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Did you learn a second language in school growing up?


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I am just wondering if any of you were taught a second language in school, whether it be your first language and english or if english is your first language and you learned another one.

Growing up in Canada it was mandatory to take french starting in grade four of elementary school. Then when I was in Junior high, we had the choice from italian, french, and spanish, but it was also mandatory to take a language. High school was up to the students.

If it was mandatory/not mandatory for you to learn a second language, what are your thoughts on the system? Do you think it is beneficial to kids to learn a second language from an early age or should it not be mandatory in schools at all?

Personally I think that learning French at such a young age really helped me in the past, now, and in the future. I am able to travel to Montreal in my country and understand the basics of speech as it was drilled into my mind since I was a child.

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When I went to school, language was only taught in high school. The languages that were available were French, Spanish, Italian, and German. It was not mandatory to take a language, but now it is (one or two years, I'm not sure). I never took a language, and kick myself every day that I didn't. I think it is extremely beneficial for students to study a foreign language, and I have no problem with it being mandatory.

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Taking a foreign language was required in high school.  I was already fluent in Spanish because I came from a Spanish speaking household so I chose French and I took it for four years.  When I enrolled in college, I took two more semesters of French as part of the basic coursework but since it was considered an elective, I did not continue beyond that. 

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The school I was going tho tried to teach us English, which was futile because they had one teacher for everything and her English was worse than us. Lol. No real learning over there to be honest. It didn't even awake my interest to learn the language either.

I had better luck learning the language on my own. I did much much better actually.

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I think that learning a second language can prove to be more beneficial rather than not and it should be considered by more elementary schools and remain mandatory in high schools. English is my original language and I started learning a second language in high school for the first time because it was not taught in primary schools then.

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Learning english is mandatory over here, I think it starts in third of fourth grade.

Later on you can also take another additional language, most people go for French but often

Latin and Spanish are also available, depending on the school. If you want to study at a university

you need Abitur which even requires a third language most of the time.

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In grade school it is not mandatory in Kentucky. However, I went to a Catholic school and had Spanish for all 8 years of grade school. It wasn't the best, but I still had the classes.

In high school it is mandatory for 2 years in all schools, but I took all four to take advantage of it. I didn't really get serious learning/classes until this point.

I think it helped immensely to have classes as soon as possible. It only spreads out the workload, and younger kids learn better. I wish the classes I had in grade school were as hard as my math classes were, it would have made my life easier later.

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In high school, my public school system had a couple of different tracks, one being known as the "foreign language track."  Those who opted for this track, including myself, were required to take Spanish I and II or French I and II, each level being a school year apiece.  If you desired, you could have taken a language for three or even all four years of high school.  (And you also could have even tried to take some of the other language offered!)  I took Spanish for all four of my years in high school.  Quite frankly, the instruction was sub-par, and I didn't realize just how it was until I had started taking my TESOL classes for my MA.  We had no exposure to authentic texts, just textbooks and worksheets, and we never heard a peep from any native language users.  Our textbooks were old--I went to high school from 1999 to 2003, and the books still talked about playing records.

Those who have the opportunity to learn additional languages at a very young age are fortunate, and I wished I had that chance. :)  We actually have an optional immersion program for Mandarin for Kindergarten and first graders in the areas public schools.  The program is in its second year.  The county originally intended for the program to last only a year, but the parents of the participating children were so impressed with the program that they demanded it to be continued.

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I think that learning a second language can prove to be more beneficial rather than not and it should be considered by more elementary schools and remain mandatory in high schools. English is my original language and I started learning a second language in high school for the first time because it was not taught in primary schools then.

I totally agree with you. Learning a second language from a young age always seems a lot easier than learning it at a later age.

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The school I was going tho tried to teach us English, which was futile because they had one teacher for everything and her English was worse than us. Lol. No real learning over there to be honest. It didn't even awake my interest to learn the language either.

I had better luck learning the language on my own. I did much much better actually.

I taught English in Moscow, Russia, and found the same thing. Most of the English teachers are Russian, and quite often their English is very poor. I taught an after-school class in one school, and I would have to consult with the regular English teacher so we knew what material we were each covering. Our conversations were in "English," but sometimes I couldn't even understand him because his English was so bad! And he was the official English teacher at the school! Believe me when I say, native English-speaking teachers will always be in demand in Russia!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I went to school in Georgia where it was mandatory that week take two years of a foreign language. I took Spanish but I did not retain much of the information. This is why I am trying to relearn and actually understand Spanish and French.

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Yes. Here in the Philippines, English is taught even in Elementary. Even with the new curriculum that says that Filipino has to be the main language used in class, there's still an English language. I'm not complaining though. English is a pretty useful language after all (obviously  :wacky: ).

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I am just wondering if any of you were taught a second language in school, whether it be your first language and english or if english is your first language and you learned another one.

