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    Which language do you think is now the most important one to learn at an early age?

    Do you think there is really a point in learning the usual French, German and Spanish languages when they are losing groud on the world stage?
    Do you feel there is a need to stick by these languages, or that schools should start teaching languages such as mandarin, which could arguably be more important in the future?
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    Seeing as there's been quite a bit of scientific research into the relationship between languages and the brain (all positive) the study should be continued. (Kids suck up languages like little sponges before the age of twelve!) But, in terms of practicality - no, i don't see the point of learning russian, etc. when the global economy is currently shifting towards eastern asia. Although difficult, the most profitable new languages for kids to be learning right now would have to be mandarin, japanese, etc.
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    Start with Latin or Ancient Greek to learn the building blocks of grammar, syntax and vocabulary at a young age, then build on that in whatever direction you want. There's no point schools restricting learning to the relatively easy Romance languages - what about Indian languages, Mandarin, Japanese, Russian etc. ?
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    (Original post by beekeeper_)
    Which language do you think is now the most important one to learn at an early age?

    Do you think there is really a point in learning the usual French, German and Spanish languages when they are losing groud on the world stage?
    Do you feel there is a need to stick by these languages, or that schools should start teaching languages such as mandarin, which could arguably be more important in the future?
    While I agree that French and German are moving to the wayside, I have to disagree with you regarding Spanish. While Spain, itself, may no longer be a considerable power, there is a whole slew of Latin American countries that in the Western Hemisphere, and immigration and reproduction ratios could lead to the US becoming predominantly Spanish-speaking in our lifetime (though, I doubt it will work out that way, but, if it does, I'm booking it faster than you can say "No me gusta espanol").

    With regards to the wisdom of learning Mandarin, the same was said in the 80s about learning Japanese. Of course, I'm of the general mindset that there should be a better balance between practicality and intellectual exercise. If the student doesn't feel engaged by a certain language, he won't learn the it very well anyway. It would be great to introduce Mandarin language programs, but it would be wise to avoid any measures to phase out other languages until significant and persistent interest has been demonstrated.
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    To be honest, I think learning any language is more important than which language it is.

    And lerning some East Asian language isn't going to be that necessary as most people over there who would ever talk/communicate with people from the UK would speak Englsih anyway. You might think this is lazy on our part, but countries like China alrwady have a mass programme of learning English. They will be able to communcate with us, so what benefit is there in us learning their languages so that we have two ways or communicating? It is just adding a redundancy which is a wast of resources and time.

    Wouldn't it be much better if we were to teach languages which may have more everyday uses? (The avaerage person is more likly to be speaking to someone from Europe than Easte Asia, even in 50 years time when Asia has a lot more power.) Learning a European language will still be of great benefit when there are still many people one might interact with fairly often who don't speak the same language as us. These people speak French, Spanish, German, Itailian etc. With closer ties towards the EU it means more interatcting with these people, knowing their language will be of much more benefit.
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    (Original post by Dr. Blazed)
    Start with Latin or Ancient Greek to learn the building blocks of grammar, syntax and vocabulary at a young age, then build on that in whatever direction you want. There's no point schools restricting learning to the relatively easy Romance languages - what about Indian languages, Mandarin, Japanese, Russian etc. ?
    The strange thing is I sort of agree (even though I was forced to do 5 years of latin at school.

    The obvious choice is Madarin.
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    I think learning a European language is better.We are closer to those countries, we have more opportunities to speak the language there etc. Although languages like Mandarin are starting to be more important, not only is it much harder to learn (and i mean much harder) but the availability of teachers isn't very good and most people will only get to speak it in a Chinese Takeaway (and most of the one's in my area spaek Cantonese anyway!)
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    I suppose the most covenient thing would be to learn the most widely spoken languages, but I think the real issue is the age at which children learn languages, the earlier the better.
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    (Original post by Northumbrian)
    I think learning a European language is better.We are closer to those countries, we have more opportunities to speak the language there etc. Although languages like Mandarin are starting to be more important, not only is it much harder to learn (and i mean much harder) but the availability of teachers isn't very good and most people will only get to speak it in a Chinese Takeaway (and most of the one's in my area spaek Cantonese anyway!)
    Ever been on a university campus?

