First Choice of Second Language

bb008

Senior Member
Caracas - Venezuela
Hola

En Venezuela el único idioma es el español, sin embargo es una materia obligatoria estudiar inglés en bachillerato (secundaria) y hay algunas escuelas (primaria - no todas) que dan inglés, también algunos preescolares (muy caros por cierto - no todos), también comienzan a estimular a los bebes-niños para el aprendizaje del inglés. En la Universidad también es una materia obligatoria, pero creo que más que todo como un conocimiento general, por que son muy pocos los que salen hablando perfectamente inglés, así que no sé por qué, pero es así, o terminas olvidando lo aprendido o refuerzas siempre con algún curso.

Saludos.-
 
  • bb008

    Senior Member
    Caracas - Venezuela
    Hola bb008,

    ¿no se puede estudiar francés o italiano en Venezuela en bachillerato? :confused:

    Si, se me olvidaba (esto era cuando yo estudiaba, por que ahora tendría que averiguar, por que tenemos diez años que nos cambian una cosa, la otra, total que nada es definitivo), en bachillerato hasta el tercer año se estudia sólo inglés, después escoges los dos últimos años por Ciencias, Humanidades o un Bachillerato Técnico que es aquel que trae una especialización, depende de la carrera por ejemplo dibujo técnico, (te harías Bachiller en Ciencias mención Dibujo Técnico y puedes trabajar como auxiliar de un arquitecto, por ejemplo o se te hace más fácil entrar en Arquitectura en la Universidad) mercadeo, contabilidad, etc., hace muchos años otros bachilleres hacían hasta un sexto año, el bachillerato en Venezuela es de cinco actualmente, él normal (por que "misión Robinson" te hace Bachiller casi en tres meses...:rolleyes:). Por qué explicó esto, primero, por que si te ibas por Ciencias, te daban inglés y latín, en cambio si seleccionabas Humanidades se veía, inglés, latín, griego y francés, por lo menos yo me fui por Humanidades y estudie, inglés, francés, griego y latín, por dos años nada más. Por cierto era obligatorio, no había opciones y creo que actualmente en Ciencias vez inglés y el otro que lo acompaña no lo tengo claro y en Humanidades vez inglés y francés, casi estoy segura que ya no dan ni griego ni latín, pero no lo puedo asegurar, tendría que averiguarlo, como dije antes.-

    Saludos.-
     
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    Joannes

    Senior Member
    Belgian Dutch
    The situation for Belgium, quoted from another thread:

    People are generally not bilingually raised so it often comes down to education. I explained the current situation for Brussels with many French speaking people getting perfectly bilingual. In Flanders, starting from the age of 10, children have French as their first second language, four years later they also get English and depending on the pupil's choices, he or she can be taught German (or sometimes Spanish) too. (This is all before going to college, obviously..) But in Brussels, children in Dutch speaking schools are taught French right from the start (at the age of 6)!

    In Wallonia (corrigez-moi si je me trompe..), there is no obligatory second language learning in primary school. In secondary school, from the age of 12, children should choose a first second language (options English and Dutch), later they can choose a second.

    The last few years more and more francophone parents want their children to learn Dutch and this works: Dutch proficiency in the South is getting better. In the North, the French proficiency of the pupils (and especially of people that are out of school..) seems to get worse.

    As for the German speaking Community: I don't know about their educational system, but most are bilingual German-French and although I'm not sure whether many do speak Dutch, learning it shouldn't be really difficult for them anyway. (I know that the minister-president of the German speaking Community, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, is very proficient in all three of the official languages..)
     

    havle

    Member
    Arabic
    I guess in most countries English language is the second language (if it was not the first one).

