Jack Lavey Due 9/26/12
Type: Definition paragraph Purpose: To inform upon the definition of a linguist Audience: Peers, travelers, potential language-learners It Takes More Than an A+
Linguistics often become crucial when involving oneself in travel or international relations, and several requirements must be met in order to embody a first-rate linguist. In American society, a very low value gets put on language mastery. Most Americans automatically assume that people from foreign countries will speak English, or that school-learned foreign language will suffice when attempting to converse or traffic with a native speaker, yet that assumption often turns out false, resulting in the awkward “language barrier”. Both in business and in travel, this type of situation can appear disrespectful, confusing, and arrogant to the nonEnglish speaker. To solve this problem, a quality linguist knows both the culture and language of the area in which he travels. For example, if a tourist with top linguistic skills were to travel to Germany and order three glasses of water, he would hold up his thumb, forefinger, and middle finger as the gesture meaning “three”. This differs from the American way of gesturing “three”, in which one holds up their ring, middle, and forefinger. Small cultural nuances such as this separate “good” linguist from a “bad” one. Furthermore, a linguist includes one who does not simply learns a language for a school grade. In fact, this type of language learning does not constitute mastery at all, even if a student passes through his classes with all A’s. Many people have the ability to fluently speak a language using proper grammar and vocabulary, but do they truly possess the full language? To be exact, true mastery comes from immersion in a particular
language’s region of origin. Immersion often allows a learner to completely grasp a language. This grasp includes the both knowledge of regional dialects, and the aforesaid cultural expertise. Essentially, one can become a proficient linguist through the accomplishment of these defining characteristics. Gründsätzlich, kann man eine kompetente Linguisten durch die Erfüllung dieser Charakteristiken werden (German). In wezen kan men een bekwaam taalkundige door de vervulling van deze kenmerken worden (Dutch).