    China is becoming more wealthy and more chinese people are travelling. All you have to do is look at the influence americans have had on where english is spoken. Madarin may become much more widespread in the future.
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    in secondary school we were forced to learn french till i was in year 9. i had started learning latin in my old school in year 5 but my secondary school said french was compulsory and you couldn't get into uni with out it....
    hit year 10.. found out it had just been made optional and was no longer compulsory... french didn't run that year because out of 150 students not 1 said they wanted to take it...

    i think most people inschool now should be taught how to use the english language, cause im sure in school that is being replaced by something i have no idea about!
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    Compulsory French language education always seemed like a disaster to me. Few people put time into doing the work, and it really just became a lesson to mess around in. I think the problem is British attitudes towards France; we don't take them seriously and mainly look accross the channel with antipathy - when we aren't going there on holiday. Compare it to the average discussion about China, which at the moment involves predictions of them becoming more powerful than the United States: We generally look at these alien East Asian cultures in awe, even if skylines and economic growth are the only achievement worth gaping at, so far. For these reasons, I think Mandarin would have a greater success than French presently does.
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    Toss up between Uzbek, Swahili, or Tok Pisin.
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    I believe that Spanish is probably a language that children would like to learn early, although not incredibly important a language Spain is an extremely popular holiday destination and alot of children will have either visited or want to visit. It also opens jobs as holiday reps. This is probably almost the same for Portugese and Italian.

    If it was down to importance I would say Mandarin Chinese as has likely been said before due to its ever increasing enconomy. Japanese also I imagine would provide a lot of job prospects.
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    I dont think that everyone will become a businessman or stockbroker who is going to travel a lot to other countries and make deals.lol.I dont think schools should really concentrate on mandarin or japanese. Perhaps schools may offer but not too many will choose such languages any way. They are too hard.lol.French, German, Spanish and Latin are the better choices rly.
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    As much as I enjoy learning languages myself (Well only french and german, but still), the idea of making school kids learn mandarin seems a bad idea. Well, I guess you could teach madarin to kids when they are young, but it wouldn't be such a good idea to do it at secondary level. Why? Enough people at my school (heck, at any school) complain about learning french or german or spanish, which are obviously closer to english, so imagine the horror of learning a language which is even less connected to anything vaguely english or european for that matter, and has symbols instead of our alphabet and different noises to denote different meanings in a word that would just be spelt the same in english! Ack.
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    (Original post by Sorani)
    I believe that Spanish is probably a language that children would like to learn early, although not incredibly important a language Spain is an extremely popular holiday destination and alot of children will have either visited or want to visit. It also opens jobs as holiday reps. This is probably almost the same for Portugese and Italian.

    If it was down to importance I would say Mandarin Chinese as has likely been said before due to its ever increasing enconomy. Japanese also I imagine would provide a lot of job prospects.
    Spanish is incredibly important because it's one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and because the most powerful country in the world is becoming increasingly bi-lingual.

    Spanish is also a fantastic language to start with because it is relatively easy and is a great springboard to learning other languages. From Spanish we can learn French, Portuguese, Italian, even Romanian. In fact, most Indo-European languages (as do many Slavonic) congugate verbs in much the same way so learning Spanish is extraordinarily useful IMHO.
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    (Original post by IZZY!)
    I dont think that everyone will become a businessman or stockbroker who is going to travel a lot to other countries and make deals.lol.I dont think schools should really concentrate on mandarin or japanese. Perhaps schools may offer but not too many will choose such languages any way. They are too hard.lol.French, German, Spanish and Latin are the better choices rly.
    Good point. Only about 0.1% of people are going to be jet-setting off to Bejing conducting business so it's not going to be much use to most folks.
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    (Original post by beekeeper_)
    Which language do you think is now the most important one to learn at an early age?

    Do you think there is really a point in learning the usual French, German and Spanish languages when they are losing groud on the world stage?
    Do you feel there is a need to stick by these languages, or that schools should start teaching languages such as mandarin, which could arguably be more important in the future?
    There is more to learning a language that just learning how to speak it. In order to be properly educated in a language, you have to understand a bit about the culture of the people who speak it. For that reason I don't think that children should be taught Mandarin just because it's more 'relevant' internationally.

    I was educated in Welsh from the age of 4-12, and not only did I learn the language, but I understood a lot more about Welsh culture, literature, history and so on.

    I doubt very much that Welsh will be an official UN language any time is the forseeable future, but I can't see Welsh children being taught Mandarin instead.
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    In my view, the only languages worth learning for those eyeing the job markets are English, Mandarin, French, German and Japanese. It's a no-brainer if you consider the respective economies whereby the languages will be useful. US- largest economy, Japan- 2nd largest economy, et cetera. Incidentally, these are also the 'hot' languages people are trying to pick up in language learning centres and academic institutions. Take some time to look at the job advertisements should you doubt my suggestion.

    Related:
    Chinese is the language to learn
    Australia's language barrier
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    (Original post by beekeeper_)
    Which language do you think is now the most important one to learn at an early age?

    Do you think there is really a point in learning the usual French, German and Spanish languages when they are losing groud on the world stage?
    Do you feel there is a need to stick by these languages, or that schools should start teaching languages such as mandarin, which could arguably be more important in the future?
    I think that we should all do latin.

    However i do think that schools waste too much time doing art, music and rs.
 
 
 
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