When we learn a foreign language, all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are equally important. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
It is argued that equal emphasis should be placed on the four basic language skills, namely listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Although I concede their respective significance, given the considerable learning cost of a foreign language, I think distinctions should be made according to individuals’ needs.
For those who require frequent face-to-face communication, for example, journalists, negotiators, entertainment agents, the essential skills are listening and speaking. To guarantee smooth communication, they need to accustom themselves with different accents and speaking speed, so as to understand the counterpart’s words regardless of his or her speaking habits and nationality. As for speaking, one has to manage to convey the intended meaning precisely, or better still, effectively, which requires quick responses, correct pronunciation and intonation, the assistance of eye contact and body language. Reading comprehension and writing skills, such as spelling and grammar are relatively insignificant for them.
However, for those whose main job is to absorb and convey information through texts, the focus should be reading and writing. Literacy is peculiarly important for scholars, for whom advanced reading abilities can facilitate learning, comprehension, and synthesis of new knowledge, without which the tasks of reading literature and conducting literature reviews can never be fulfilled. When they strive to get their papers published, writing capabilities are indispensable to result in a completed manuscript, by placing their thoughts on paper and applying correct spelling, citation format, and grammar. For them, listening and speaking are not worth too much dedication and effort.
In conclusion, I do not agree that the four competences carry the same weight, for each person has his or her priority according to the linguistic application scenarios.
Nowadays , it has become easier and more affordable for people to visit other countries. Is it a positive or negative development?
With the availability of budget airlines, simplified visa application processes, and intelligent translation services, cross-border travels have become common among many families. Such activities are beneficial for both travellers and local residents.
People choose a foreign country as their travel destination for several reasons. Some sightseers prefer visiting exotic architecture and museums, so as to have a taste of different cultures. They sometimes even choose an itinerary including several countries, which allows them to experience different customs, gourmet food, and artistic styles in a single journey. Others prefer to travel huge distances to visit breathtaking natural landscapes, enjoying the spectacular sites to appreciate the value of nature. Whether out of cultural or natural pursuit, such vacations can free them from daily stress, refreshing them and promoting their emotional well-being, because unfamiliar places provide perfect scenarios for a person to wind down.
Some people fear that foreign travellers may harm the local natural and human environment. However, I think regulated tourism is hugely beneficial. First and foremost, it provides abundant job positions for local people, which is especially the case for remote areas. They can serve as couriers or run a B&B service by providing their own houses and cooking local dishes. Moreover, the huge potential profits teach local residents the importance of cultural and ecological protection. The more they can earn from international tourism, the more attention they pay to protect their cultural and natural heritage. Not to mention that ecotourism is enjoying increasing popularity, which helps to finance local environment preservation.
In conclusion, cross-boundary tourism is beneficial to both visitors and the local community, and should therefore be encouraged.