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 Post subject: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:20 pm
Posts: 1706
Location: Warwickshire
If you have a choice - French or German? ds has done some French and Spanish at primary - although not really enough for it to influence the decision. He will actually be spending some time in a German speaking region every year, so I'm inclined to nudge him in that direction as he'll get more chance to actually be immersed in it. He's also quite scientifically minded and I'd not be surprised if he ends up doing something in the science/engineering line - which I'm feeling German might actually be more useful for. Any other pros or cons to influence the choice?


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
Think there is "rarity value" to consider in german these days too!


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 364
Hi Okanagan! Great question and one we ponder, with our child now in Year 9. (So far, French, Spanish and German have all been compulsory.)

For me, between French and German it depends on whether we want practical advantage in the real world (French or Spanish) or whether we say 'do what you enjoy!' (any language). ... For you, the personal connection with German is great! Perhaps, it's also a good reason to do Spanish, with German then practised on the side and on visits to that German-speaking region.

My own upbringing was in two very different countries on two continents with many, many languages in the community and in my schools. To this day I love different languages and different cultures and I know I'm very lucky to still have a 'feel' for several languages. I reckon you can't know too many languages in this world, even if you know several just a little bit and enjoy bits of conversation and your favourite songs.


Last edited by Jean.Brodie on Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 4024
Location: Reading
As an engineer, I have never needed German. I've heard the myth but its not really true. (Something about research papers being in German, I have never come across anything in German that I needed that wasn't in English too)

Saying that, I think German suits a more logical brain (but that's just my opinion) so a child that was more science minded may prefer it. My DH definitely got on with German much better than he ever did with French.

My own DD wants to learn German as she has German relatives. We dismissed one school solely on the basis that it didn't do German for that reason. She has already learnt a little and it sticks more than French, but I suspect that's down to motivation.


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Warwickshire
I am surprised that at the gs my dd2 will go to, she will only do French, Spanish and Latin.

She has picked up a little French since they've had a new teacher at junior school. To my surprise - she can speak some French!

I would like her to do German as well, but she can only do that at her alternative school, the selective comprehensive - the grammar stream does French and German; the non selective stream does one or the other. My ds 1and dd1 both went into the non-selective stream; my ds1 does French. I can help him with that as I did a year's French A level. My dd1 is learning German (what a waste of time learning French was at junior school!) and it does seem more logical. And I'm not a logical person!

I think the more languages a dc learns the better ... I would choose German and Spanish over French - so I am surprised the gs doesn't do German. But I'm not so bothered that I'm changing the choice of school ... but I agree with Jean.Brodie - Spanish is the most useful; secondly, choose a language you enjoy.

My dd did the Language Aptitude Test and scored highly - four points off a pass - I have no idea how. I don't know what she had to do. Maybe she has an aptitude for languages! We'll find out next year ...

Meanwhile, my ds1 loathes French but actually does quite well in it; he has a good short term memory so can cruise tests. Although of course he hasn't done GCSE yet. I'm an invigilator and really don't think the language exams look terribly difficult. More multiple choice! But that will presumably have changed by the time my dd2 does GCSE's.


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5922
This has been aired on here lots of times - try the search button in the user control panel. As someone whose first degree was in German I am hopelessly biased; it led me into the Scandinavian languages and a second degree in Russian, none of which I would have mastered if it weren't for German (who cares? I hear you say). I have since learned both French and Spanish, and neither of them has excited me in the same way...but it is all so personal and for many it is just a way of ticking a box which universities seem increasingly interested on seeing ticked.

I think it is pretty nonsensical to think in terms of 'usefulness' in a real world context at GCSE. Languages don't really become 'useful' until post GCSE and I do think that some syllabuses and exam boards have almost made a mockery out of languages at GCSE - there was a bit of a horror moment in Government after languages were downgraded from being compulsory under Friend Balls- no one was choosing them and I am afraid I think some boards did try to appeal to the market a little with qualifications which really won't have much currency on the foreign exchange front. In other words, a DC won't get very far abroad with them.

As followers of the forum will know, DD did Mandarin, as well as Latin and Greek, and loved it. If you have a relatively able linguist for offspring, I would urge them to look outside the box, which means avoiding Spanish if that excludes German, Mandarin or Latin, IMHO. If your child is less linguistically inclined, go for Spanish as it is thought to be easier to master. Though have to say I didn't particularly find it so. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Warwickshire
Amber,

Wonder why my dd's gs offers French, Spanish and Latin - no mention of German.

I don't think there's anything I can do - just dug out the prospectus and German can be studied in year 10. Out of a whole list of options. I am surprised.

Do schools consider German to be less useful? Oh well - I can't do anything about it. If my dd shows a particular aptitude for languages, she can start German in year 10 but my guess is that by then, she will know which subjects she wants to do - and she won't want to start German from scratch. I could be wrong.

You are obviously very good at languages - I'm not - did you just learn the vocab and pronunciation easily?


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5922
Ginx, a school will choose which languages to offer based usually on the preferences of the Head of Department. I taught in a school with a language speciality and it only offered French and Spanish to the majority of students. German has gone out of fashion and Spanish has gained in popularity. I have my own private views as to why this has happened which I know better than to air on here. :wink: Bottom line - If the school doesn't offer it it isn't worth worrying about. While I love German, I can't make a case for it being included on the curriculum of every school in the land.

Wrt myself - yes, I was always fascinated by language even as a child. And yes, I have found languages easy to learn and retain. It's my thing, just as some people are artistic or musical or a whizz at Maths. It led me into some interesting places in my younger days, and I do enjoy talking to my foreign friends in their languages rather than always mine, reading literature in the original, that kind of thing. But I can't argue for it being the most useful skill in the global village we have today.


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6966
Location: East Kent
I'd go for German,mainly because I love the country, the culture and the language


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 Post subject: Re: Languages
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:41 am
Posts: 73
I would say pick the language they want to learn. German IMO has more rules so would suit a more logical mind. But it's horses for courses really.


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