How to be fluent in any language

Fluency in a foreign language can only be acquired through speaking, a reader says. Other topics: savings, Trump's speech, blogger, Tehran fire

Fluency in a foreign language can only be acquired through speaking, a reader says. Above, some students at New York University Abu Dhabi signed a promise to speak, write and communicate only in Arabic for three weeks in the hope of gaining fluency. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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It’s true you can learn any language by speaking (Expat students pledge to speak only Arabic while living in Emirati homes, January 19).

You can study all the grammar, but fluency can only be attained through speaking.

Hamida Mahmudur Rahman, Dubai

Protect yourself from financial predators

Your article Savings plan hard sell leaves UAE couple regretting they took the bait (January 21) really struck home. My wife and I arrived here in 2008 and almost straight away we were approached by financial advisers. Their manager approached us in a similar way. He told us about a 25-year mutual fund and that we should get into it. He pushed us hard to invest in high-risk funds. These people act like predators on the unaware.

We weren’t well educated about finance. We invested in a fund that was suspended later and we lost $10,000 (Dh37,000).

We were finally saved by another insurance broker who educated us and empowered us on our finances.

I am aware that financial advisers here target newly arrived expatriates to make their commissions.

As we know, all financial advisers work on commission only so they have to be ruthless. I wonder why nothing is being done about it.

Daniel Simon, Dubai

Your article attacks the financial services while this is clearly a careless decision by the client. A lot of people have successfully invested in such plans and made good money. I’m an adviser and will take the good with the bad, but I refuse to be painted with the same brush as an uneducated, inexperienced rookie looking to get wealthy quickly.

Sarfaraaz Khan, South Africa

Trump speech reflects reality

I do not agree with the view expressed by Hussein Ibish in his opinion article Trump's rhetoric bears little relation to American reality (January 22).

First, we have to understand that Donald Trump is not a politician, so when he speaks it’s “red-neck” or “street talk”, which is a measured and deliberate strategy.

Second, he stuck to his promises made in his campaign, such as bringing jobs back to America and making America great again. So there’s consistency. The analogy is simple: charity begins at home. Don’t expect to foster better ties with friends and family if your home is broken. As they say, fix your backyard before looking outward.

On the issue with Russia, why not become friends? Russia is the second-largest producer of rare-earth metals, which are used in high-tech products. The United States is the largest importer and a cut in supply will place them at risk. In fact, rare-earth metals have been identified as a national security risk. Those who have them want to keep them and those who don’t must import them.

Randall Mohammed, Dubai

Why is blogger called mum?

I find it interesting that the word "mum" is used to describe blogger Salam Katanani in the headline (UAE Portrait of a Nation: Mum does stellar job at delivering astronomical information via social media, January 20). Would you grant the same privilege to a male by referring to him as "father"?

Sana Ayesha, Sharjah

No news on deaths in Iran

This refers to the video you have posted on your Facebook page, of the Iranian building on fire (January 20). There were people in the building when it collapsed. Yet there is no news on the number of the people who lost their lives other than the firefighters. It was a busy commercial building. It was a catastrophe.

Maryam Zandi, Dubai

My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone who lost their loved ones in the Plasco tragedy in Tehran. It was heartbreaking.

Reza Taghavi Tehrani Nejad, Dubai