Advanced Listening & Speaking Lesson: Reasons to Learn Languages

Advanced Listening & Speaking Lesson: Reasons to Learn Languages

Note: the lesson plan is designed for online English classes. The idea is the teacher sharing their screen with the student(s) and using the plan for class work. This should be pretty much like a textbook page. That’s why many important notes for teachers are omitted.


  • How many languages do you speak?
  • What are your reasons for learning English or any other language(s)? How can it/they make your life easier or better?
  • Now that English has become a truly universal language, do you think native English speakers still benefit from learning foreign languages? Why/why not?

Before you watch:

Describe the picture below and answer the question:

How can the ability to speak a (local) language help in the depicted situations, or make them easier to handle?

The Holi festival in India
Solving a Rubik’s cube
Enjoying yourself

Key vocabulary:

Complete the sentences with one of the words above. Mind the word form:

  1. Some foreigners are enthusiastic about ___________ new cultural practices.
  2. Many people think that the language they speak natively affects their ___________.
  3. The offer is too ___________ to refuse.
  4. The 2 cultures have a lot in ___________.
  5. If you speak 2 languages, dementia is less likely to ___________.
  6. The lecture is a bit ___________ but interesting anyway.
  7. Do you believe that language learning can prevent ___________?

While you watch:

Watch the TED talk about reasons for learning foreign languages. Compare your ideas with the speaker’s ones.

Are the statements below true or false? Correct the false ones.

  1. There are fewer native Chinese speakers than native English speakers.
  2. It is believed that at the end of the 21st century almost all of the languages that exist now will no longer be spoken. There will only be a few dozen left.
  3. The speaker agrees that a language channels our thoughts.
  4. The speaker gives the example of 3 completely different people to illustrate a fraud concept.
  5. Gradual consensus is becoming that our mother tongue gives us a sort of glasses on the world.
  6. To experience a culture in-depth, you need to speak the language which the culture is conducted in.
  7. According to the speaker, the same consonants sitting in the middle of various verb forms are one fun thing about Arabic grammar.
  8. The speaker compares vowels in the Cambodian language to certain insects.

So, what are the 4 reasons to learn a new language according to John McWhorter, a linguist and Columbia professor? Do you agree with his conclusions?

After you watch:

Do you agree with the following statements? Why/why not?

  1. English is on its way to becoming the world’s universal language for better or for worse. (used to say that something cannot be changed, whether the result is good or bad)
  2. There is a worldview that you have if you speak a certain language.
  3. Learning how to speak with different word orders is like driving on a different side of the street.
  4. We live in an era when it’s never been easier to teach yourself a language.
  5. Learning languages will not change your mind but it will most certainly blow it.

Become a student of Enguroo Online English School today and improve your English with one of our teachers! We have much more material like this for you and your language skill development. Please contact us for more information.

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