You Can’t Study Language without Studying Culture

A new article underscores the fact that studying foreign language is not enough: language learners need also to have a deep understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of peoples in order to speak competently.

Professor Engerman of Brandeis U. says: “Area-studies programs have given way to ‘international’ or ‘global studies’ programs that too often stress transnational connections at the expense of knowing much about any one particular area or language.”

Madeline K. Spring, director of Arizona State University’s Chinese Language Flagship Partner Program, says “there’s absolutely no way to teach language without teaching culture.”

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