also work with clients of all ages and abilities; we provide parent and child classes for our youngest learners, we go to schools to motivate their students through games and activities, we run high-energy summer camps, train older students for exams or help retirees gain the tools they need to travel the world, it always depends on the situation.”
Will these linguistic crossover changes stop at some point?
People often feel that it is English which is ‘creeping’ into other languages but it is worth remembering that English is itself a mix of a number of languages including Greek, Latin, French and German so if this process has been happening for hundreds, if not thousands, of years I see no reason to believe that it will stop any time soon. I believe, however, that those changes ultimately make languages both richer and more expressive.
Finally, with so many apps claiming to teach you a language these days, why do you think people still use language schools like Level Up?
“I think the real question is why people seem to stop using those apps so quickly. Simply put, I would say that it’s because an app can’t teach you to love a language, or a people. It can’t interact and connect with you on a personal level and it can’t bring people together like the love of learning in a friendly, social atmosphere can. When that’s what you’re getting, why wouldn’t you want to keep learning? That’s how you really learn a language.