    In most Arab countries, English is the second language (like in KSA, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, etc) and few other Arab countries their second language is French due to the french occupation of their countries (like Morocco and Algeria)
     

    wonderlicious

    Member
    UK
    British English
    The situation in the UK is really rather bleak nowadays (read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/aug/03/languages.schools1), but negativity aside, here's the general scheme:

    Most people start learning languages in Year 7 (11-12 aka the first year of British high school), though perhaps earlier (either as a casual thing in primary school. In my school, we started French in Year 7 and then started learning another in Year 8 (either German or Spanish - I chose the former). For pretty much eternity, French has been the most studied foreign language, and it continues to be so. German has traditionally been the number two after French, though Spanish is now beginning to eclipse German as the second most studied language (bar English). Welsh (or English if you're a Welsh native speaker at a Welsh school) is mandatory in Wales.

    Having said that, a lot more can be studied than just those. Some are some more obvious European languages (Italian, Russian etc), but in some schools (mainly in bigger cities), home languages such as Urdu can also be studied. Classical and religious languages are also taught in some places (mainly in private/religious schools).
     

    nmkit

    Member
    English-US
    Danielfranco: That's very interesting that each state picks the official language! Thanks for posting that. I thought I had heard something a few months ago about a Texas vote about making Spanish an official language, or something, and it kind of confused me.
    Just to head this misconception off. Yes, it is true that The U.S. doesn't have an "official" language. This is left up to the individual states to decide if they deem it desirable. This is not compulsory, some states have done it,Texas for one, while many others have no such laws on the books.
     

    effeundici

    Senior Member
    Italian - Tuscany
    In Italian school 2 w foreign languages are mandatory. English of course, then you can choose between French, German or Spanish.

    But I'm still wondering why my son has to spend 2 hours a week studying German when I'mpretty sure he will end up with speaking neither fluent English nor fluent German.

    I'd definitely prefer he would concentrate his effort on English only.
     
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    randomfuoco

    Member
    English- US
    I live in New England (North East US) and there isn't really any one second language here. French is popular due to proximity to Quebec but Spanish is bigger due to the huge number of mexican immigrants in general, and its often viewed as the easiest of the offered languages so kids take it for two years to pass the language requirement easily (not that they actually learn anything). That being said, I studied Latin and Greek in Secondary and had friends doing German/Russian. At uni i'm studying Italian and Arabic, so basically you can do pretty much whatever interests you.
     

    Judica

    Senior Member
    AE (US), Spanish (LatAm)
    In the US most students, unfortunately, don't get to study a foreign language until secondary school. When I was that age, French was the most widely chosen language (at least in the area where I lived) but nowadays I would say Spanish is the preferred first foreign language in most places--it is becoming a de facto second "official" language in our country and in cities with large Hispanic populations many signs, information, newspapers, etc. appear in Spanish as well as English.

    Other options--often depending on the region and the immigration patterns of people living in a given region--include German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, etc.
    I agree with you. I think secondary school is way too late to begin learning a foreign language. Everyone knows the younger one learns a language, the more retained.

    In Panama, English and Spanish were taught starting in the 1st grade.

    In HS (US), I could pick between Latin, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, or Italian. I think nowadays youngsters can pick Arabic and Chinese also.
     

    Talib

    Senior Member
    English
    In Canada of course both French and English are official languages but in practice only a small minority of the population is bilingual. This is because of poor teaching practices and the lack of an economic reason to know French outside of the Ontario/Québec region. Thanks to the influx of English-language media (which the province tries to shield itself against) young Québecois will generally know English but the typical Anglophone Canadian doesn't speak French at all.

    Now I wish I'd taken French immersion from a young age, and if I did I might be fluent now, but I only would want to learn that language for its political and economic usefulness, not because I'm particularly interested in it. I'd rather have a choice of different major languages to learn, and the options in Canadian schools are woefully limited. It might be different in a big city like Toronto, but I basically had a choice of French and nothing. I wouldn't have minded even a small selection like Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. And Arabic and Hebrew are out of the question. They are hardly ever taught below the university level despite their importance.
     

    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    In the Republic of Ireland, the final set of school exams taken at the age of 17 or 18 is called the Leaving Certificate. To enter university, you are expected to have passed exams in English & Irish (usually, English as a first language, and Irish taught as a second language), as well as one modern European language.

    There are about 60,000 students every year taking these exams, of which about 50,000 take French, 15,000 take German and a few thousand take Spanish. That said, Spanish is growing very quickly.

