Should schools teach foreign language as a requirement?

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
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It seems as though most European and Asian countries teach their children multiple languages in school right from the get-go, so they're fluent in a number of languages from around the world by the time they even get to high school. I'm not sure why we don't do this here in the U.S. Foreign language isn't even offered until high school (I had to take a special outside-of-school course to take Spanish I in 8th grade) when it's obviously a lot harder to learn. Languages are much easier learned by small children.

I'm not fluent in any language besides English, I took a few years of Spanish, but y'know, that only does so much. I really would like to be, but it seems the only way for older folks to do it is to literally be immersed in it for awhile (that's what my sister did, worked perfectly) and I can't really afford to do that. :)

Anyway, just random thoughts. I think we should be teaching multiple languages from grade 1, but that's just my opinion.
 

her209

No Lifer
Oct 11, 2000
56,352
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Originally posted by: johnjohn320
It seems as though most European and Asian countries teach their children multiple languages in school right from the get-go, so they're fluent in a number of languages from around the world by the time they even get to high school. I'm not sure why we don't do this here in the U.S. Foreign language isn't even offered until high school (I had to take a special outside-of-school course to take Spanish I in 8th grade) when it's obviously a lot harder to learn. Languages are much easier learned by small children.

I'm not fluent in any language besides English, I took a few years of Spanish, but y'know, that only does so much. I really would like to be, but it seems the only way for older folks to do it is to literally be immersed in it for awhile (that's what my sister did, worked perfectly) and I can't really afford to do that. :)

Anyway, just random thoughts. I think we should be teaching multiple languages from grade 1, but that's just my opinion.
Because English is hard enough as it is.

 

Orsorum

Lifer
Dec 26, 2001
27,626
3
81
Yes, I think they should. English should be a priority, then... either spanish or Mandarin.
 

BigJ

Lifer
Nov 18, 2001
21,335
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in my school its pretty much mandatory for All students, unless with a learning disability, to take a language for 2 years in Middle School, 2 years in HS, and pass the NYS Regents exam.
 

eakers

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
12,169
2
0
yes.

i think knowing other languages is important in being cultured and well rounded. i am sad i don't know more than my little bits of french and minimal spanish.
 

FoBoT

No Lifer
Apr 30, 2001
63,089
12
76
fobot.com
i think its a good idea, one thing about language is that you have to use it or you lose it
so i think a difference between us and european's is that after they learn english, they keep using it at least for stuff like movies and TV shows and perhaps the internet, that is they have a way to keep using it

in the US it wouldn't be too hard to use spanish in some places, but how many times would you get the chance to keep using german or french ?

if it was going to be required, i agree that it would be better to put it into the elementary/middle schools first, my 9 year old took spanish lessons last summer from a friend and really picked up a lot , i was surprised
 

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
7,572
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Originally posted by: her209
Originally posted by: johnjohn320
It seems as though most European and Asian countries teach their children multiple languages in school right from the get-go, so they're fluent in a number of languages from around the world by the time they even get to high school. I'm not sure why we don't do this here in the U.S. Foreign language isn't even offered until high school (I had to take a special outside-of-school course to take Spanish I in 8th grade) when it's obviously a lot harder to learn. Languages are much easier learned by small children.

I'm not fluent in any language besides English, I took a few years of Spanish, but y'know, that only does so much. I really would like to be, but it seems the only way for older folks to do it is to literally be immersed in it for awhile (that's what my sister did, worked perfectly) and I can't really afford to do that. :)

Anyway, just random thoughts. I think we should be teaching multiple languages from grade 1, but that's just my opinion.
Because English is hard enough as it is.
All the little European and Asian kids seem to have no problem with it. :)
 

LiekOMG

Golden Member
Jul 5, 2000
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Hmm, when i was in 1st grade i had a spanish class. It was my only foreign language class until i started JHS where I took 2 years of spanish, and then spanish all throughout HS. And I still don't know how to speak spanish!
 

NTB

Diamond Member
Mar 26, 2001
5,179
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Deffinately - I spent four years in my district's spanish program, and I had a lot of fun. It's been a few years though; I wish I could remember some of it :eek: . Being the anime fan that I am now, I think it'd be fun to learn Japanese, too. I have a couple of friend - foriegn students - from Japan as well, but I don't think it'd really help there. They can speak English better than some people I know who have - supposedly - been speaking it their entire lives.:p

Nate
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
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www.ShawCAD.com
How about we get English taught first;) seems to me like our school systems are failing at that:|

Maybe once our literacy rate starts to not suck then maybe we could consider it but until then - lets make sure our kids know 1 language first ;)

Just my $.02 :D

CkG
 

BDawg

Lifer
Oct 31, 2000
11,631
2
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Originally posted by: Zakath15
Yes, I think they should. English should be a priority, then... either spanish or Mandarin.
Why not French (besides it's what they speak in France)? It's the second of the official international languages.

Right now, anyone who knows Arabic is popular with intelligence recruiters. :D
 

HappyPuppy

Lifer
Apr 5, 2001
16,997
2
71
Why spend several years in K-12 studying a foreign language that most Americans are never going to use? I have no problem with requiring a couple of years of foreign language in HS, but even that is a waste of time that could be put to better use.

