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    "All UK students should be forced to learn a Second Language" - Discuss!!!

    In addition to the above - as research for a little project/business venture of mine I would be interested to know:

    • What you found hardest about learning a language...
    • What you found easiest about learning a language...
    • What you would have improved about your learning experience...


    Answers can be as short as you like, avid discussions are welcome!!!
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    I started learning a language (French) in 1998 when I started secondary school, when I started I was willing to because of the idea of traveling.However this was compulsory and my peers did not have the same interest as me and we mucked about and also the language materials where poor i.e. a passed down textbook and a tape played to the classroom, I found myself in a standard classroom however there was one classroom which had being modified for languages and the desks had headphones with them, I am not sure about this because this was usually for the academics and nerds who did well.

    Almost a decade later I started to learn Italian as I had just finished my HND (photography) I found it easier as I have more of an interest in Italian culture then French, I had got hold of many Italian language programs out of my own pocket and I found I learn more then my free state education ever offered me. Now I am looking to finish my degree and I am searching for a course that offer a Erasmus in Italy and a language learning module.

    what would I improve? I would say that standard way of learning does not work for most people, what worked for me was immersion I would watch Italian film with subtitles, read an article and translate with google (its not perfect but you can have a rough idea). but back in 2002-2003 we had two levels of exam papers, I was in the foundation and I thought to myself what's the point of doing this if the maximum grade I'm going to get is a D or a C where some one in the higher tier would at least get a C.
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    What you found hardest about learning a language...
    Depends on the language and if it is similar to any I know currently.

    What you found easiest about learning a language...
    Good teachers who explain things well ; being split into ability groups so teachers could cater more for your needs; being motivated to learn and travel to these countries

    What you would have improved about your learning experience...
    Being taught a language from primary school and to continue with this into secondary school , also more lessons on the culture and history of the countries which use the language.


    I hate the mentality of people who say "everyone speaks English, why should we learn a foreign language?" . I think that learning a new language is also about learning and appreciating other cultures and, if taught in the right way, is really enjoyable, although I realise it is not for everyone.
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    What you found hardest about learning a language...

    If a language is very different from the ones you know/can speak. I had French at Uni from almost scratch (had at High school some French in Year 12 but that was only for few months) which wasn't one of the easiest languages. And our teacher wasn't really on track (she was supposed to teach us conversational French whereas she taught us basic French like how to present yourself or how to name what things you have in your bag...).

    What you found easiest about learning a language...

    The opposite for the first point. I had Russian from scratch and had it for about 7 years but yet don't know much of it. The easiest part of Russian language was that my language had a lot of similar words or borrowings from the Russian language, so the learning itself was much like learning a native language.

    What you would have improved about your learning experience...

    I would have focused more on other languages such as Russian/French because at school my main focus was the English language. Also, I should have taken German instead of French at Uni.


    Honestly, the more languages you know the better chances in real life you have. Also, it's so interesting to learn the languages, cultures and life of countries that speak those languages.

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    I think it should be compulsory for every student to study them until GCSE as they are so intertwined with many other subjects like history, politics, culture,travel and even English...people who study another language understand their own better as a result and they will have more empathy for foreigners who have to learn English and be more open to new ideas and cultures.

    However, it isn't for everyone although it makes me sad when some people don't see any value in it at all. It's such an ignorant attitude to think that everyone speaks English. You will never fully appreciate another country or its culture if you don't learn the language.
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    (Original post by DavidSB)
    "All UK students should be forced to learn a Second Language"
    I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree. I think the fate of many UK graduates is limited because many do not speak a second language whereas the majority of our European neighbours have a system of learning a second language from kindergarten and perhaps a third or even fourth language is added before the student leaves the schooling system. Not only that, but even being able to speak only a little of a foreign language can dramatically alter the experience one would have when visiting that country; as it allows you to go away from tourist or 'english speaking' areas and perhaps talk with the locals or learn about their customs etc; living the world through the mouth of one language is not enough; in my opinion.

    I think the education system is diabolically archaic and lacking in this regard; and British language students at all levels are becoming fewer and fewer. It's selfish of me to say but the advantage of this is that those who graduate with solid skills in foreign languages are in increasing demand.

    The notion that 'the whole world speaks English' is only touted by those with a closed mind who frequent areas with high tourism and more often than not have no desire to expand their linguistic or cultural repertoire.

    I'm only a GCSE language student but I will answer your questions anyway:

    What you found hardest about learning a language...
    Speaking it. It is one thing to learn grammar constructions and practice reading but speaking really is where all the skills come together and I have found speaking Spanish in class difficult because it seems as though my mind starts to fall apart and turn to jelly the moment I try to process a sentence in Spanish.

    What you found easiest about learning a language...
    Learning the vocabulary and grammar. Perhaps I am unusual in this regard but I often only have to look at a word once or twice to remember its meaning, but I have fellow students in my class who say they have to write lists out and memorise them in order for them to stick in their mind.

    What you would have improved about your learning experience...
    I would have practiced my speaking skills more this past year. I could have used a foreign exchange program on the internet using Skype but I have been somewhat lazy and so I only have myself to blame. I plan on using this over the summer so that I can improve my speaking ability in both German and Spanish.
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    Should definitely be made compulsory, although learning another language is incredibly difficult at times. Those that do well are at a significant advantage

    Hardest thing for me is speaking; I find it so hard to make my adjectives, verbs etc agree and conjugate them correctly on the spot. I find writing easier as you obviously have time to thoroughly think through and check everything is correct!
 
 
 
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