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Language education in your country


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#1 Bright_Star

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:51 AM

I know we have many different nationalities on these forums, and I would like to ask you something about language education in your country. What languages are taught at school? Are people overall good at English?

Foreigners often say that Dutch people are very good at languages. It is true most of us speak English quite well, if I may say so. In secondary education, Dutch, English, French, German and sometimes Spanish are taught. In grammar school, from which I recently graduated, one also follows Latin and Ancient Greek (I did the latter).

So how is this in your country? Are foreign languages taught and spoken well?

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#2 Sgt Harbinger

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 12:19 PM

This sounds like a topic that goes in my forum (School, Homework and Assignments.) But anyway, schools here in the U.S teach mainly Spanish and a few schools teach French.

#3 The Midnight Q

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 01:12 PM

In Texas, USA most offer Spanish and French starting from Elementary and Middle school. The high school I went to offered Spanish, French, German, Latin and Mandarin Chinese. If students can pull through, they can receive up to 5 years worth of credit for language courses. Most can get to a fluent conversational level and if they wish to proceed many unis offer further language education as well. At the uni level the number of languages offered depends on the school. The one I go to offers Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Latin, German, Spanish and French.

Edited by sirbenedictvs, 26 July 2011 - 01:13 PM.

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#4 ShipOfFools

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 02:19 PM

High school or college?

My high school (this was more than 10 years ago!) taught German, French, and Spanish.

Now, you can pretty much learn any language in college. I think there's a whole division of programs dedicated to language, including English (for those foreign who don't speak it.)

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#5 The Midnight Q

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 03:27 PM

...would sign language count as a "foreign" language btw?
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#6 GreenGirl

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 07:45 PM

I'm from Poland and I think that in my country knowledge of languages becomes more and more important. The most popular language teached at school is English, of course. I started my English education in nursery school when I was 6 years old but it was something unusual in that times. Nowadays the situation is extremely different - the best example is my cousin, whose's 3 years old and she already has her English lesson in nursery. Children are teached to count and recognize the colours in English, which is quite crazy - I remember the period when my cousin counted better in English than in Polish :blink:.
Most primary schools offer English or German. High schools usually offer English or German on the medium or high level and the second language from scratch (usually French, less popular are Spanish and Russian). Latin is also common, but I don't know anyone who likes it :rolleyes:.
At the university level language education is obligatory, so every degree offers contiuation of chosen language at the high level. It's also possible to learn another language. Generally, it depends on kind of studies you choose. My frirend will learn Czech for example :D.

I think that's very hard to live without knowledge of languages nowadays ;) it's extremely hard to get a job without it, so in Poland youths learn languages eagerly. And when it comes to level of education... I think it could be better, basicly there's lack of practice (for example talking with teacher or native speakers). That's why the majority learn languages in private, at private schools or with private teachers, which is muuuch moooorree effective. That was my big mistake which I really regret now - I've learned for a very long time, but I had just one year of private education. And I think that this one year gave me more than 10 years of school education :blink:

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Edited by GreenGirl, 26 July 2011 - 07:48 PM.

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#7 BoMa

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:11 PM

I will move this as it's more suitable in the School, Homework and Assignments forum.

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#8 mischief.managed

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 03:22 AM

In Uganda it really depends on what school you go to, as not everyone offers the same thing. My school used to have Swahili and French, but they dropped Swahili a while ago :/

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#9 Monkey Cartwheels

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:46 AM

We learn English, And if your maori you can learn Maori. Thats all

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#10 Álmok

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:26 PM

Well here in Qatar now all the schools teach English and plus most of the subjects we learn it in English li,e physics,chemistry,math,science and we take English classes too and other language is not much popular he at all except if you are in private school you can learn French that what is common here!


 


#11 Will

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 01:30 PM

...it really depends on what school you go to, as not everyone offers the same thing.

Same here. Some schools teach English as first language, and some teach French as well.