Growing up in Canada it was mandatory to take french starting in grade four of elementary school. Then when I was in Junior high, we had the choice from italian, french, and spanish, but it was also mandatory to take a language. High school was up to the students.

If it was mandatory/not mandatory for you to learn a second language, what are your thoughts on the system? Do you think it is beneficial to kids to learn a second language from an early age or should it not be mandatory in schools at all?

Personally I think that learning French at such a young age really helped me in the past, now, and in the future. I am able to travel to Montreal in my country and understand the basics of speech as it was drilled into my mind since I was a child.

English is my first language and I grew up learning swahili as my second language.

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In my country, Slovenia, learning a second language (english) in school starts in primary school, at the age of 8! So by the time the children finish primary school and proceed to high school, they are already proficient English speakers, ready to tackle a new language! That is why you get to learn a third language in high school. Depending on your school, you can pick from a variety of languages, most common ones being Italian, French, German and Spanish. My school also offered Russian. If you decide to go to University, you can take classes and learn a new language! Since universities are state funded, you don't have to pay a dime for it, which is amazing!

I learned Italian in high school, for 4 years. Sadly, my teacher wasn't the best and I quite frankly didn't like the lessons, so I didn't study hard. It's a shame, really, since I can only mumble a sentence or two before running out of words I know.

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Yes. I am from the Philippines and English is our second language. In fact, most of the subjects are taught in English. Some schools even have a sort of English-only policy. Kids learn English from primary school all the way to university.

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I taught English in Moscow, Russia, and found the same thing. Most of the English teachers are Russian, and quite often their English is very poor. I taught an after-school class in one school, and I would have to consult with the regular English teacher so we knew what material we were each covering. Our conversations were in "English," but sometimes I couldn't even understand him because his English was so bad! And he was the official English teacher at the school! Believe me when I say, native English-speaking teachers will always be in demand in Russia!

LOL, woah!  It sounds like a really bad situation, I mean, our teacher wasn't the official English teacher or anything like that, just a normal teacher trying to multitask.  It's a pity Russian students have teachers like that!  No wonder most of the Russian people I have met don't have such a good English,  those awful teachers are definitely to blame.  It must have been so frustrating for you to deal with that.

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Well I went to school in Georgia where it was mandatory that week take two years of a foreign language. I took Spanish but I did not retain much of the information. This is why I am trying to relearn and actually understand Spanish and French.

Best of luck, Crystal, the very same thing happened to my mom when she was growing up. She took English classes, but she never retained a lot of the info, maybe nothing at all actually.  Just a few phrases like ''good morning'' and ''how are you''.  So I believe it's a myth what they say about kids always learning a language well just for the sake of being kids.

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I did! I was taught English in school from when i was a kid. All children are taught English in my country but only a few speak it fluently since we also have other native languages which people prefer to speak.

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  • 1 year later...

My memories of school language learning are unpleasant, to say the least. We had the most horrible teacher, she actually couldn't speak English herself and made mistakes all the time. Plus, she preferred spreading gossip about other teachers or discussing her private life with us, instead of doing any teaching :) I'm really glad those times are long gone and now I can learn on my own, without any teachers / professors / specialists getting in the way.

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In school, we had regular English, French and Latin classes, in addition to our native language classes. It might be, because I went to a humanistics based High School. But still, those are 3 languages we had to study along with our native language.

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For me it was during middle school that I learn some Spanish even though I was never very good with and they only taught us so much before the school year was out so I only like bottom of the barrel amount of Spanish... But once I got into I highschool I decided to study French and we learn a whole lot more than I did when I was taking Spanish in middle school... I'm sad that thay don't teach differnet languages when you're in elemetary school... 

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I, too, am from Canada and had French classes. They were stupid at best. They were all taught in english with charts and it was soooo boring. Whoever said that is the way a language is taught needs to back down and have someone else take over. 

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In California, foreign language is given as an option in middle school, but students don't have to take it. It's recommended though, because then students can jump ahead in high school which requires 2 years of foreign language.

My middle school was too small so I didn't have that option. I took four years of French in high school though. It was fun and it made me realize how awesome it was to learn a language. I do regret not starting in middle school though. I think that's a good age to start learning foreign languages. 

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On 8/5/2014, 10:21:28, Determined2014 said:

English is my first language and I grew up learning swahili as my second language.

That's strange - you profile says Maragoli is your first language. Swahili is my third language, which is why you got my attention.

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Mine is a little complicated, like for most Malaysians ;) I grew up speaking a southern Chinese dialect and English. These I would certainly count as my "first languages" while I learned Malay (our official language) in kindergarten and primary school and was fully trilingual by the time I was 7 or so (not unusual in my country). I studied Japanese and French in university and picked up Mandarin (also commonly spoken in Malaysia) at work. My language-learning craze went out of control soon after :D

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