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    I'm trying to decide whether (next year) to apply for single-honours French or joint-honours French and an another language learnt from scratch. The thing is, it really would be from scratch because my school only offers French, so I have no background in any other language even at GCSE level. I'm afraid it would be too hard to pick up another one as I know from doing French how hard languages can be. I'm also put off by the fact that the top unis expect you to have some prior knowledge of both the language and the country where it's spoken before you start your course, as well as to have visited the country. Oxbridge, for example, expect you to be at A-level standard, which would involve taking a gap year and I don't want to do that. I really don't fancy teaching myself a language to that level! Not that I'd get into Oxbridge anyway, but I'm afraid that wherever I go, I'd be at a disadvantage.

    The good points of picking up another language are that it looks even better to be trilingual than bilingual and it would be easier to get a job. I want to be a teacher and I think most of them have 2 languages, which also means I wouldn't have to do any non-languages subjects at uni. I might find it easier to pick up Spanish or Italian considering they're quite similar to French and spending time in 2 countries during my course would be a fantastic experience.

    The main bad point is that I'd have to spend so much time on the new language that my French would be neglected and I might start getting confused between the two. Also, I wouldn't learn French in as much detail as I would on a single-honours course. I think it should be reasonably easy to get a job as a teacher with only one language considering the severe shortage.

    Obviously I have a year to think about this, so I don't have to decide now and I'll also discuss it with my parents and French teachers, but I just wanted to get some opinions.
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    Well I'm doing French, Spanish and Italian - the last two both from scratch. My school also only offered French (when I was there. They offer Spanish GCSE now that I'm not there anymore!! GRR :mad: )

    It can be a bit difficult and confusing, but I know that this is what I want to do, and that it's my dream to speak loads of languages, so I'm gonna keep at it. I ended up liking the 2 new languages better than French...But I think that's because I have to know stuff in French, but not the others! It's less pressure in that sense, but more pressure in the sense that I'm doing 2 languages from scratch, and one post A level.. Hm..also, I think I may've lost my passion from French a little bit....

    My advice is, it's always good to do more than one subject, job wise and also interest wise (I mean it's more interesting to do more than one [and if you're not enjoying one thing, at least you'll probably be enjoying the other], and you learn about a different culture, etc), and if you want to learn a new language, do it. It'll be useful if you go on holiday, if nothing else! Don't do it unless you think you'll enjoy it though!

    Remember that you won't graduate for a good few years so the 'shortage of teachers' situation may have changed a little by then! Well maybe not, but perhaps something to take into account?
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    Oxford expects you to make up Spanish and/or Italian. Cambridge doesn't for any languages.

    To be honest, the main thing about most language degrees is the cultural aspect, not purely learning grammar etc, so it's be to expected that you'll need to know something of the culture. You can do just learning language degrees though, if you like.

    If you're interested in Spain and/or Italy, go for it! Languages aren't exactly popular at the minute, so it's very likely that you'd get onto a course, even if you have never studied another language before – it's hardly your fault if the school doesn't offer it. I'd recommend actually trying out one of the other languages beforehand though, to make sure you actually like it!
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    (Original post by kellywood_5)
    I'm trying to decide whether (next year) to apply for single-honours French or joint-honours French and an another language learnt from scratch. The thing is, it really would be from scratch because my school only offers French, so I have no background in any other language even at GCSE level. I'm afraid it would be too hard to pick up another one as I know from doing French how hard languages can be. I'm also put off by the fact that the top unis expect you to have some prior knowledge of both the language and the country where it's spoken before you start your course, as well as to have visited the country. Oxbridge, for example, expect you to be at A-level standard, which would involve taking a gap year and I don't want to do that. I really don't fancy teaching myself a language to that level! Not that I'd get into Oxbridge anyway, but I'm afraid that wherever I go, I'd be at a disadvantage.

    The good points of picking up another language are that it looks even better to be trilingual than bilingual and it would be easier to get a job. I want to be a teacher and I think most of them have 2 languages, which also means I wouldn't have to do any non-languages subjects at uni. I might find it easier to pick up Spanish or Italian considering they're quite similar to French and spending time in 2 countries during my course would be a fantastic experience.

    The main bad point is that I'd have to spend so much time on the new language that my French would be neglected and I might start getting confused between the two. Also, I wouldn't learn French in as much detail as I would on a single-honours course. I think it should be reasonably easy to get a job as a teacher with only one language considering the severe shortage.

    Obviously I have a year to think about this, so I don't have to decide now and I'll also discuss it with my parents and French teachers, but I just wanted to get some opinions.

    Hiya

    I'm applying for French and Russian, with Russian from ab-initio. I've been in touch with the admissions department at Manchester because I wanted to see if I would be an advantage as I've done a bit of Russian already. The reply was that it wouldn't be considered in the application process as the course was from beginners level and it would be unfair on those without the Russian background. So in other words it won't be a problem that you have no prior knowledge of the language, just express an interest in the language and its country and you should be fine. Also say why you want to learn it.

    Good luck, I hope that was some use x x x x
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    As something you may not have considered before, if you aren't set on learning a particular additional language or a European language you could think about something radically different like an arabic or asian language.

    Obviously I'm a tad biased (see sig ), but I thought I'd mention it as these languages are nearly always taught ab initio and you certainly wouldn't be disadvantaged applying without previous experience--although, as gringalet said, it is advisable to establish whether or not you like the language/culture enough to really want to study it for 4 years! Being so different from European languages, grammatically and otherwise, there's little risk of confusing elements of the languages, and they often offer a pleasant contrast. Cultural contrasts are also apparent, and there is a lot of traditions to learn and issues to explore, particularly from a sociological persepctive. And in terms of employability, arabic and asian languages are highly desirable. Both regions are gaining increasing importance to the west, politically and in terms of business relations, and given that there are relatively few westerners being taught these languages, speakers are in demand.