#12 Carlyn

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:57 PM

In Australia,it depends on the school as to what language is taught. Most primary schools offer one language education course, typically it's German but other languages on offer include Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian and French. Some schools cater to their student demographic and offer a language course that would be relevant for their students , particularly if most of the students come from an certain background such as if most of the students were Indigenous Australian or immigrants. In highschool usually two languages are on offer and students can pick one of them.

#13 Kim.

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 08:42 AM

...would sign language count as a "foreign" language btw?


I would assume so. That's a really good question, though. My argument is that a foreign language is anything you do not know (hence, foreign, or unrecognized to you). If you do not know American Sign Language, then it's considered a foreign language. 'S what I think anyway.

I did see this spoken at work the other day and I was dumbfounded. I'd like to learn it one day.

I'm from Poland and I think that in my country knowledge of languages becomes more and more important. The most popular language teached at school is English, of course. I started my English education in nursery school when I was 6 years old but it was something unusual in that times. Nowadays the situation is extremely different - the best example is my cousin, whose's 3 years old and she already has her English lesson in nursery. Children are teached to count and recognize the colours in English, which is quite crazy - I remember the period when my cousin counted better in English than in Polish :blink:.
Most primary schools offer English or German. High schools usually offer English or German on the medium or high level and the second language from scratch (usually French, less popular are Spanish and Russian). Latin is also common, but I don't know anyone who likes it :rolleyes:.


I don't find it too surprising that children pick up second languages faster than children who have learned, say, English from the age of 6 onwards. Once a person reaches an advanced proficiency in a foreign language, the majority of their thinking is done often in the second (or third, etc.) language that they've learned. For instance, I have been learning Spanish for 10+ years already; in the States, in my region, foreign language became a mandatory requirement after the age 11 for my generation(entrance to middle/junior high school). In my district, we had the option of learning only either Spanish or French. In, about, my 7 year of studying the Spanish language, I exclusively thought and formed sentences in my head in Spanish.

However, I haven't kept up too much with maintaining conversational Spanish with native Spanish speakers in the past two years since high school. I am teaching a series of classes this month, though, so it is definitely helping! Regarding the brain's "switch over", I believe it does have to do with what is called plasticity of the brain (meaning to expansion and room for development). When the brain is still developing in children and connections are being formed via neurons (electrical impulses), a child is more prone to pick up another language than an adult who is of full age (around 22 years old).

There have been studies done in the 90's (though I'm not sure how true it is in this decade), that there is a critical point for developing in a language. Studies have shown that once a person reaches puberty, in all likelihood room for language acquirement slows drastically. Prime example of that was a 1979 case done on a "feral child", or a child who was deprived of proper noursihment and well-being and therefore did not acquire what was supposed to be her first language--English.

In Australia,it depends on the school as to what language is taught. Most primary schools offer one language education course, typically it's German but other languages on offer include Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian and French. Some schools cater to their student demographic and offer a language course that would be relevant for their students , particularly if most of the students come from an certain background such as if most of the students were Indigenous Australian or immigrants. In highschool usually two languages are on offer and students can pick one of them.


That's very interesting. Did you opt to take a foreign language in your high school? If so, what was it?
----

In the States, it really depends on where you have grown up (what region) and your particular school district (how much money/resources it has, really) in regard to what langauge options are available to learn. In the 90's, a foreign language was not really taught in elementary school. It wasn't a serious requirement for our age group until the entrance into grade 6 (when most students are around age 10/11). For the class of students born a year before us, however, the district implemented the requirement that younger students were to learn a foreign language (sometimes basic French and Spanish were taught) in grade 2 or 3 (7-8 years old).

I had the best opportunity to have studied in a high school whose World Languages department was expanding throughout the years I attended. In my 11th year, our WL Supervisor was formally noted at a national convention for teachers of languages for his work on the department. Spanish was our most popular language, ofc. We had about 2-3 senior teachers teaching the higher levels, and loads of others teaching beginner and intermediate Spanish (about 25 teachers). There was also French, which was taken by a fair amount of people, in which there was one senior teacher and about 7-10 teachers for other levels. Latin was taught as well, but the program was really disjointed due to a teacher's leaving (who was the only teacher to be certified in that langauge).

