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Foreigners doing native language as qualification, fair or not? Watch

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    (Original post by 21stcenturyphantom)
    The English Language GCSE studied at school is not a course for those learning English as a foreign language, as is the case for language qualifications offered for French, German and Spanish etc.

    Students are not taught how to compose a sentence demonstrating the correct use of the condition or present participle of a verb, for example, as they already know how to do such things.
    I didn't say it was. I'm English. I studied English. I received a qualification in English. If they are Spanish. Studying Spanish. Why shouldn't they gain the qualification?
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    Similarly some foreigners come to British universities to study their own languages, it's quite odd and it doesn't give a great impression, but still they do it. I once spoke to a Ukrainian girl who was quite open about the fact that she only came here to do a degree in her native language because it was easy and at a prestigious university. I don't know why the university let her in. :dontknow:
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    (Original post by Moofie10)
    I didn't say it was. I'm English. I studied English. I received a qualification in English. If they are Spanish. Studying Spanish. Why shouldn't they gain the qualification?
    You are implying that the study of English by an English person is comparable to a Spanish person studying Spanish, the two are not the same as the syllabi have different objectives and themes, not to mention purpose and, as I previously said, the teaching of Spanish is as a Modern Foreign Language which, to a native Spanish speaker, Spanish is not a foreign language and they already have substantial knowledge of the language. I could not make it clearer to understand.

    Regardless, one of the questions being debated here is the usefulness of such an endeavour even if the student studied it.
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    (Original post by Samual)
    Similarly some foreigners come to British universities to study their own languages, it's quite odd and it doesn't give a great impression, but still they do it. I once spoke to a Ukrainian girl who was quite open about the fact that she only came here to do a degree in her native language because it was easy and at a prestigious university. I don't know why the university let her in. :dontknow:
    I agree that in the case of the Ukrainian girl, it's kind of bad, but I wouldn't be so quick to judge. For instance, the foreign language courses at Oxford are very literature-based, and many, many history/politics/culture/etc modules involved. It's not a case of somebody just doing a pure language course.
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    It's perfectly fair in my opinion. It's an achievement in itself to be fluent in more than one language, so why shouldn't they be recognised for it? A native Spanish speaker has still had to actually learn Spanish, just like anyone else taking the Spanish exam. They're not just born with an innate ability to speak Spanish.

    The only difference is that the native speaker learnt their language much earlier in their life, and over a longer period of time. But then, if someone had their parents teach them advanced Maths when they were very young (as some parents do, I know a couple of people who got their A*s in Maths GCSE when they were still in primary school), nobody would be suggesting that such a qualification doesn't "count". So why should it be any different with a language?

    Ultimately the point of a language qualification is simply to prove that you can speak/understand that language to a particular standard. And if a native speaker meets that standard, there's no harm in them having a piece of paper which says so. If an employer is looking for someone who can speak Spanish to A-Level standard, a native speaker is just as valuable to them as a non-native speaker who has passed the A-Level would be.
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    (Original post by 21stcenturyphantom)
    Students are not taught how to compose a sentence demonstrating the correct use of the condition or present participle of a verb, for example, as they already know how to do such things.
    Conditional*

    Also, I really do think that we should have classes like that for English speakers. It's very rare to find somebody English who actually writes well in English - so that it flows, and makes sense, and all the punctuation is used appropriately, for instance. Maybe not so much on TSR, but still.
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    Of course it's fair. They've learnt English so why can't they get a qualification in their language? I want to study my Master's Degree in Madrid, Spanish is my second language and some of the modules on the course will be in English. I've spent time and effort learning Spanish so if I want "easy" grades because of the modules in English then why can't I?
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    It's perfectly fair in my opinion. It's an achievement in itself to be fluent in more than one language, so why shouldn't they be recognised for it? A native Spanish speaker has still had to actually learn Spanish, just like anyone else taking the Spanish exam. They're not just born with an innate ability to speak Spanish.

    The only difference is that the native speaker learnt their language much earlier in their life, and over a longer period of time. But then, if someone had their parents teach them advanced Maths when they were very young (as some parents do, I know a couple of people who got their A*s in Maths GCSE when they were still in primary school), nobody would be suggesting that such a qualification doesn't "count". So why should it be any different with a language?

