Should Learning Another Language At School Be Compulsory page 3

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It’s always dependent of the region too. In the US it makes a lot of sense to learn Spanish since Mexico is close. In other countries other languages may be more useful.

 
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I really think they should start teaching you a second language from a much younger age. When i was at school half of the year had to take German and half had to take French. I think if it is mandatory to take these subjects they should be taught from an earlier age to give you a base model to work with in secondary school and/or you should be allowed to choose your preferred language to learn. I had to learn German and i wasn’t very good at it. I would very much have liked to learn French as that seemed more relevant to me.

 
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Absolutely,,,
the younger, the better.
Many believe that the “younger mind” is much better equiped to learn diverse, difficult, & new concepts than is the “older mind”.
vika?

 
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It’s actually proven that this is true.
I don’t think it is really known why, though. At least not exactly. A man called Rosenberg (at least I hope that he was it) uses the theory that we basically have all the ‘slots’ needed for using languages (e.g. “subject” and “predicate”) and fill them with what we learn from our native language. Re-defining these slots to include different forms of realisation becomes difficult the more you are used to using one or the ones you are using regularly. I find this explanation pretty useful and it also corresponds with many of the findings on bilingualism.

 
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Originally posted by Pulsaris:

I AM a Chinese, lol. I never struggled in learning the language which the most people speak in.

But Spanish? Arabic has nearly the same number of speakers, and some Arabic countries are definitely more wealthy than those in Latin America. Yes, I don’t really know why people learn Spanish because of “practical reasons”. Maybe they want to join the Drug War, I guess.

Saying that someone wants to learn Spanish for the Drug Wars is like saying that learning Arabic is for the terrorists, besides once Arabia runs out of oil they’re pretty much screwed, even if it is roughly 100 years away.

 
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Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

Many believe that the “younger mind” is much better equiped to learn diverse, difficult, & new concepts than is the “older mind”.
vika?

Sortof. Its not a case of learning new concepts, more about programming in the basecode the brain is going to follow. If you subscribe to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis then the language we think in, affects how we view the world.

If you extend the logical consequences of that into the rest of neuroscience, then the first language(s) we learn, are imprinted most deeply on the brain. They become the programming language we use inside our brains, to logically link subjects together, and process them – following the same basic rules as the language we learn.

So everything the brain then stores as it matures – thoughts, ideas, memories, skills, associations – is stored in that same internal logic as their native language uses. That’s what EPR’s basically referring to, although I am unfamiliar with the work of that particular individual. Bilinguals, learnt both languages early enough that their internal logic could make use of the constructs from both languages as they internalised concepts, resulting in a more flexible, more potent internal logic. They see things differently because their brain’s internal logic has built up in a different way to a person with a single native language.

By the time we come to teach a second language in school, this basic developmental phase is long over. So the new language cannot be used as a basis for cognition. Instead, everything in the new language must be translated using the logical constructs bourne out of a brain using the structure of its native language. Everything must be translated, turned around and twisted into a form its internal logic can handle.

That’s why those who learnt a second language later in life, struggle with it, if its form is too different from their own. They have to translate the concepts back and forth in their head, from their own way of understanding them, to the new language and back again. The brain is plastic, and will eventually adapt, but it has a great deal of backlog to work through to do so.

 
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i think only for other common languages that are spoken.

 
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From personal experience I can confirm that the language you are thinking in effects the way you act. Typically when I’m thinking in English I tend to be more on the safe side whereas when I’m speaking/thinking in Dutch I tend to be a bit more spontaneous.

 
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Of course it should be. As a native trilingual, the advantages of knowing multiple languages are extensive. Furthermore, in countries such as the Nordic countries, their teaching of English is of high quality and allows their citizens to more easily communicate with the English-speaking world, ultimately bringing more tourism and business into their region.

 
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I’m not sure if this is applicable in EVERY Australian state. But when I went to school, the WHOLE way through I was learning a laanguage. It was, and to this day (In this state) is compulsory I believe. Going back to the late 80’s and early 90’s, I did Indonesian and German.

 
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Learning a second language should be mandatory. What language you learn should be a choice. We have the technology to make this possible.

 
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i like how a lot of you are saying “Mandarin” is going to be the language of the future…when you can’t even fit Mandarin on a keyboard…

 
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Originally posted by scoopolard:

i like how a lot of you are saying “Mandarin” is going to be the language of the future…when you can’t even fit Mandarin on a keyboard…

Is this a joke, or are you actually serious?
 
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I started learning Spanish at around 10 years old and have been learning it for a few years now.
It’s an immensely practical skill, though your mileage may vary, depending on the language. It’s also improved my English – I am now more effective at spotting things such as root words and what words mean. I don’t think it should be compulsory all through school, though – Perhaps up to about 14/15?

 
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From personal experience:

Well, my school years were spent in the Soviet era. Having one foreign language at school was a common practice. Usually language study began in 4th grade (age 10-11), in specialized language schools in 2nd grade (age 7-8). There also could be another foreign language taught in latter ones. Most common language was English, then German or French and Spanish as least common.

My first schools was a prestigious one. Some of country famous actors, writers, musicians, etc graduated there. (Doubt that names gonna ring a bell, soviet/russian culture is a phenomenon mainly for internal use). So one could expect high level of language study, eh? WRONG :D

The program was very formal, based on “simplified proper UK english” as I’d name it with heavy emphasis on theory. Memorization of pronunciation (taught by teachers who 99.9% NEVER had real-life communication experience with native speakers lol), grammar rules, exceptions, irregular verbs, etc. included. Second thing is that learning basically was a sort of thing in itself cause out of the class a kid had nearly ZERO opportunity to practice language as a part of common everyday routine.

You can imagine that in not-that-prestigious schools the approach was even more formal and simplified with even less interest from teachers and kids alike.

That’s how one shouldn’t teach foreign language at school. For me all I got was a semi-automatic skill of manipulating foreign words under memorized rules in my mind and then making appropriate sounds with my mouth. :D No living experience, no understanding cultural context. No true self-motivation.

Eventually my relationship with english changed, but that’s a different story with no school educational system playing any role in it. Except for maybe some basic memory that “yeah, such a thing as english exists. And yeah I kinda remember that some words mean this or this” so I wasn’t startled when faced the real live language. :D On the other hand, maybe I could handle self-learning without that basis at all (or could perform better).