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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:34 am 
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I've just had a letter from ds's new school (which he is going to in September) asking us to express a preference re languages.

He will have to do 2 languages (plus Latin) and the choices are: French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. He will only be guaranteed his first choice - the second one is randomly allocated. He will have to do all the languages until the end of Year 9.

He has studied French and Latin so far and hates them both. :) He has also done a tiny bit of Mandarin which he enjoyed.

He seems quite keen on picking Mandarin but I am worried that it will be too difficult for him and it's really for the high flyers. As he hates Latin I'm concerned that he will hate German too (he can't bear all that nominative, accusative stuff).

I would prefer him to pick Spanish but my husband wants him to have a free choice. But he can't change his mind if he mucks it up!! :?

Arghhh - I didn't expect to have to be choosing stuff so early on. What to do? :shock: :shock:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:43 am 
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Agreed tricky to chose so early - would be fairer if they were able to have a few "taster" lessons first.

I can sympathise - I hated french and latin so as so dire I wasn't given the choice to do german.

spanish and mandarin had not been heard of then.

I think spanish is supposed to be easier :oops: but not sure - mandarin sounds v dificult. My kids love german but only cos they create great long words.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:45 am 
I would let him choose Mandarin. If he's anything like my son he will do well in it if he chose it. I also think Spanish is a good choice as geographically it is the secone largest language. I would give DS the choice though.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:57 am 
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Thanks folks.

I did French and German at school and I loved making long words in German too!! :D

Maybe I should let him choose Mandarin if he really wants to do it (and then put Spanish down as a second choice and hope that he gets it!!! :D ) Poor thing could end up having to do French or German anyway! :?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:03 am 
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Hi LaisyDaisy,

We got the same letter. My DS is very keen to do Mandarin so we're going to go for that. I'm hoping it's not just the novelty value that is making him want to do it but we've decided to allow him his choice. At least then I have a stick to beat him with if the novelty wears off and he starts complaining that it's too difficult!!! :)

I was hoping he would be able to do Chinese and Spanish, instead of French or German. He's done some French and wasn't thrilled by it and (no offence to anyone) German seems like the least useful language of the four to learn. So it's a pity we don't get to choose both, although they do let you state a preference for the second language.

It seems quite a serious step up for the little lads, to suddenly start learning 3 new languages. N'est-ce pas?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:15 am 
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Location: S East
Mandarin may be very fashionable, (my DSs had a little taster and also found it fun) but it is very difficult,and so only choose it if:
(a) you are certain he will have a good teacher (and good luck to you trying to establish that)
(b) he can drop it before GCSE, or you don't mind a lower grade because it probably will be, because it is very difficult, which is why few westerners speak it.
Look at prior year results on the school's website, and subtract any native speakers to get a fair picture. If he can drop it later , put it as second choice.

Spanish has now overtaken German as the 2nd language after French at schools. It is easier than German (I have studied both) and as TIPSY points out it is widely spoken, for example it is now the number 2 language in the USA, appearing in Ads , official documents etc.
I would say Spanish first, Mandarin second, unless he can't drop it, otherwise French because he already has some, and he won't like German any better.
Nothing like conflicting evidence is there 8) . Full disclosure of bias: I speak French and some Spanish.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:16 am 
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It does seem a lot - skipton girls is starting doing 3 in year 7 now - I would never be able to get my head round it!

They seem to cope though - DS used to have French German Latin and English in one afternoon. At least the english was last so I could understand him when he got home.

I have to disagree - I think german would be far more useful than the others (bar french :wink: ) But then it depends what you want to do - Much scientific stuff is in german -
I have totally avoided ever having to know a word of spanish! and can't see me travelling to China - however it could be said that there are a lot of chinese in the world!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:17 am 
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Hi MCL,
I was hoping you or TTR would come along!!

It is quite scary to think of them doing three languages. Ds does two at the moment (Mandarin is an after school thing so just for fun, really :) ) and he finds that hard enough. :?

If we choose Mandarin too then your ds and mine might be in the same class! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:18 am 
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Sorry LazyDaisy, for getting your name wrong. I hate it when people do that, especially me. :oops: :oops:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:22 am 
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hermanmunster wrote:


- Much scientific stuff is in german -



That's interesting Herman, DD has to choose 2nd language next year and the choice is German or Spanish. We were discussing the merits and were veering towards Spanish but your comments are making me think again. If DD wants to go down this route, and it seems likely, then she would perhaps be better off learning German instead (don't think there's a third option yet at RGS :shock: - but she can do Astronomy instead :D :D )

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