Ask a uni student 2.0 - modern foreign languages

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Espançais
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#1
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#1
Hi,
I'm a current student of French and Spanish, AMA 🙂
This AMA uses a tag system! You can either ask a general question or tag in one of our fantastic volunteers (listed below) if you are looking for something more specific.
Espançais- 1st year,French and Spanish, Oxford
umbrellala - Current student, Korean, SOAS
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This AMA is part of the 'Ask a University Student 2.0' initiative. If you want to find out more about other courses or universities, please check out the main list of threads:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6431108
Last edited by barror1; 2 years ago
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Espançais
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#2
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#2
barror1
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username3724506
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#3
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#3
How well can you speak these languages?
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1st superstar
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#4
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#4
what's the course like? what were the entry requirements needed? is there a lot of essay writing involved?
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aconstanthamlet
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#5
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#5
Have you completed your year abroad yet? If not, then what are you planning to do during your year abroad?
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Espançais
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#6
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#6
(Original post by emegan02)
How well can you speak these languages?
To a reasonable standard that I would think I'd be comfortable going to stay/ live in a francophone or hispanic country. Difficult to quantify exactly, but I took both languages post-A level and I hope I've improved since then! I'm probably more confident IN French as I know more colloquial language.
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Espançais
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#7
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#7
(Original post by 1st superstar)
what's the course like? what were the entry requirements needed? is there a lot of essay writing involved?
On the course I have a combination of lectures, seminars of 6-8 people, tutorials of 2 or 3 people, and conversation classes of 4 - 6 people. I'm at Oxford, so I had to do a grammar based entrance test (the MLAT), submit written work in both languages and English, and do an interview, then I had to get 3 As at A level. I usually have to write an essay of around 1500-2000 words each week, alongside translation, grammar and vocab work.
However, this will vary massively between universities, and at most unis there's less essays to write and you might be studying film or visual arts or general culture and history, whereas for me everything is through a literary lense.
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Espançais
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#8
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#8
(Original post by aconstanthamlet)
Have you completed your year abroad yet? If not, then what are you planning to do during your year abroad?
I haven't done the year abroad yet, or planned it in detail as I'm only in first year. However, I would like to split my time between studying and working/ interning at a translation company.
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1st superstar
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Espançais)
On the course I have a combination of lectures, seminars of 6-8 people, tutorials of 2 or 3 people, and conversation classes of 4 - 6 people. I'm at Oxford, so I had to do a grammar based entrance test (the MLAT), submit written work in both languages and English, and do an interview, then I had to get 3 As at A level. I usually have to write an essay of around 1500-2000 words each week, alongside translation, grammar and vocab work.
However, this will vary massively between universities, and at most unis there's less essays to write and you might be studying film or visual arts or general culture and history, whereas for me everything is through a literary lense.
uhhh want to do a language degree but I HATE writing essays...
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Espançais
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#10
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#10
(Original post by 1st superstar)
uhhh want to do a language degree but I HATE writing essays...
Hmm that might be a problem - but most degree courses except STEM will involve some sort of essay writing. However if you choose your course carefully you can find one with a lot less essay writing than the Oxford degree. What year are you in atm? I hated essays when I started doing them for gcses but they grew on me
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girl105
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#11
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#11
Hey, how much vocab work is there every week? Also, do you know how people who start a language at uni find it? e.g. spanish and beginners something
Also, what are you hoping to do after uni?
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Espançais
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#12
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(Original post by girl105)
Hey, how much vocab work is there every week? Also, do you know how people who start a language at uni find it? e.g. spanish and beginners something
Also, what are you hoping to do after uni?
For Spanish, I usually have somewhere between 20 and 60 words each week for language class, and 150-200 each fortnight for literature (I might get to about 70 % "mastered" on quizlet, and she usually does a spot check of about 20). My French tutors don't usually set any vocab, so it's up to me how much I learn. I take words I don't know from translation exercises and literature work and learn those, and I also have books of vocab that I try to select lists from. Very dependent on uni and tutors - some will set loads, some will leave you to it. Nobody in my college in my year does beginners' languages, so I don't know a lot, but the received wisdom is that it is quite intense because you're expected to work with everyone else by second year.
