Learning a language on top of a language degree Watch

bella_shadow
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Hi, I'm applying to do a degree in French and Portuguese at university, starting in 2015, and I really want to start learning a new language from scratch, either Spanish or German. Could anyone give me advice on whether this would be a good idea or if it would be too much to handle?
Thanks
Bella
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FionaMG
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(Original post by bella_shadow)
Hi, I'm applying to do a degree in French and Portuguese at university, starting in 2015, and I really want to start learning a new language from scratch, either Spanish or German. Could anyone give me advice on whether this would be a good idea or if it would be too much to handle?
Thanks
Bella
Hi.
I assume from what you've said that you are not a beginner in Portuguese. Portuguese and Spanish are partially mutually intelligible so you would probably find you could draw on your knowledge of Portuguese to help you with Spanish.
German is a different kettle of fish altogether; its grammar is quite demanding and very different from all three of the other languages you mentioned, so you might find that a bit of an uphill struggle.
Have you thought of perhaps looking at some Spanish and German language-learning books in your local library? That might help you get a feel for them.
Hope this helps.
Good luck.
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bella_shadow
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Thanks for your reply! You're right, I'm not a beginner in Portuguese, and I've started learning both languages at different times but stopped for various reasons. I'm not so much concerned with which language at this stage, because I'm only (hopefully) starting university next year, but I don't know if would be possible to add learning another language on top of a joint honours degree and bring it to a good standard without taking away from the two languages I'm studying for my degree. My question wasn't very clear, sorry.

Thanks for your advice on choosing which one though, I will look into each of the languages closer to the date to decide which one to study if I decide to
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sophia5892
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(Original post by bella_shadow)
Hi, I'm applying to do a degree in French and Portuguese at university, starting in 2015, and I really want to start learning a new language from scratch, either Spanish or German. Could anyone give me advice on whether this would be a good idea or if it would be too much to handle?
Thanks
Bella
It is heavy going. I'm currently doing a Masters in Translating (French and German) and studying beginner's Portuguese and Mandarin as evening classes.
By the end of this year, if I am at GCSE standard for Portuguese I will be happy. And with Mandarin, if I can say anything I'll consider that a success :P

I think it is very hard to progress in languages studying them separately from a languages degree - although there's lots of ways to achieve a good standard through self study, it is very difficult when you already have a full schedule of university classes and everything else that goes with that.

I wouldn't let that put you off trying.... just bear in mind you might not progress as quickly as you'd like!

Alternatively, why not look at 3 language degrees? That way your third language is incorporated rather than being an extra "burden". I did French, German and Japanese (and a bit of Dutch) for my undergrad and I think that's definitely easier than what I'm doing now. I just find I have no time to self-study for my new languages and, as they're evening classes, I have less contact time.

That's presuming you have A Level standard Portuguese as not many places let you do 2 languages at a level lower than post-A Level!
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bella_shadow
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(Original post by sophia5892)
It is heavy going. I'm currently doing a Masters in Translating (French and German) and studying beginner's Portuguese and Mandarin as evening classes.
By the end of this year, if I am at GCSE standard for Portuguese I will be happy. And with Mandarin, if I can say anything I'll consider that a success :P

I think it is very hard to progress in languages studying them separately from a languages degree - although there's lots of ways to achieve a good standard through self study, it is very difficult when you already have a full schedule of university classes and everything else that goes with that.

I wouldn't let that put you off trying.... just bear in mind you might not progress as quickly as you'd like!

Alternatively, why not look at 3 language degrees? That way your third language is incorporated rather than being an extra "burden". I did French, German and Japanese (and a bit of Dutch) for my undergrad and I think that's definitely easier than what I'm doing now. I just find I have no time to self-study for my new languages and, as they're evening classes, I have less contact time.

That's presuming you have A Level standard Portuguese as not many places let you do 2 languages at a level lower than post-A Level!


Wow, congratultions for your achievements so far! Thanks for the tip in not progressing as far as I'd like; I'll make the most of the resources available to me to progress further.

