kannmnn
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I’m considering a degree in history, and possibly with a foreign language. I really enjoyed german at gcse and got an 8, although my sixth form weren’t able to offer it for a level due to a lack of numbers. There are a few degrees like ‘history and German’, where german alevel isn’t required and you can learn it from scratch. How difficult is this? Do they start with completely beginner level german, or are the basics very quickly explained and you’re then expected to move on?
Also, with other languages I’ve seen offered ‘ab initio’, how difficult would they be with absolutely no prior knowledge. I’ve seen courses for Italian, Czech, Japanese etc. Obviously Japanese would be more difficult anyway but how hard is learning a new language from scratch in general? Are you expected to learn the basics before you start the course? Thanks for any help
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Emily_B
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(Original post by kannmnn)
I’m considering a degree in history, and possibly with a foreign language. I really enjoyed german at gcse and got an 8, although my sixth form weren’t able to offer it for a level due to a lack of numbers. There are a few degrees like ‘history and German’, where german alevel isn’t required and you can learn it from scratch. How difficult is this? Do they start with completely beginner level german, or are the basics very quickly explained and you’re then expected to move on?
Also, with other languages I’ve seen offered ‘ab initio’, how difficult would they be with absolutely no prior knowledge. I’ve seen courses for Italian, Czech, Japanese etc. Obviously Japanese would be more difficult anyway but how hard is learning a new language from scratch in general? Are you expected to learn the basics before you start the course? Thanks for any help
You do start the language from absolute beginner level, it's expected that you will have no prior knowledge of the language. Yes it is difficult (you have to go from no knowledge to level 5 (2nd year degree) in 2 years rather than going from level 3/A level standard to level 5), but having done GCSE German, you won't find it quite as bad.
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umbrellala
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(Original post by kannmnn)
I’m considering a degree in history, and possibly with a foreign language. I really enjoyed german at gcse and got an 8, although my sixth form weren’t able to offer it for a level due to a lack of numbers. There are a few degrees like ‘history and German’, where german alevel isn’t required and you can learn it from scratch. How difficult is this? Do they start with completely beginner level german, or are the basics very quickly explained and you’re then expected to move on?
Also, with other languages I’ve seen offered ‘ab initio’, how difficult would they be with absolutely no prior knowledge. I’ve seen courses for Italian, Czech, Japanese etc. Obviously Japanese would be more difficult anyway but how hard is learning a new language from scratch in general? Are you expected to learn the basics before you start the course? Thanks for any help
If it says no previous knowledge is required then you'll go totally from scratch. I know a lot of unis ask for you to already know hiragana if you're doing Japanese but if they expect anything from you then they'll tell you from the get-go. It is difficult to do a language from scratch and it takes a lot of time and dedication but it's definitely rewarding!
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University of Bath
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(Original post by kannmnn)
I’m considering a degree in history, and possibly with a foreign language. I really enjoyed german at gcse and got an 8, although my sixth form weren’t able to offer it for a level due to a lack of numbers. There are a few degrees like ‘history and German’, where german alevel isn’t required and you can learn it from scratch. How difficult is this? Do they start with completely beginner level german, or are the basics very quickly explained and you’re then expected to move on?
Also, with other languages I’ve seen offered ‘ab initio’, how difficult would they be with absolutely no prior knowledge. I’ve seen courses for Italian, Czech, Japanese etc. Obviously Japanese would be more difficult anyway but how hard is learning a new language from scratch in general? Are you expected to learn the basics before you start the course? Thanks for any help
Hi!

I study ab initio Italian at the University of Bath.

In my experience, we started from the very beginning. The first two years were comparable to GCSE/early A-level. People in my class were various levels though, some (like me) had never done any Italian before, others took GCSE and a couple A-Level. I didn't at any point feel like they were rushing things. What was different from school was that we jumped into the grammar straight away, and the basic vocab we were expected to pick up quickly as we're meant to leave uni with our Italian as good as the other language we've taken from A-Level.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!
Katie, 3rd year Modern Languages Student
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Reality Check
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(Original post by kannmnn)
I’m considering a degree in history, and possibly with a foreign language. I really enjoyed german at gcse and got an 8, although my sixth form weren’t able to offer it for a level due to a lack of numbers. There are a few degrees like ‘history and German’, where german alevel isn’t required and you can learn it from scratch. How difficult is this? Do they start with completely beginner level german, or are the basics very quickly explained and you’re then expected to move on?
Also, with other languages I’ve seen offered ‘ab initio’, how difficult would they be with absolutely no prior knowledge. I’ve seen courses for Italian, Czech, Japanese etc. Obviously Japanese would be more difficult anyway but how hard is learning a new language from scratch in general? Are you expected to learn the basics before you start the course? Thanks for any help
Any ab initio language is hard, but some are harder than others. German is not the easiest language to learn (compared to, say, Spanish or French), but a good GCSE grade will be an enormous help. To make your life easier, I"d definitely do a language that I'd got at least a grounding in. Czech would be like Hungarian - bloody difficult and not really much 'use', if you know what I mean. Personally, I'd want to focus on the most widely spoken languages rather than 'niche' ones such as Czech.
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CiaraLouise
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t

(Original post by kannmnn)
I’m considering a degree in history, and possibly with a foreign language. I really enjoyed german at gcse and got an 8, although my sixth form weren’t able to offer it for a level due to a lack of numbers. There are a few degrees like ‘history and German’, where german alevel isn’t required and you can learn it from scratch. How difficult is this? Do they start with completely beginner level german, or are the basics very quickly explained and you’re then expected to move on?
Also, with other languages I’ve seen offered ‘ab initio’, how difficult would they be with absolutely no prior knowledge. I’ve seen courses for Italian, Czech, Japanese etc. Obviously Japanese would be more difficult anyway but how hard is learning a new language from scratch in general? Are you expected to learn the basics before you start the course? Thanks for any help
Some unis offer post GCSE level courses but only in select languages. For example Warwick uni send a form once you apply asking about any prior learning. You may just have to check with the languages departments.
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CiaraLouise
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Where are you applying to?
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