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Learning and Reading (in) Other Languages

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@Madeleine Many people say German is a difficult language, do you know what was so difficult for you? Have you tried to read any German book?

 

I think Latin is a veeery difficult language. You have no chance to talk to other people (I think that makes learning a language much easier) you have to study a looot of vocabulary and the language has many grammar rules. You really have to go through the sentence word by word, annoying and not easy.

 

Btw: In 6th grade (after 2 years of secondary school English) I tried to read an English book for the first time, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone, I comletely failed :D. Some years later(when I was finally able to read English books with a dictionary) I was so proud of myself when I finished the first book without looking up any vocabulary :D.

Edited by LankaDivore

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In Sweden we start learning English in first/second grade and in sixth grade we got to choose from Spanish, German or France as our "B-language". I usually read books in English if that's the original language, which is pretty commonly. Otherwise, I of course read in Swedish and I've also read a book in Spanish (my B-language), "The Circle" or in Spanish, "El Círculo".

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My experience of learning languages in the UK is pretty poor. When I was at secondary school in the 80's we just did French for three years then could choose French or German for a further 2 years (I chose not to).

 

I have two children at secondary school and another starting in September. Their school isn't great for languages. The older two did compulsory French for two years then could choose French, German or Spanish when they chose their options for Years 9, 10 and 11. My son chose not to but my daughter chose a 1 year Spanish course - they spend the same amount of lessons doing the course, just over a shorter period - it was awful, simply put they had to write and learn large amounts of text, for her final speaking test she had to memorise I think 18 paragraphs on various topics and she was asked leading questions for them. Basically the kids with the best memories did the best, not her sadly, she got a D, and not for want of trying bless her. Her friend, who does a lot of Drama got a B, but now neither of them can go to Spain and order a drink, ask directions or even call for help in an emergency!

 

I'm sure other UK schools make a better job of it but I do think there is an element of the British assuming everyone else will learn our language so not worrying too much about teaching other languages to our children.

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We were only given two years of foreign language, with the option of two more years. We had French, Spanish (which I stupidly did not take- I live in California for heaven's sake) or Russian. I took three and a half years of Russian. I can understand some Ukrainian and Putin, when he speaks. But I can't read it or write it, really, anymore. Not many Russian speakers to talk with lol. I do read lots of Russian literature and history, which were never included in my classes.

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I did the highest level of secondary school education in the Netherlands. The lower and average level, I think, just get English (and Dutch of course). The level above that get English and some French or German. The level above that (my level), do English, French and German, and I also took a bit of Latin and lots of ancient Greek (I did both at first and then we had to choose one of the two). We read some books for English (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, In Cold Blood, To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth, Across the Barricades, some older poems and for my literary free read I chose On the Beach by Nevil Shute). For French and German we didn't have to read any books (if you chose to do more in those courses, maybe you did, but I chose science and maths instead). For Latin and ancient Greek we didn't "read" any books, but we did translate parts of famous Latin and Greek texts (such as The Iliad and The Odyssey). For English, French and German we did also read articles and have audio tests (where you listen to a conversation and then get questions).

 

I read books in both Dutch and in English. If the book is originally Dutch, then I prefer to read the Dutch. If it's English, then I prefer to read the English. If it's another language.. then it really depends. I generally prefer to read fantasy and science-fiction books in English, for example, because the terms just sound more magical in English (but the names sound better in Dutch, so I always pronounce them the Dutch way unless the English way makes a lot of sense to me). Because I read many English books, I spoke (speak) English with my (British) boyfriend and his family, and because I was and am on the internet on English websites and forums, speaking and reading (and writing) English is pretty easy for me now. When I was in secondary school I found it hard to have a fluent conversation in English, also because I was shy. But now, I find it much easier.

 

I find it interesting to learn what languages other people learn :).

 

I merged several threads, all on the same subject.

Edited by Athena

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When I was at school (back in the olden days ;)) we learnt either French or German in the first year of senior school, and then if you were in the top 20% of the year then you went on to study both for the next two years, which I did.  After that you can choose if you want to carry on with either or both, and I chose just to carry on with French.

 

After I left school, I took evening classes in some languages, and did two years of Swedish, two years of Italian and also did another year of French over the years, but I haven't done any for a while.  I would like to go back to learning another language to a more advanced level, but time doesn't permit it at the moment.  My favourite to learn was Italian, but French is the only one I could even feel remotely competent in.  I'd love to attempt Spanish at some point, but probably my first choice to go back to would be Italian ... or maybe French :D 

 

It's been a long time since I've done it, but I have read a couple of novels in French, but I'd need a proper refresher course before I could attempt that again! :lol:

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In Ireland we are taught Irish from about 4/5 years of age until we are 17/18, in final year of secondary education. it is compulsory throughout all primary and secondary education, unless you have lived a number of years abroad and it's basically too late to start learning it. And yet, due to how terribly it is taught, and the broad attitude towards teaching/learning it, nobody is fluent except students who attend Gaelscoils, or Irish schools, throughout their primary and secondary education. It's a shame, because I would love to be fluent.

 

In secondary school it is strongly encouraged that students take at least one foreign language, the choices usually being French, Spanish, German, occasionally Italian and in some schools you can also study Latin if you like. I took two years of French in primary school, which was a pilot programme at the time, and then a year of Latin and Spanish for five years in secondary school. I have zero French now and incredibly limited Spanish. I basically learned nothing.

 

Since leaving school I've learned bits of Japanese and Norwegian - the former because I watch a lot of anime and was picking it up anyway, and the latter because I want to visit Norway and am a huge fan of a Norwegian comedy duo who have a chat show, which I watch subtitled, and again resulted in me picking up bits of it anyway.

 

I find languages so difficult, though, that I usually don't get very far and lack the motivation to keep going.

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It's not compulsory to learn any languages here.  Some schools make it compulsory, but mine didn't. I didn't learn any in high school and wish I had. There was the option to learn French, German and Latin and maybe Mandarin, I can't remember.  I can speak a little Maori (self taught) but nowhere near fluent.

 

My kids school this year made it compulsory for the new students to learn a language (13 year olds).  One of the options is sign language, which I think is cool, and something I want to learn one day.

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I think what I found hardest about German was the way in which the verb goes to the end of a sentence, I was OK with short sentences but long ones lost me! :banghead:

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