Aug 21, 2006

Learning Other Languages Could Reduce World Problems, Says Dr Mahathir

Extracted from BERNAMA
Learning Other Languages Could Reduce World Problems, Says Dr Mahathir

PETALING JAYA, Aug 21 (Bernama) -- Learning and knowing other people's languages could help reduce or solve problems and conflicts of the world today by creating better understanding between peoples, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to the former premier, by learning and knowing the language of others, a person would be able to communicate with and understand others better and this probably could help reduce conflicts which led to many killings, as being witnessed in the world today.

Dr Mahathir said he always felt that today, people were living in an uncivilised world because they tended to kill each other to solve problems.

"This is not the civilised way... the most civilised is to learn the language of others. Imagine President Bush (US President George W. Bush) speaking in Arabic to Osama bin Laden (the Al-Qaeda leader), explaining the problems of America and Osama explaining the problems he faces."

"Then both will be able to perhaps settle their problems and chat with each other," Dr Mahathir said in his speech at the International Seminar on Multimedia Adventures in Language Learning, here Monday.

The two-day seminar was organised by the Institute of Modern Languages and Communication (IMLC) of the Multimedia University to allow participants to have better knowledge of the latest Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL).

Also present was Dr Mahathir's wife and MMU's chancellor Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

Dr Mahathir stressed that it was very important in today's world to learn other languages besides the mother tongue, and it was much more easier to learn various languages today with the advancement of technology.

"So, learning various languages will contribute to a much more peaceful world," he added.

He said if children were exposed to various languages at an early age, they could master them because they picked up what was spoken daily.

Dr Mahathir also said that the problems related to learning a language like English were different from one group to another like for Malaysians, the Chinese and Japanese.

In his speech, he also shared his and his wife's experience while on a flight to Japan for the first time many years ago.

"The steward made an announcement, 'have a good fright (flight)'. Japanese cannot pronounce (the letter word) 'l'," he said.

"If you learn a language you are never going to be left out in any field," he added.

-- BERNAMA

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