In regards to a 3 language degree: only one of the courses on my UCAS application is for a 3 language degree (University of Southampton) because there is a very limited amount of universities that offer post-A Level Portuguese study and of those that I have found and are within my grade range only Southampton offers a 3 language degree. Bristol University offers French, Spanish and Portuguese as a new course from 2015 but unfortunately it's Spanish that has to be studied from post-A Level and Portuguese ab initio. I was so bummed when I found out.

With your languages, I wish you the best of luck and hope that you can achieve your goals! Just believe in your ability; you've studied so many languages already, including Japanese, so Mandarin won't be impossible. I'm not familiar with how closely related Japanese and Mandarin are and if that would be a help or a hinderance to you, but who knows, you could come out of your evening lessons thinking in Mandarin in the near future!
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FionaMG
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(Original post by bella_shadow)
In regards to a 3 language degree: only one of the courses on my UCAS application is for a 3 language degree (University of Southampton) because there is a very limited amount of universities that offer post-A Level Portuguese study and of those that I have found and are within my grade range only Southampton offers a 3 language degree.
You may already have found it and decided it's not right for you, but just in case you haven't, the University of Essex offers several variations on 3-language degrees with Portuguese at post A-level.
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bella_shadow
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(Original post by FionaMG)
You may already have found it and decided it's not right for you, but just in case you haven't, the University of Essex offers several variations on 3-language degrees with Portuguese at post A-level.
Unfortunately I sent my application off recently so I can't change my choices now, I'm sad that I hadn't found it before but thank you very much for mentioning it. For some reason I've found a couple of universities in the last few days that offer Portuguese at post-A Level even though in June I had done extensive research through UCAS to find courses that weren't only ab initio.
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Snufkin
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Most universities have language centres where students can learn a language in their free time, however they do differ in quality. Which universities have you applied to? A lot of universities have language-labs where students can teach themselves. I know that UCL's School of Slavonic Studies offers evening classes in a huge range of East European languages at a discounted price for students, so I'm sure there are universities which offer similar evening classes for German and Spanish.

I dislike three language degrees because you don't do much apart from language learning. I personally feel that students who learn a language but don't study its litersture, history and culture are doing themselves a disservice.
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bella_shadow
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(Original post by Samual)
Most universities have language centres where students can learn a language in their free time, however they do differ in quality. Which universities have you applied to? A lot of universities have language-labs where students can teach themselves. I know that UCL's School of Slavonic Studies offers evening classes in a huge range of East European languages at a discounted price for students, so I'm sure there are universities which offer similar evening classes for German and Spanish.

I dislike three language degrees because you don't do much apart from language learning. I personally feel that students who learn a language but don't study its litersture, history and culture are doing themselves a disservice.
I applied to Bristol, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds and Southampton. I hadn't thought about that disadvantage of 3 language degrees but i completely agree with you: for me, the learning of literature, history and culture are what enriches the language-learning the most!

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sophia5892
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(Original post by bella_shadow)
I applied to Bristol, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds and Southampton. I hadn't thought about that disadvantage of 3 language degrees but i completely agree with you: for me, the learning of literature, history and culture are what enriches the language-learning the most!

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Newcastle might have been an option too for 3 langs, but I'm not sure how that works with Portuguese.

And I completely agree on that disadvantage. It is pointless to learn languages without learning about the countries. But on a 3 European languages degree, you'd still get 3 cultural modules a year. And you have your Year Abroad.

I was required to spend my full Year Abroad in Japan. As Japanese language is a double credit module I didn't do any Japanese culture as part of my degree in Newcastle. So when I picked a partner institution for the Year Abroad I made sure to choose one that offered a full culture programme instead of just opting for a partner where you'd study an intensive language course. So I did 10 different cultural modules on Japan with topics ranging from history, economy, international relations to gender, tea ceremony, cultural traditions etc.

On a European study placement most students don't take more than one of two language based classes. So they do get plenty of opportunity to study cultural modules.
Plus, just spending time in the country is enough I think!

Also, I think it's a lot easier to read French literature or history in your spare time than it is to learn a language. I don't think you really *need* to study things like that in an academic way to enrich your experience.
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