    When I took the Intermediate Certificate (public exams taken at age 15), I was one of only 4 people in the country who took the Italian exam that year... (!)
    I'd say that we are more than just expected, it's a condition to entry to have passed Irish (unless having an official exemption from it) in most universities.

    Irish and English are taught as the two first languages(sort of). Technically Irish is the first official language and English is a second. Both are taught from the age of four or five. The only difference being whether other classes, such as maths, are taught in English or Irish.In practice, most schools teach other classes in English making Irish the second language.

    A person cannot qualify to be a Primary school teacher(for children aged 4-12) without knowing Irish. You can't even study to be a primary teacher without at least a C in Higher Leaving Certificate Irish.

    English, Irish and Maths are required subjects for the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate. Otherwise a person can take an exam in almost any subject they wish. They could, if they wished, study nothing but languages and Maths.

    Most children start to learn third and fourth languages from the age of 12. Without any statistics on hand I'd say that French and German are the two most popular third languages.
    A list of languages it's possible to be examined in :

    • Arabic
    • English (mandatory)
    • French
    • German
    • Irish (mandatory subject for NUI entry; some students can receive an exemption)
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Russian
    • Hebrew
    • Spanish
    • Bulgarian
    • Czech
    • Danish
    • Dutch
    • Estonian
    • Finnish
    • Modern Greek
    • Hungarian
    • Latvian
    • Lithuanian
    • Polish
    • Portuguese
    • Romanian
    • Slovakian
    • Swedish
    Of course, most schools don't give that much choice.

    Yours,
    Curly
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    Excluding the gaelscoils where Irish is the medium through which education is given, classes in Ireland are taught entirely through English. Most Leaving Cert students take the "ordinary level" Irish language exam and here the vast majority cannot speak a word. I know an astonishing number of people who took the exam and passed after having completed it in under an hour, myself included.

    This results from the bizarre way the language is taught. You are given a mountain of texts to read and analyze yet the resources given to aid you are in Irish only. It's as if the classes are geared to perfect your level, not teach you an entirely new language.

    This ends up with the majority of students hating the language as they can't understand a word of what is going on.

    In Ireland, our real "second language" is Irish, when the government get round to realizing that fact, maybe then we will see an improvement in language skills.
     

    DigitalepurpureA

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Hi Foreros

    How everybody knows in Mexico the first language is Spanish but the second language that you would have to learn is English, in almost all schools teach english, it could be because Mexico is border with USA and we are the commercial partners.

    I would like to know which is the second language in others countries, also if you can choose it or not.

    Thank you all
    Lulú
    Well, until 10/15 years ago the second language was mostly French, here in Italy, because of French domination here, because French used to be the Europe Nations and Aristocracies' way to communicate some centuries before...
    With the increasing of the English language all over the world as the fastest way to communicate (also thanks to the fact that English maybe is more easier to learn than the way that French or German or Spanish or Italian are) it became the second language, French became the third and Spanish and German are both the forth.
    I studied languages in my high school, so we had English, French and Spanish.
    And obviously Latin, because we are (luckily) almost "forced" to study Latin.
    Maybe here in Italy Latin is given much more importance that English (and I disagree in part whit that).
    ^^
     

    acemach

    Member
    Malaysia - English & Mandarin
    Here in Malaysia, there are 3 types of public primary school: Malay-medium, Mandarin-medium and Tamil-medium.
    Essentially all 3 schools teach the same thing in those languages, but both Malay (sole official language) and English are compulsory, so for Malay medium schools, the main 2nd language is English, while for the others, it's pretty much even between the two.

    Nearly all public secondary schools (attended by 13-17 year olds) are Malay medium, though most offer Mandarin, Tamil, or other minority tongues optionally. In terms of class time allocated, Malay would be the first language, English second.

    In daily life, however, this varies, especially in urban areas, where there are sizeable communities of native-bilingual English speakers. Generally, a working command of both English and Malay is needed, so I'd say one or the other is our main second language.