After uni, I'd like to work in translation or editing, and I also enjoy working with children so I'll probably keep doing some tutoring on the side.
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girl105
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Espançais)
For Spanish, I usually have somewhere between 20 and 60 words each week for language class, and 150-200 each fortnight for literature (I might get to about 70 % "mastered" on quizlet, and she usually does a spot check of about 20). My French tutors don't usually set any vocab, so it's up to me how much I learn. I take words I don't know from translation exercises and literature work and learn those, and I also have books of vocab that I try to select lists from. Very dependent on uni and tutors - some will set loads, some will leave you to it. Nobody in my college in my year does beginners' languages, so I don't know a lot, but the received wisdom is that it is quite intense because you're expected to work with everyone else by second year.
After uni, I'd like to work in translation or editing, and I also enjoy working with children so I'll probably keep doing some tutoring on the side.
This was really helpful, thank you.
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umbrellala
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#14
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#14
Thank you for the tag Espançais! For some context I'm at the end of my second year which is my year abroad. Korean is taught from scratch (ab-initio) and so the way we learn and the focus of our learning is a little different to other language students. Japanese degrees usually follow the same structure as Korean degrees so if there's anyone curious about Japanese I'm happy to answer questions about that too
Last edited by umbrellala; 2 years ago
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umbrellala
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#15
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#15
(Original post by girl105)
Hey, how much vocab work is there every week? Also, do you know how people who start a language at uni find it? e.g. spanish and beginners something
Also, what are you hoping to do after uni?
I started Korean from scratch at uni and whilst it's very intense it's been great! At our open days they tell you that you're usually expected to reach the equivalent of A-level standard by the end of first semester so it's very fast paced but really rewarding
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girl105
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#16
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#16
(Original post by umbrellala)
I started Korean from scratch at uni and whilst it's very intense it's been great! At our open days they tell you that you're usually expected to reach the equivalent of A-level standard by the end of first semester so it's very fast paced but really rewarding
woah and two years of A levels is already difficult wow
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ia22
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#17
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#17
I am planning on doing a French and Spanish degree at Bristol next year. Do you have any book recommendations that will prepare me for my degree? I don't know which grammar books or dictionaries to get or if there are any recommended literary texts. Thank you!!
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Espançais
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#18
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#18
(Original post by ia22)
I am planning on doing a French and Spanish degree at Bristol next year. Do you have any book recommendations that will prepare me for my degree? I don't know which grammar books or dictionaries to get or if there are any recommended literary texts. Thank you!!
The literature depends on the course, I'm sure your tutors/ lecturers will let you know what they want you to prepare in good time. A good bilingual dictionary for each language is always useful, Collins or Oxford usually. The grammar books again depend on the uni bc some tutors will work from particular ones. It's also worth checking if your uni offers book grants to get reimbursed on books you have to buy for your course. If you're bored though, I'd highly recommend Project Gutenberg for some reading of older texts, and some articles on JSTOR are open access (ie you don't need an account) and might give you an idea of the sort of thing you'll be reading for secondary sources if you look up a particular topic you're interested in
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ia22
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Espançais)
The literature depends on the course, I'm sure your tutors/ lecturers will let you know what they want you to prepare in good time. A good bilingual dictionary for each language is always useful, Collins or Oxford usually. The grammar books again depend on the uni bc some tutors will work from particular ones. It's also worth checking if your uni offers book grants to get reimbursed on books you have to buy for your course. If you're bored though, I'd highly recommend Project Gutenberg for some reading of older texts, and some articles on JSTOR are open access (ie you don't need an account) and might give you an idea of the sort of thing you'll be reading for secondary sources if you look up a particular topic you're interested in
thanks for the suggestions!! i will definitely check out project gutenberg and jstor
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Espançais
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Howloverfrench)
Is the work for languages less stressful than what it was for A level?
I mean, it depends how stressful you found A level! And what uni you go to, what course etc. Overall I've found uni more stressful week to week than A level, but not to a level where it's affected me greatly (but then I don't have first year exams anymore due to coronavirus - and I do remember being stressed out about A level exams). This is just because the workload is higher, for me anyway, so there's a lot more to fit in. Again, it depends which particular aspects of the subjects you found stressful at A level
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