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Miriam Chesner Explains the Importance of Learning Culture Alongside Being Taught a Language

Miriam Chesner New jersey

New languages are often taught separately to understanding the culture behind the language itself, Language Teacher Miriam Chesner from New jersey points out

MORRIS PLAINS, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES, October 23, 2018 / -- Language education is a staple of classrooms around the world, yet many languages are taught without establishing a deeper, simultaneous understanding of related cultures. According to New Jersey's Miriam Chesner, however, cultural education should be a key component in learning any new language, suggesting that without this understanding, it's impossible to fully embrace what's being taught.

"I believe it should be considered a vital component of learning a new language," says Chesner, a New York University graduate, Spanish teacher, and expert on Latin American culture.

Failure to learn about the country or countries from which a particular language originates, she adds, such as its history, people, or government, removes a richness of understanding which can make it difficult to fully appreciate how the language works, especially in a day-to-day sense.

Conversely, however, Miriam Chesner also believes that for many people, a more cultural understanding of a language is often developed naturally, sometimes without fully appreciating the fact. "This is especially true," she continues, "where an individual is learning from native speakers – where they're interacting on a personal level, rather than learning solely from textbooks or language applications."

Indeed, some languages are actually considered largely impossible to learn without at least a degree of cultural understanding, including Arabic and Japanese, according to New Jersey-based Mirima Chesner. "Vocabulary and the meaning of many of a language's words are determined by—and dependent upon—culture, and to a fairly large degree in many cases," she adds.

Spanish, for example, Chesner points out, is spoken in numerous countries around the world, and is widely spoken in the U.S., yet variations exist in each of the 20 or so countries where Spanish is the official language. This, she says, as is the case in the U.S., is often largely dependent on local culture.

Language experts such as Chesner suggest that a good place to start, in terms of simultaneously developing an understanding of both a language and the associated culture or cultures, is with proverbs. These, she says, are often a cultural treasure trove, reflecting accumulated wisdom of previous generations. "Because of how they're structured, they're also quite often perfect for honing more precise language skills, too," adds Chesner, wrapping up.

Miriam Chesner is a New York University graduate who holds a master's degree in ESL, or English as a second language. An expert on Latin American culture and a Spanish language teacher, Chesner is currently based in New Jersey.

Eric Ash
Web Presence, LLC
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