    On the negative side, however, arabic and asian languages are usually offered at far fewer universities and often have the added challenge of learning a new script. Of course, you may relish said challenge... And bear in mind that a joint-honours degree usually limits the amount of cultural study you can do, instead emphasising language learning--again, this may or may not appeal to you.

    The most important thing is to pick a degree, single- or joint-hounours, that you feel you can happily commit yourself to for four years and that will enable you to explore the topics/areas that interest you! The more passionate you are about whatever you choose, the more you are going to be inclined to apply yourself and the highler the level of language proficiency you will achieve. Good luck!
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    (Original post by kellywood_5)
    I'm also put off by the fact that the top unis expect you to have some prior knowledge of both the language and the country where it's spoken before you start your course, as well as to have visited the country.
    Actually, they don't. If you pick up something like Spanish or Italian, you'll find it's almost exactly the same as French. A lot of language learning is identifying the basic syntax, then vocabulary building. If you can do it one, you can do it in them all.
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    I'd second what RCG has said. I'd love to study Mandarin, but I'm just too obsessed with Germany and Greece at the minute! Arabic and French would be a great combination, of course.
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    I'm glad that there's someone else with a similar dilemma to me.

    Why don't you try for a GCSE in Spanish or Italian to see if you like it? Are there evening classes in your area? I did GCSE Spanish and found it very easy. I haven't taken it for A-Level but my Spanish teacher told me that it wasn't too hard. Its definitely easier than French, anyway.

    Does anyone know what Oxbridge mean by 'A-Level standard'? Do you have to take A-Level exams? If so, what grade do you need? If not, who decides what 'A-Level standard' is?
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    (Original post by smallthoms)
    I'm glad that there's someone else with a similar dilemma to me.

    Why don't you try for a GCSE in Spanish or Italian to see if you like it? Are there evening classes in your area? I did GCSE Spanish and found it very easy. I haven't taken it for A-Level but my Spanish teacher told me that it wasn't too hard. Its definitely easier than French, anyway.

    Does anyone know what Oxbridge mean by 'A-Level standard'? Do you have to take A-Level exams? If so, what grade do you need? If not, who decides what 'A-Level standard' is?
    That's a good question. I don't think you actually need to do an A-level or they'd say so, so it probably means you have to be good enough at the language so that you could get a good grade at A-level if you did take it. I guess there must be a test or something.....maybe it says on their website or you could try emailing the admissions tutor and asking.
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    Oxford and Cambridge don't have exactly the same system for languages.

    For Cambridge, you have to have an A-level in at least one of the languages you want to continue studying. This would be an A grade. If you want to do an ab initio language, you don't need any real prior knowledge, although they would expect you to learn a little before starting. They teach you in all languages, except French, from scratch.

    Oxford expect you to get up to A-level standard in Spanish or Italian (and possibly German, not sure) if you want to do one of these without having done it for A-level, which probably means taking a gap year. Your other language would have to be an A grade at A-level (or similar). Like kellywood_5 said, it just means being able to speak the language at an A grade standard – really good grammar, some idiomatic awareness, good vocabulary, good accent. They probably test you to put you into an appropriate teaching group, or something.

    Take a look on Oxford's MML [ModLangs, I meant to say!] website: http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/
    I think the FAQ has everything you might need on it...although no doubt you've already looked!

    And some propaganda for lovely Cambridge : http://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/
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    (Original post by gringalet)
    Oxford and Cambridge don't have exactly the same system for languages.

    For Cambridge, you have to have an A-level in at least one of the languages you want to continue studying. This would be an A grade. If you want to do an ab initio language, you don't need any real prior knowledge, although they would expect you to learn a little before starting. They teach you in all languages, except French, from scratch.

    Oxford expect you to get up to A-level standard in Spanish or Italian (and possibly German, not sure) if you want to do one of these without having done it for A-level, which probably means taking a gap year. Your other language would have to be an A grade at A-level (or similar). Like kellywood_5 said, it just means being able to speak the language at an A grade standard – really good grammar, some idiomatic awareness, good vocabulary, good accent. They probably test you to put you into an appropriate teaching group, or something.

    Take a look on Oxford's MML website: http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/
    I think the FAQ has everything you might need on it...although no doubt you've already looked!

    And some propaganda for lovely Cambridge : http://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/
    Well, unless I decide to go for the straight French degree, I won't be applying to Oxford then lol. I always thought Cambridge was better anyway...
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    (Original post by kellywood_5)
    Well, unless I decide to go for the straight French degree, I won't be applying to Oxford then lol. I always thought Cambridge was better anyway...
    Go Cambridge, woo!

    I was just looking about the Oxford site, and here's what it says exactly:

    Can I start a language from scratch?


    • Yes. A lot of people who study Czech, Greek, Italian, Polish and Portuguese are admitted as beginners.

    • A Russian for Beginners course is now available (Course B); this course is offered only with another modern language, in which those applying must have A-level or an equivalent standard, and cannot be followed as part of a Joint Degree with English, History, Classics, Philosophy, Linguistics or a Modern Middle Eastern language.

    • In Italian, Russian and Spanish applicants are often admitted who are beginners or who have no knowledge of the language in question at the time of application provided that they are willing to make substantial progress in the language by the time they start their course in Oxford. This normally means reaching A-level standard and may involve applying for deferred entry.

    • In Czech, Greek, Polish and Portuguese there are special classes designed for absolute beginners right from the start of the course.
 
 
 
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