    Ultimately the point of a language qualification is simply to prove that you can speak/understand that language to a particular standard. And if a native speaker meets that standard, there's no harm in them having a piece of paper which says so. If an employer is looking for someone who can speak Spanish to A-Level standard, a native speaker is just as valuable to them as a non-native speaker who has passed the A-Level would be.
    Precisely.
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    (Original post by BarackObama)
    Conditional*

    Also, I really do think that we should have classes like that for English speakers. It's very rare to find somebody English who actually writes well in English - so that it flows, and makes sense, and all the punctuation is used appropriately, for instance. Maybe not so much on TSR, but still.
    I agree. I would like to see the return of native grammar but I doubt this is something the government plans on addressing. Meanwhile the standard of written and spoken English slides ever more towards totally colloquial usage. Now excuse me whilst I check my post for any errors.
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    I'm fluent in Polish and have an Alevel in it, I didn't need it for uni but I suppose it doesn't count, it still involves grammar etc though. Would everyone taking English (as a language) pass with their grammar? I wouldn't haha
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    (Original post by Moofie10)
    Erm....you're English....and studied English at school :doh:
    Why is this being negged? I've looked at the original post and there seems to be nothing specific, if you neg it at least have the decency to specify reasons to why because it seems extremely narrow minded. Ever heard of linguistics? Just because someone is a native speaker doesn't mean they're good at a language hence why we do A level English examinations...
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    When you say universities don't consider the native language as a qualification, do they just assume that you are perfect at it just because it's your first language?
    I did Japanese A Level and it is indeed my first language but I still find it quite difficult and I believe that English is probably my stronger out of the 2.
    So is that really fair for a university to judge like that?
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    I know a girl whose one parent is French, lived for 3 years in France and did French at A-level - ah, the perks of being bilingual.
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    (Original post by BarackObama)
    I agree that in the case of the Ukrainian girl, it's kind of bad, but I wouldn't be so quick to judge. For instance, the foreign language courses at Oxford are very literature-based, and many, many history/politics/culture/etc modules involved. It's not a case of somebody just doing a pure language course.
    Oxford I think is the exception because it is so focused on literature, very few other language degrees are so lit heavy. In general I think it is fair to assume that someone coming to the UK to study their own language does not have the best of intentions. Only a few weeks ago I saw someone from the Netherlands post on TSR that they were going to study Dutch and Management in the UK, I had a look at the degree's course content and most of it was language learning, there was very little literature or cultural options. :curious:

    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    It's an achievement in itself to be fluent in more than one language, so why shouldn't they be recognised for it?
    It is always an achievement to speak several languages? If you are lucky enough to have parents who speak to you in a language other than English at home, but you live in an English speaking country then you will grow up speaking those two languages fluently. I do not see how the learning of either language can be considered an 'achievement' because it did not require any special effort.
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    I don’t think we can really make any fair comparisons between languages and maths, as some of you have done. Firstly, for an A-level in maths you have to it several papers. For a modern language, you normally sit only 1 or occasionally 2 papers, which means it is far easier to mess up and lose your place at university by dropping very few marks, especially if a paper throws you a curved ball. On top of this, language exams tend to be quite unpredictable and thus difficult to prepare for. The way they are marked is also annoyingly dependent on which examiner you get. Take Edexcel for example: the marking guidelines for the mini essays go something like: “excellent structure: award 17-20” and “good structure: award 14-16”. Students are thus at the mercy of whoever is marking their paper. Of course, one examiner’s idea of good might be another’s idea of excellent. Some examiners might decide that some candidates who are clearly better than average deserve an A* whereas other examiners might award very few A*s. A-level maths is studied by far far more people than study any given language, or even all language A-levels put together. Therefore those who have learned maths from a younger age and are brilliant don’t really have an effect on the grade boundaries in the same way a native speaker would for a modern language.

    Now my objection to having native speakers studying language A-levels is that oral examinations are notoriously difficult to do well in as someone who has just learned the language at school. This is because native speakers significantly raise the grade boundaries artificially. Assuming a native speaker can argue reasonably well (and the idea of a debate or tit-for-tat discussion is really quite token anyway; it’s just a good way of showing oral aptitude) he or she should get full marks. Oral exams are worth roughly a third of A-level UMS and for that third there are very few raw marks. So a few simple mistakes and you could end up paying a heavy price. If it were just a question of reaching a certain set standard then it would not be unfair. After all, even if a native speaker can do well, you wouldn't then be in competition with him or her. The problem is that everyone's grades are influenced, to some extent at least, by how well everyone else does.

    Another reason I think this is unfair is because there is no reason why a student can’t simply take a quick A-level in a language they are a native speaker in to gain more UCAS points and give themselves an unfair advantage when applying for courses which ask for a certain number of UCAS points, especially if there are no indicators (name, nationality, etc) to suggest that this is what they are doing.

    One possibility would be to introduce a separate language qualification for those who are native speakers, although this could raise questions about where to draw the line on “native”.

