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Should we be teaching languages in our schools?

A_man_called_CHIOG  Male  South East London 17-Jul-2019 16:49 Message #4745377
Is it necessary? Worthwhile? Waste of time? If you were learning another language which one would you choose? Would you prefer to perfect your grasp of the English language?
tumbled  Male  Gloucestershire 17-Jul-2019 16:50 Message #4745378
Oui and Nein...
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire 17-Jul-2019 18:08 Message #4745393
You’ve been watching ‘allo ‘allo again.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 17-Jul-2019 18:54 Message #4745398
I don't see it as either perfecting your grasp of English or learning a foreign language, people should be leaving school already with a good grasp of both written and spoken English, that so many are not should be a cause of national shame and something we should be trying much harder to sort out. I think learning another language makes your brain walk a different path, language shapes the way we think about things, different languages have words that give shades of meaning that might not be there in English to certain emotions or concepts. I don't think we shoud be thinking just about learning European languages either, but Chinese, Arabic as well as an Indian language.
brisinger  Male  Lancashire 17-Jul-2019 20:55 Message #4745410
In our school the street language you learned was Urdu. There was a high percentage of pupils from a Muslim background and they would switch to it if they wanted to slag you off.
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire 18-Jul-2019 06:21 Message #4745437
No knowledge or learning is a waste of time. Languages are so interesting whether you need to use them or not but most of us probably travel somewhere a second language is useful. Wales if you don’t want to go too far and the Welsh love someone who attempts their language.
persona_non_grata  Male  North London 18-Jul-2019 08:53 Message #4745445
Non est autem necessarium.
leogirl  Female  Essex 18-Jul-2019 12:12 Message #4745468
I am glad I was made to learn 3 foreign languages at my secondary school ( at least the very basics ) . French, English and then German . So did my sister and 2 brothers., My younger brother is perhaps the one with the best understanding of Germanic languages as he spoke a fair bit of Norwegian too.
My sister`s husband`s work ment that they lived in the USA for a while and also in Paris. In Paris they would speak 3 languages in one day!
Holland is a small , but has a wealthy economy, mainly because we learned at a very young age at our Dutch and double Dutch would not get us very far .
I knowledge of other languages and other cultures opens horizons.

Aely  Female  Hampshire 18-Jul-2019 19:10 Message #4745492
Konbanwa MSE. Genki desuka.
I think language tuition should be available in schools. I did Latin, French and some German when I was at school. Russian didn't become available until I was already in the 5th form and Spanish, a very useful holiday language just a few years later wasn't offered at all back then. One student was taught Ancient Greek by the Head Mistress to improve her chances of getting accepted by a major University for a Classics course but otherwise it wasn't on offer.

I learned basic Spanish in double quick time after I left school thanks to the Latin. Spanish turned out to be virtually Latin for Dummies. It also helped my English vocabulary and spelling as I was more aware of the roots of words used in English. I started to learn Japanese, because I was bored, in my late 50s. It was interesting. So different to any European language. Wakarimasu ka.

French is useful. Not only will it help me to converse with my brother and niece since they became half French earlier this year (it is only polite after all!) but I can say adieu to the EU when we finally leave. The Europhiles might prefer au revoir.

My small amount of German was useful many years ago when I was able to reassure my boss that our German colleagues were discussing holiday plans, not an invasion and a knowledge of German first studied at school has enabled my Anglo/French niece to land some very lucrative work at an Embassy. She also speaks Mandarin although that was University taught.

It is great knowing other languages but although I think a good knowledge of written and spoken English is a priority (sadly lacking in a lot of children and their parents) I can say ab imo caudere that some foreign language lessons should be available, if not mandatory, in schools.

Does anybody watch Harrow, the Australian drama series? All the episode titles are in Latin (sometimes not very good Latin) and got me dragging out a Latin text book and my old school dictionary to check my translation.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 19-Jul-2019 11:23 Message #4745551
Maybe we should be teaching basic Latin at primary school as it does give such a good foundation for many other European languages and helps to understand some of our own. But then I find words facinating, their origins, the layers of meaning they give, how you can track the arrivals of different groups from the words in our language today. Likewise I find dialects really interesting and I'm pretty sure many of them can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
Jeff  Male  East Sussex 19-Jul-2019 17:43 Message #4745583
Every country should teach at least 2 languages:-
(a) Their own language, and
(b) An internationally agreed language, such as Esperanto.

Then most people in the world could communicate.
Aely  Female  Hampshire 20-Jul-2019 22:13 Message #4745754
A lot of countries do, Jeff. the "in common" language is called English.
fosy  Male  Leicestershire 20-Jul-2019 23:03 Message #4745768
Esperanto has not, and never will, catch on in the way that english has.

i know that mandarin chinese is the most spoken language, but it doesnt "travel".

if nothing else, we can say we gave the world a language, imo.
persona_non_grata  Male  North London 20-Jul-2019 23:06 Message #4745769
We were taught French in school and I left being able to say open the window, close the door and I love you which if I’d been brave enough I might have tried out on my very pretty French teacher. Later I worked in Italy and become very proficient at being able to talk to everyone there but in broken sentences and odd words not with a impressive flow.
I’m quite interested in Latin from which so many languages are derived.

Schools are right to teach at least one other language as well as English which is my favourite.

RAACH84  Female  Buckinghamshire 21-Jul-2019 07:10 Message #4745793
I learned about as much French as you did when I was at school png but both my daughters speak reasonable Spanish which has been helped a lot by the information and help on the Internet.
terry  Male  West Yorkshire 21-Jul-2019 07:17 Message #4745795
I have difficulty speaking English most of the time
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire 21-Jul-2019 08:54 Message #4745806
You write good English terry and I’m guessing you speak good English too lol.
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire 26-Jul-2019 06:33 Message #4746356
Maybe we should be teaching basic Latin at primary school as it does give such a good foundation for many other European languages and helps to understand some of our own.

Very true. Learning other languages can teach us a lot about our own language too.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 26-Jul-2019 07:54 Message #4746364
I am not in agreement at all ,with Latin, nowadays. I studied it for 7 years and even passed A levels too, but what use what is to me ... none whatsoever !! I also studied French & German. I taught French ( first job) but gave it up after 6months - I had to teach Pakistani children French, most of whom couldnt speak English. It was the end of my teaching career. I hated it.
I believe Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, but I wouldnt want to attempt speaking/learning it. I cant see any benefits - I dont think the Chinese will be taking over.
I did a short course of Esperanto many years ago too... useless !
I think English should be taught in all of our schools, but nowadays, with so many other cultures, its very hard for the teachers.

So many youngsters nowadays cant even grasp the basics. I absolutely hate to hear :

fings (things)
anyfing or anythink (anything)
yeh (yes)
aint,int (isnt)
giss (give)
somfing (something)
... and lots more
I do prefer to hear and speak, the Queens English
tumbled  Male  Gloucestershire 26-Jul-2019 09:29 Message #4746377
Latin is all around us...well, sort of anyway..

An elderly relative used to teach it...and I always said that if ever I applied to go on Who Wants to be a millionaire, he would be one of my 'phone a friend' people...Quite a lot of questions are word related, and the Latin connection is very much there for anyone who knows Latin...I don't know any, apart from the things I have picked up along the way, so a 'Latin' phone a friend would be handy...
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 26-Jul-2019 12:06 Message #4746396
Vic the examples you give have been around for years, I certainly remember them at school, a lot of it's regional accents and dialects something which I think adds richness and texture to our language.

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