How many American businessmen or scientists do you know who converse with their foreign colleagues in their native language? Damn few if any. Either the foreign person speaks English, or they use a trained and certified translator.
 

Orsorum

Lifer
Dec 26, 2001
27,626
3
81
Originally posted by: BDawg
Originally posted by: Zakath15
Yes, I think they should. English should be a priority, then... either spanish or Mandarin.
Why not French (besides it's what they speak in France)? It's the second of the official international languages.

Right now, anyone who knows Arabic is popular with intelligence recruiters. :D
Because not counting English, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world. :p
 

BDawg

Lifer
Oct 31, 2000
11,631
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Originally posted by: Zakath15
Originally posted by: BDawg
Originally posted by: Zakath15
Yes, I think they should. English should be a priority, then... either spanish or Mandarin.
Why not French (besides it's what they speak in France)? It's the second of the official international languages.

Right now, anyone who knows Arabic is popular with intelligence recruiters. :D
Because not counting English, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world. :p
Yes, but aren't there more French speakers than Spanish in the world?
 

her209

No Lifer
Oct 11, 2000
56,352
11
0
Originally posted by: johnjohn320
Originally posted by: her209
Originally posted by: johnjohn320
It seems as though most European and Asian countries teach their children multiple languages in school right from the get-go, so they're fluent in a number of languages from around the world by the time they even get to high school. I'm not sure why we don't do this here in the U.S. Foreign language isn't even offered until high school (I had to take a special outside-of-school course to take Spanish I in 8th grade) when it's obviously a lot harder to learn. Languages are much easier learned by small children.

I'm not fluent in any language besides English, I took a few years of Spanish, but y'know, that only does so much. I really would like to be, but it seems the only way for older folks to do it is to literally be immersed in it for awhile (that's what my sister did, worked perfectly) and I can't really afford to do that. :)

Anyway, just random thoughts. I think we should be teaching multiple languages from grade 1, but that's just my opinion.
Because English is hard enough as it is.
All the little European and Asian kids seem to have no problem with it. :)
They have no problem with the basic stuff. But when you start to throw in those SAT words, most of them are like huh and what?
 

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
7,572
2
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Originally posted by: HappyPuppy
Why spend several years in K-12 studying a foreign language that most Americans are never going to use? I have no problem with requiring a couple of years of foreign language in HS, but even that is a waste of time that could be put to better use.

How many American businessmen or scientists do you know who converse with their foreign colleagues in their native language? Damn few if any. Either the foreign person speaks English, or they use a trained and certified translator.
Because Americans have never bothered to learn anyone else's language, they've all learned English on the other hand. I dunno, I just have a feeling that's gonna bite us in the ass one day.

Besides, Spanish is getting to be a bigger and bigger need now in the US, given the immigration rates from Mexico. My town is now 60% Hispanic.
 

Orsorum

Lifer
Dec 26, 2001
27,626
3
81
Originally posted by: BDawg
Originally posted by: Zakath15
Originally posted by: BDawg
Originally posted by: Zakath15
Yes, I think they should. English should be a priority, then... either spanish or Mandarin.
Why not French (besides it's what they speak in France)? It's the second of the official international languages.

Right now, anyone who knows Arabic is popular with intelligence recruiters. :D
Because not counting English, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world. :p
Yes, but aren't there more French speakers than Spanish in the world?
Yes, but French is hardly necessary for business transactions in the continental United States; Spanish would be key, especially in southern states. Mandarin/Korean/Japanese/etc. would also be just as key.

I would also contend that there are more Spanish than French speakers. :p
 

BDawg

Lifer
Oct 31, 2000
11,631
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Oh, and why should we stop with only 2 languages. The Swiss know at least 3.
 

AUMM

Diamond Member
Mar 13, 2001
3,029
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0
i think taking it in high school is good, i took spanish for 4 years and i am pretty good at it.
 

BDawg

Lifer
Oct 31, 2000
11,631
2
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Originally posted by: Zakath15

I would also contend that there are more Spanish than French speakers. :p
Here, it shows Spanish as the 2nd most widely spoken language. But they don't seem to count the people who "also" speak French. Many people speak the language of their country *and* French and English.
 

Dudd

Platinum Member
Aug 3, 2001
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Originally posted by: FoBoT
in the US it wouldn't be too hard to use spanish in some places, but how many times would you get the chance to keep using german or french ?
Um, you are aware that there is a whole country to our North that has French as an official language. Sure, almost all of them speak English as well, but pretty much anyone who you'd want to speak Spanish to would know English as well.
 

vegetation

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2001
4,270
2
0
I think it's a great idea, but sadly, I don't see it happening in areas with poor public school funding. Qualified language teachers are hard to find, especially at the pre-secondary level where they need to be certified in elementary education. I remember when I was in elementary school, we had one guy who ran around multiple schools (the whole district I suppose) teaching Spanish. We only got instructions once every 3 weeks or so. Who knows how many students it would have benefited if we were instructed daily? I can only wish for that now.
 

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