Upon my exit in high school, the WL supervisor and several senior language teachers returned from a trip to India. The department then developed a beginner's and intermediate Hindi class. I believe the department as contemplating teaching Mandarin Chinese as well. :blink: .

As far as unis go, it really depends on what you're going into study and what your interests are. I was/am considering doing an undergrad in a place that offers a continuing education (non-degree bearing) program in Hebrew and a degree-bearing program in Arabic. But the same school also offers Russian, Greek, Spanish (mosted noteable), French, and German. At larger unis, you find even more languages out here. :P

Edited by Prongs, 28 July 2011 - 08:51 AM.

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#14 Karen

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:30 PM

Oh yeah, children absolutely pick up languages faster than adults/older kids. In my town, because it is predominantly Italian (although I am not italian AT ALL), they taught us Italian from grades 2-5 (ages 7-10). I apparently was VERY good at Italian when I was younger, but I hated my teacher so when I entered middle school I decided to take Spanish. In middle school and high school, the three main languages taught were Spanish, French, and Italian. Nothing too exciting :P the language department at my school wasn't the greatest though, and I wish I had been taught spanish in grades 2-5 instead of Italian because when I entered 6th grade (age 11)it was harder for me to pick up Spanish.

Kids are so amazing at absorbing information. Actually, over the past couple weeks, I've had the pleasure of meeting a few kids who are in an integrated school, where both Spanish and English are taught. One family I met was from San Francisco, CA, and half the day was taught in English and half in Spanish. The youngest boy of the family was 7 years old and his spanish was AMAZING. We had a great conversation! Another group I met had kids in an integrated school where lessons were in Spanish for 2 weeks, then English for two weeks. I was like :o This is exactly what I'd love to do when I get older! It really is incredible, though, how easily kids pick up on things. Language is so important!
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#15 Kim.

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:34 PM

Oh yeah, children absolutely pick up languages faster than adults/older kids. In my town, because it is predominantly Italian (although I am not italian AT ALL), they taught us Italian from grades 2-5 (ages 7-10). I apparently was VERY good at Italian when I was younger, but I hated my teacher so when I entered middle school I decided to take Spanish. In middle school and high school, the three main languages taught were Spanish, French, and Italian. Nothing too exciting :P the language department at my school wasn't the greatest though, and I wish I had been taught spanish in grades 2-5 instead of Italian because when I entered 6th grade (age 11)it was harder for me to pick up Spanish.

Kids are so amazing at absorbing information. Actually, over the past couple weeks, I've had the pleasure of meeting a few kids who are in an integrated school, where both Spanish and English are taught. One family I met was from San Francisco, CA, and half the day was taught in English and half in Spanish. The youngest boy of the family was 7 years old and his spanish was AMAZING. We had a great conversation! Another group I met had kids in an integrated school where lessons were in Spanish for 2 weeks, then English for two weeks. I was like :o This is exactly what I'd love to do when I get older! It really is incredible, though, how easily kids pick up on things. Language is so important!


I did not know you learned Italian :o ! Snappp. I wanna learn :( :sob:

That is pretty cool. I've never heard of a school environment where classes were taught in another language for an extended period of time. Very cool.
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#16 Sgt Harbinger

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 05:49 PM

I just wanna learn a second language so some people around here won't know what I'm saying. :P

#17 Arie

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 08:53 PM

I always went to a Jewish Private school so Hebrew was a must.

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#18 Comrade Chris

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:07 PM

at my school, in your first year (11-12yrs old) you must learn French, in the next year you learn French and Spanish or German depending on if you're in top set or bottom set, you must take at least 1 MFL at GCSE level.


#19 The Midnight Q

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:09 AM

I just wanna learn a second language so some people around here won't know what I'm saying. :P


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#20 Sgt Harbinger

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 01:44 PM

Don't you get free Rosetta Stone software through the service?


Well, it's easier said then done. You have to find the people that are teaching it, then you have to run it up through your chain of command and make sure it's okay with them, then you have to get a tuition assistance form and have it signed by your Commanding Officer...it's just a very long process. And then if I get a D or an F, I have to pay the Marine Corps back for the tuition.




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