    Ace
     

    ywf

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Most Chinese students learn English as their first second language; few choose some other language. Because there are only schools that just teach one foreign language - English in most cities, but I know there are Russian courses in some schools in some cities near Russia, and there are schools that teach languages other than English in some big cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, So the students there have an opportunity to choose not to learn English, but students in other places don't.
     
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    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    ...
    It's not common knowledge (sometimes even the natives themselves don't know it) that the USA has no official language, and each state chooses which language is their official language. Some states even choose official second languages, so there you are!
    Cool, no?
    Bueno bye.
    Dan F :)
    Here in my area it changed with the state.
    Before the unification I lived behind the iron curtain, as you called it (in the GDR). The second language was Russian and it was mandatory.
    After the unification it became mostly English.

    So it depends on school, on whishes of the parents and on region, you can choose the second language. Mostly it is English, but also other languages are possible.

    In my case, I started Russion at the 5th class and learned it about 10 years - with only basic success.

    I started English at the seventh class and I can understand it now fluently, can speak it (with a strong accent) and can write it, as you see. Maybe I make some mistakes, however.

    We have a "Sorbisch" area where the mother tongue is "sorbisch" - a slavonic language.

    In many schools the parents can select what they want as second and third language.
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hello, I've just read an interesting reliable statistics about foreign language learning in the Czech republic. Studying a foreign language is mandatory at secondary schools. English 78%, German 58%, French 6%, Russian 2,5%, Spanish 2,2%. It does not make 100%, because 53% of students studies only 1 langauges, the rest studies 2-3 foreign languages. I am quite surprised German is still popular, because heard the popularity is rapidly decreasing.
     

    Mishe

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    Hello, I've just read an interesting reliable statistics about foreign language learning in the Czech republic. Studying a foreign language is mandatory at secondary schools. English 78%, German 58%, French 6%, Russian 2,5%, Spanish 2,2%. It does not make 100%, because 53% of students studies only 1 langauges, the rest studies 2-3 foreign languages. I am quite surprised German is still popular, because heard the popularity is rapidly decreasing.

    It's quite interesting to see how different second/foreign languages are important in different periods of history. In Slovenia, English is the absolute foreign (second) language today, but well until the second half of the 20th century it was German. Not to mention Serbo-Croatian between 1918-1990. Nowadays however, German is still very important because of the economic power of German-speaking investors all over Central and Eastern Europe, especially in countries that were once part of former Austria-Hungary. When I was in Czech republic in 2001, many more people could speak German than English.
     

    Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    About that, let's take our history: In the 1880s (end of the century) French was a must in my country: the language of diplomacy! Now, of course, it is English due to its globalized position.
    What about Spanish? Isn't that the language of all your continent-mates? Or do you just understand it without studying it in school, since it is so close to Portuguese?
     
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    itreius

    Senior Member
    Assembly
    Since 2003, English belongs to the standard Grade 1 - Grade 8 curriculum in Croatian primary schools (up until 2003 a foreign language was only learned from Grade 4 onwards, learning it any earlier than that was optional). Some schools have German instead of English as the mandatory second language.
    Grade 4 introduces an additional foreign language with the choices being Italian, German and English (obviously, only for the students who had thus far learned German as their second language).

    As far as language proficiency is concerned, English is probably by far the most spoken foreign language (if you ignore other BCS variants) with German following closely (among older people it still probably takes the #1 spot though).
     

    evanovka

    Senior Member
    German - Bavaria
    Hello everybody,

    interesting topic!
    In Germany, we have a federal education system, and as Hutschi said, we have some historic background on second language teaching with the four occupying forces and their three languages (I was tought UK-English even in the former US occupied zone :D). Unfortunately, I am not really well informed about the other states, so I am in fact rather talking about Bavaria :-/ :
    In the schools leading to a degree the grants admission to universities (Gymnasium -> Abitur), language is connected to "specialization", i.e. you could have one of the following combinations (first foreign language starting at age of approx. 10 years):
    - Latin, then English, then French: specialization in languages
    - Latin, then English, no third: specialization natural sciences
    - English, then French: natural sciences
    - English, then Latin, then French: languages
    - English, then Latin, no third: natural sciences
    - Greek, (... I guess [biblical] Hebrew? but not sure, this is quite rare): humanities
    - possibly more [rare] options.

