In the veritable global community
of nations that the world has become—a growing range of social,
cultural, economic, and political ties is creating an unprecedented
interdependence among countries—communication is key to navigating
this community effectively. If communication can be compared to the bloodstream
that nourishes this new community of nations, the world’s languages
comprise the heart that drives this bloodstream.
At the beginning of the 21st century,
a person who possesses knowledge and understanding of multiple languages
will enjoy among the most favorable prospects for fully realizing
the its increasingly global opportunities. One member of
the Global Affairs club, Judith Meyer (Yahoo! ID: Realjunesun),
is playing an active role in helping make it possible for people
to more effectively learn languages and unlock the opportunities
made possible by this knowledge.
She has created a basic and rapidly
growing website that she calls the “Sprachprofi”: http://buerger.metropolis.de/sprachprofi/index.html
.Briefly, this site recognizes that vocabulary comprises
an important building block of communication in any language and
aims to help one learn vocabulary in international languages easily.It
draws upon a widely understood premise that learning is most effective
both when it is kept simple and is fun.
This site allows students at any
level to learn vocabulary through such games as Memory, Hangman,
as well as Flashcards. It also employs the “Word-Drawer Principle”.
Briefly, this process entails the following: Initially words are
placed in one “drawer” at the Words in this drawer are practiced
heavily. After they are mastered, they are placed in a second “drawer.”
Words in this drawer are practiced less intensively.This process
of advancement through “drawers” and reduced practice continues
until words are fully mastered and placed into a sixth “drawer.”
A word that is forgotten, regardless in which “drawer” it has been
placed, is returned to the first “drawer.” The benefit of this method
is that it places the greatest practice on difficult words making
such words easier to learn.Finally, the Sprachprofi also permits
students of international languages to expand their vocabularies
by learning random words.
Overall, the program allows students
to load extensive vocabulary files in a growing range of languages
including Bulgarian, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian,
Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. Students can even learn Esperanto, which is
a language developed and introduced by Dr. L. Zamenhof in 1887 that
seeks to permit people across the world to communicate readily with
one another while retaining their native languages and cultures.
Although she might be a high school
student in picturesque Kamp-Lintfort, Germany, Judith has a wealth
of experiences and accomplishments that extend beyond her years.
She is more than just an accomplished student. She runs her own monthly radio broadcast that provides youth with
an introduction to musical compositions, book recommendations, event
schedules, biographies of influential people. In addition, she speaks
six languages ¾(German,
English, Esperanto, Latin, Italian, some French¾and is learning Thai and Mandarin Chinese. Moreover, she has a keen interest in world cultures and affairs.
In spite of a busy class schedule,
Judith is making a meaningful difference. In 1770, English
poet and author Samuel Johnson described the world as a place “where
much is to be done and little to be known.” While these sentiments are as true today as they were yesterday,
thanks to Judith’s efforts¾particularly
those devoted to making it easier for people to learn the world’s
languages¾the world in the 21st century will be a place where “a little
less is to be done and a little more is known.”