    Native speakers are really really annoying at University too. I don’t know why people are allowed in to study a language they are already native speakers in. Fair enough, they want to study/ write about the literature etc of that country, but there is still a significant language element which they will ace with little or no work in any university - Oxbridge included. Now while this is no skin off my back, since I’m not competing with them at university in the same way I am at school, it’s nonsense that someone doing my course (where you have to study two languages) can get a 1st in their native language – despite having written less than convincing analytical essays - and then only a 2.2/3rd in their other language. They clearly are either not working hard enough, or simply don’t have the actual language and critical aptitude that universities should be looking for in new students. Although there are no quotas for my course, at a uni where there are, this makes it even more unfair. Students who would benefit much more from the course are probably losing out to native speakers.
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    (Original post by blissfully)
    When you say universities don't consider the native language as a qualification, do they just assume that you are perfect at it just because it's your first language?
    I did Japanese A Level and it is indeed my first language but I still find it quite difficult and I believe that English is probably my stronger out of the 2.
    So is that really fair for a university to judge like that?
    They judge because they assume that, like the majority, you find the A level paper piss-easy and are just doing it to get an A* as part of your three subjects for the uni grade requirement.

    I agree with you, it is unfair for us (the minority) who do the paper to genuinely improve their language skills. I'm in the same boat as you with Russian.
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      I think it's fair, I took French as a subject in university, it was actually quite hard and really back to basics, you'd be surprised how much you can learn by going back to basics although since I dropped out, my French has obviously gone back to normal as I stopped studying my own language :lol: if anything with the constant German conversations I have, my French has worsened while my English has improved... so yeah, **** :rofl:
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      (Original post by BarackObama)
      I agree that in the case of the Ukrainian girl, it's kind of bad, but I wouldn't be so quick to judge. For instance, the foreign language courses at Oxford are very literature-based, and many, many history/politics/culture/etc modules involved. It's not a case of somebody just doing a pure language course.
      This is true of Oxford. There's a French girl studying French at my college and she did not get a First because the papers purely testing language were only 2/7th of the final mark for first year. Also bear in mind that there will be linguistics modules and things like studying the Ancient version of the language etc. that a native speaker will never have done before at school.
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      (Original post by BarackObama)
      Are you five? At least try to explain your opinion.
      I think part of the problem with these people is that when people hear 'bilingual' they think it means you are native in both. I grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church but I'm not Greek and because of that I know quite a few people who are bilingual and yet some of them their Greek is awful compared to what people would expect (I can speak Greek, just not natively) and they don't know that there is a high amount of variation in bilingualism, some are perfect, some have almost forgotten evevything. What is stupid is people who come from foreign countries doing an alevel in their own language. I got that for my german a level, I can tell sitting in a room for of ten Germans speaking extremely fast before your exam is off putting, plus their 'teacher' was pure English which was just plain weird
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      (Original post by Samual)
      It is always an achievement to speak several languages? If you are lucky enough to have parents who speak to you in a language other than English at home, but you live in an English speaking country then you will grow up speaking those two languages fluently. I do not see how the learning of either language can be considered an 'achievement' because it did not require any special effort.
      I would say that it certainly requires special effort. The fact that it's so likely that a child will be fluent in languages that they're exposed to when they're young does not take away from the effort they have to put in to learn it. Even just learning English, or whatever your mother-tongue happens to be, requires effort. It just happens much earlier on in life, when a child is naturally inquisitive and more inclined to try to learn new things, and at a point when people might not remember the kind of effort they had to put in to learn them. And it happens for a different reason; you are motivated to put the effort in out of necessity to communicate properly, rather than just to please your teacher or pass an exam.

      A child doesn't just spontaneously sprout the ability to speak, understand, read and write a language completely fluently. If you watch a child growing up through their early stages of life, you see that they're always actively seeking to improve their vocabulary out of necessity to be understood, by pointing at things and asking what they're called. When they hear new words, they have to ask what they mean and actively learn and remember them, out of necessity to understand the full sentence. Their parents, in order to teach them properly, have to ask them to repeat sentences properly if they use incorrect grammar, just as a schoolteacher would. And they usually learn to read, write and spell through formal schooling anyway. The learning process is no different to learning a new language at GCSE. The only difference is that the initial motivation to learn comes from needing to communicate rather than needing to pass an exam. There's no reason why it would require any less effort.

      Some native British adults who speak nothing but English, speak very poor English - whereby they can be understood, but their small vocabulary, grammatical and spelling errors and poor reading skills would easily result in failing a foreign country's English exam.
      I personally was lucky enough to have parents who spoke to me in Hindi and Urdu when I was growing up. But my parents were completely fluent in English too, so I didn't need to try to learn new words in those languages, because I could just use the English word. I didn't need to perfect my grammar in my sentences, because I could just say my whole sentence in English. There was never any need for me to learn to read or write in those languages either. So now, while I can mostly understand what they say and clumsily make myself understood if need be, there's no way I could pass an exam in it. That's the result of a lack of effort.
     
     
     
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