    Today, Spanish is another option equivalent to French (and French is getting less and less popular, mainly because it is considered harder to learn and less fancy, which is quite sad I think). Also, the first foreign language now starts at a younger age, I think.

    In the details, everything is quite complicated, but in the end, everybody learns English ;)
     

    melibea56

    New Member
    En España tenemos como lengua oficial el español, pero hay algunas autonomias con un idioma propio, como el catalán, el gallego, el euskera.
    En las ciudades donde se habla otro idioma, en la escuela se estudian los dos a la vez, hasta la edad de 7 años donde se incorpora el Francés y a partir de los 8 o 9 el Inglés.
    Es decir, un niño nacido en Barcelona y que haya ido a una escuela concertada, cuando acabe el bachillerato y antes de entrar en la universidad debe saber hablar y escribir correctamente el catalán y el castellano, pero además deberá tener un nivel aceptable de Francés y de Inglés.
    También hay colegios privados donde la enseñanza es en el idioma concreto en que están especializados (Colegio Alemán, Liceo Francés, etc.)
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    In Ohio, in Junior School and High School we could choose Spanish, French, and Latin. Two years in one language was a requirement for graduation, but you could have as many as 6 years. You could also do two or three languages if you wanted, simultaneously or stopping one and then taking up another. Spanish is by far the most popular nowadays, not only because it is becoming a defacto second language (more and more signs, documents, newspapers are written in that language) but also most people consider it the easiest language to learn. In Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York I believe the system is quite similar. Other states in the USA could be somewhat similar or quite different. I've heard Spanish is an official language in New Mexico so emphasis on that language is greater, longer and instruction is probably better.

    In France, students must study two foreign languages from junior school onwards. English is the most popular, followed by German, Spanish, Italian, Latin. Sometimes you can find some schools with Russian and ancient Greek too. In recent years Spanish has begun to take over (it has probably already happened) second position from German. Also, important to note that not all schools have all languages and in some cases one language or another is imposed.

    In Spain, a lot of languages are studied. English is most widely studied, followed by French and German. Nowadays students learn two at school. I cannot remember what year children start, but it is becoming younger, and there is talk of introducing English in elementary schools in many automous communities. [Melibea has said children start with French at age 7 now and add English at age 8 or 9]. In Catalonia, Catalan is now used as the medium in all primary and secondary schools, so Spanish has become the second language (with one mandatory subject followed in Spanish). There is also Galician in Galicia, Basque in the Basque region and Navarre, and Valencian-Catalan also in the Valencian region. Bilingualism (national language and regional language) is the emphasis in the areas that have two languages. [Melibea has said that in Barcelona there are special private schools, Colegio francés, alemán teaching in French and German]

    In all the countries I have mentioned I personally do not consider the students to be proficient in any foreign language at all by graduation, but that is the subject of another thread.
     
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    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    When I was a child in the UK we studied Latin and French in primary school from age 7 and then continued through secondary school. Both were mandatory, although Latin could be dropped at age 13/14 if I remember correctly. In secondary school we had a fairly wide choice for a third language (optional) that included German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Russian and a few others I can't remember. Nowadays, Japanese seems to be quite popular. I would mention that these were private schools - I have no idea what the situation was or is in state schools.

    Here in Argentina, English is now mandatory from primary school up.
     

    uas60

    Senior Member
    English; Urdu; Student of Arabic/French
    I think English tourists are becoming renowned for their lack of language skills!

    In most schools in England nowadays, languages are not mandatory. If you do study a language, it is between grades 7-11 (very rarely in previous grades). Some schools do not even offer languages. Traditionally French is the common taught second language of schools, sometimes with German or Latin in the "better" schools. Spanish is creeping into some schools now as well.

    In Wales, Welsh is often taught / offered.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I think English tourists are becoming renowned for their lack of language skills!

