How many foreign languages do you speak? Answer if you’re like many of he people I know – “I can say ‘hello, how are you?’ in French”.
And I bet you say that in the most appallingly Scottish French accent aka no accent at all.
In 2004 the British government decided to make foreign language learning optional at GCSE and Standard grade level, as they stupidly believed that those who had learned languages at primary school would definitely want to continue their studies at high school.
Language learning is seen as hard, and today’s lazy kids prefer to take different subjects they believe will give them an easy pass, rather than actually apply themselves and acquire skills that definitely will help them in life. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I had to use Pythagorean Theorem or tell you the chemical symbol for cheese, but only this morning was I hearing and translating French I was listening to on television.
Languages are useful. Learn them!
Countries in Europe teach languages as standard in their schools, be that other European languages or English! They’re making the effort! Why aren’t we?! Europeans are so used to Brits being such ridiculous, for want of a better word, ‘dumb’ tourists, who go on holiday to be British in the sun, instead of travelling to see and feel these wonderful countries. But we make no effort whatsoever to blend in. You can spot a British holidaymaker a mile off (I am guilty of being one myself at one point I do admit.)
I’ve gone slightly off topic, this was a rant about languages…
University courses and foreign language departments are really starting to struggle with their pools of candidates, as fewer people are taking languages in school, and then even less are taking them on into university. It’s madness!
I loved learning languages in school. The Modern Languages department at Greenfaulds High is something I can only applaud. They really pushed you to learn, and held activities at lunchtime encouraging people to try foreign foods and movies and culture, as well as learning the language. My Spanish teacher was phenomenal, I always loved her classes. She spoke to us and taught the class entirely in Spanish, and so immersed you entirely in the language. You didn’t realise how much you had learned until you suddenly realised you understood every word she was saying to you, and if you didn’t understand, she helped you figure out by breaking down the sentence, all still in Spanish. it was fabulous. Plus she wasn’t one of those awful language teachers who hated their lives and now only lived to make their students lives a misery, I do get that those exist.
But with all this ranting and raving about how few people are learning languages, I have to admit I’m a bit of a hypocrite, as I’ve let my languages slip. I could still hold a pretty decent conversation with someone in both French and Spanish, and can now have a very basic conversation in Italian, but I’m a bit rusty, and could do with some revision, which is exactly what I’m going to do.
Duolingo is a website and app which lets you learn languages for free. Free! You learn languages in a sort of game like fashio9n, where you lose a heart when you get an answer wrong, you win points when you complete levels, and you can follow and compete with your friends. duolingo has been proven to work, and according to their website just 34 hours spent on Duolingo equates to an entire semenster at University or College.
It is never too late to start learning, or relearning, a language, and so I challenge you my readers to join me in my quest to encourage the world to become bilingual. I am setting myself the challenge of studying Spanish for fifteen minutes every day, and when I’ve completed that course I shall move onto French and the Italian. And after that, who knows.
So go on, get signed in, get learning! You can find me at LaurenJuli1. Follow me, and I’ll follow the next 20 people who follow me back! I’ll also keep you updated with weekly updates, let’s see how long I can keep this up, eh?
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