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I've heard some differing opinions on whether or not plays should be assigned as reading in English classes in school. People who don't think it is a good idea generally seem to be of the mind that plays are meant to be seen, not read, which I don't neccessarily disagree with. Personally, I had to read several different plays in English throughout my high school/primary school years. I found that the times I retained the most and was most engaged was when my class read Hamlet and Death of a Salesman out loud together, with each person being assigned a different part. Hearing the play out loud definitely aided in comprehension. Those two also ended up being some of my favorite pieces of literature I read in school, too. I feel as if there are both pros and cons to it. On the negative side, you are not getting the full picture of what the play was intended to be by just reading it, and trying to make sense of a play by just the written words can be frustrating (shoutout to Shakespeare). I recall a great deal of my peers disliking it. On the positive side, reading plays in school exposes students to a whole area of literature they may not otherwise be exposed to, especially considering that not everybody has the means or interest/motivation to go see live theatre. Seeing it written out like that, it seems like there's a lot more negatives than positives, but I still feel like there is something really valuable in exposing students to plays as literature. What do you guys think? Is it a good, bad, or neutral? I'm also only looking at this from my experience with the American school system. Are plays usually part of the English curriculum in U.K. schools?
I noticed there are a couple of bilingual members on this forum, and was wondering whether anyone is learning a language at the moment? I've only learnt Spanish to GCSE Level (two years of learning for those not from the UK), but I went to Spain twice this year and was surprised at my ability to converse with the locals despite my mediocre ability. These visits to Spain have stimulated my desire to learn languages now - it is such a different experience when you can converse with people in their native tongue. I've started learning French now alongside Spanish. I'm currently using a website called DuoLingo, which consists of various levels of vocab which you need to practice through - a bit like a game. It makes learning languages more enjoyable. As for Spanish, I have been listening to some Spanish music, watching films (with subtitles) and reading the news everyday in Spanish to try and improve my vocabulary. When we learnt languages in school, we spent a lot of time learning words which would never be spoken on a day-to-day basis (my Spanish presentation in school was on Global Warming!). So I've been trying to improve my everyday Spanish by using the media. My French isn't good enough to understand full sentences at the moment, so I am just going to stick to DuoLingo until I feel more comfortable with the structure and grammar. Bringing this thread back to books, I have been planning to read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez for a while now. However, I wonder whether a translated version of the story can really be the same as the original? Surely by translating it, you are taking away some of the meanings behind the sentences? I have bought the english translation of the book and will get around to reading it soon, but I do wonder how different the experience would be, reading the novel in Spanish. What is everyones experiences of learning languages? What methods did you use? My main weakness is pronunciation, as I have little opportunity to practice French or Spanish here in the UK. I think I may start talking to myself just for practice.