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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 3 

Language studying by elina on 15 March 2008 8:39am
In another thread Rox said that they learn in high school (?) Indonesian or Japanese as another language. How fascinating! I have to ask: is Indonesian difficult language? I know Japanese isn't that difficult (there are some similarities with Finnish).

Is there compulsory languages in schools around the world? Here the compulsory languages are English and Swedish (although there is a huge outcry that compulsory Swedish should be abolished from schools, which they can't really do because it's the other official language in Finland.)
Re: Language studying by Spursfan on 15 March 2008 10:39am
I am not sure if they are compulsory any more, Elina, in the UK. What I mean is, when you choose your options (which subjects you will study for the national exams at age 16) at 13 or so, you can opt not to take ANY now I think.

When I was at school (and no, Johnny-the-monkey if you are reading this I did NOT have to write on slates!!!) you took French, and you could choose to do German and/or Spanish (I took Spanish but only in the 6th form as that was the first year the school taught it).

We were also able to take Latin (which I did) and (ancient) Greek but you had to do well in French to do either of these.

Nowadays you usually start at age 11 with French or German, going by what my grandkids did, but they both opted out I think when it came to choices.

I should imagine that any language is available to learn at school, provided the facilities are there.
Re: Language studying by mrsthing on 15 March 2008 4:34pm
America is just getting around to a compulsory "world languages" curriculum. It's being phased into the schools in my town. Within the next 5 years, every grade from kindergarten to high school senior will have compulsory language classes. My daughter had half a year of French and is now taking half a year of Spanish. I don't think she's learning too much, but at least she's getting the sounds in her ears and knows a few words. She's a bit shy, so she refuses to speak the languages with us (I understand quite a bit of French and Spanish, but only speak a smattering; my husband is very good with German, and has about as much French as I do).
Re: Language studying by geordiegirl on 16 March 2008 12:10pm
Elina, when I was very young (1000s of years ago) we had a neighbour who was born in Helsinki, married to a UK sailor. She insisted she only ever spoke Swedish & referred to her city always as 'Helsingfors'. She was an unbelievably snobbish woman.

I wish, now, I had a smattering of other than a very few European languages (of course, I don't travel far away but I do meet people from the faraway)For children whose parents/grandparents are from Greece or Cyprus (we have huge numbers of them in this part of London) they have to learn their Greek as a second language, at weekends. I think that's a shame.
Re: Language studying by Ellerd on 16 March 2008 1:00pm
I took Japanese in high school. I can't remember if it was compulsory - it may have been in Years 8-10. One of my classmates in high school took Indonesian in her free study period. In my last year of primary school, Japanese was offered as an optional class. French was compulsory in Years 6 & 7, though I doubt it would be now.
Re: Language studying by tucsonmike on 16 March 2008 3:46pm
Elina, in the United States, it varies from school district to school district. There are 15,000 individual school districts. In many of them, you can easily graduate and never learn a foreign language.

I wanted to take Spanish in high school. My father ordered me to take French.
Re: Language studying by elina on 16 March 2008 4:17pm
Fascinating. Mike, may I ask why French?

Linda, I am not surprised if she was snobbish. Swedish used to be the language of upper class in Finland, and I think that some of the wealthiest people (or at least those who live in wealthy areas) in Finland speak Swedish as their first language (as matter of fact, I live at the moment in Finland's richest county and I think 50 % here has Swedish as first language. This is a city very near Helsinki).

I think that it's great that children are allowed to choose the language they study. We have to take Swedish and English (I don't mind, I've never had difficulties to learn different languages) but as I said, many people here feel that Swedish should be abolished. It has already been reduced in high schools, e.g. you only read the compulsory courses (about five) and you don't have to take Swedish exam in matriculation exams.
Re: Language studying by peripatetically on 16 March 2008 7:17pm
I wanted to conitnue with my Latin, but I had to take French. YUK. Four years too many... HAHAHAHAA
Re: Language studying by tucsonmike on 16 March 2008 10:05pm
Elina, my father is a chemist and saw French as a more important language for study. This turned to horror, as the people I practiced with were Haitians.
So I speak Brooklyn/Haitian inflected French.
Re: Language studying by mrsthing on 17 March 2008 2:22am
I took four years of French, but I still can't speak it. Spanish was way easier, but I haven't had to use it in so long I've forgotten most of it. I've been thinking of renting tapes from the library, but all they have are cassette tapes and VHS, and all I have are CD and DVD players. Sigh. In my schooling, I took French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and German, mostly for use in singing opera and art songs. I used to boast that I could ask "Where is the bathroom" in 6 different languages. Trouble is, college was 27 years ago, and I've forgotten most of what I learned.
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