    In most schools in England nowadays, languages are not mandatory. If you do study a language, it is between grades 7-11 (very rarely in previous grades). Some schools do not even offer languages. Traditionally French is the common taught second language of schools, sometimes with German or Latin in the "better" schools. Spanish is creeping into some schools now as well.

    In Wales, Welsh is often taught / offered.
    Things have obviously got a lot worse rather than better. The British have never exactly excelled in their mastery of foreign languages due to their 'Imperial" right to speak and demand English wherever they go.:(
     

    uas60

    Senior Member
    English; Urdu; Student of Arabic/French
    Things have obviously got a lot worse rather than better. The British have never exactly excelled in their mastery of foreign languages due to their 'Imperial" right to speak and demand English wherever they go.:(
    Yes I think there's a certain complacency too lol... "Everyone speaks English therefore I don't need to speak their language" is the mentality a lot of people take unfortunately!
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Yes I think there's a certain complacency too lol... "Everyone speaks English therefore I don't need to speak their language" is the mentality a lot of people take unfortunately!
    In this sense they may unfortunately be right, the pity being that they miss the wonderful opportunities that come from interacting with foreigners and understanding their culture.
     

    Manolo_A

    Senior Member
    Andalusian Spanish
    People thinks that the second languaje for us (spaniards) is the Catalan. But it isn't true, it is absolutely false. Only people that lives in Catalunia learns Catalan. The seconds languaje, the most studied, is English.
     

    lux_

    Senior Member
    It's quite interesting to see how different second/foreign languages are important in different periods of history. In Slovenia, English is the absolute foreign (second) language today, but well until the second half of the 20th century it was German. Not to mention Serbo-Croatian between 1918-1990. Nowadays however, German is still very important because of the economic power of German-speaking investors all over Central and Eastern Europe, especially in countries that were once part of former Austria-Hungary. When I was in Czech republic in 2001, many more people could speak German than English.
    Indeed.
    I'm currently in Czech Republic, and actually there seem to be many youngsters who don't master English. In the hotel I sojourned the first week, just were people are supposed to speak some international languages, only the minority of the people taking turns at the reception had a sufficient level of English, and two of them just couldn't say anything at all. At a young waitress, in the morning, I said "cold" while pointing on the milk and she brought me a scalding cup of milk :).



    Yes I think there's a certain complacency too lol... "Everyone speaks English therefore I don't need to speak their language" is the mentality a lot of people take unfortunately!
    Things have obviously got a lot worse rather than better. The British have never exactly excelled in their mastery of foreign languages due to their 'Imperial" right to speak and demand English wherever they go.:(

    Well, the saying "everybody speak English" could be criticized. I guess many of us have had experiences of having problems to communicate abroad our national borders even though our English ranged from native to more than communicative.
    And most of the people travel to very touristic destinations, where workers are supposed to speak many languages. If you move out of those main stream destinations, things will definitely not improve.

    But it's not even this the main point that I personally think it's faulted in this kind of attitude.
    Once I used to think "lucky English speakers who don't have to learn a foreign language". But now I totally changed my mind and turned it around.
    It's me (and the others who had to learn English) who speaks more than one language, that can change language depending on the place and the person you are talking to and has had all the advantages related to it (the pleasure to see yourself improving in that language, the open-mindedness that comes with the contact of another language and culture, the healthy mental activity related to the learning process and... Well, I'm in a language forums, I don't think I need to list all the positive things related to learn new languages.. ).
     
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    mgcrules

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    In Australia, there's no one language. In Year 7 we had to study Chinese, French, Italian and Japanese for one term each. However, in years 11 and 12 you can choose any language, though the ones that aren't as popular have to be done by correspondence.
     

    lux_

    Senior Member
    In Australia, there's no one language. In Year 7 we had to study Chinese, French, Italian and Japanese for one term each. However, in years 11 and 12 you can choose any language, though the ones that aren't as popular have to be done by correspondence.
    Woow, some kind of survival training for special troops would be lighter and easier :D.
     

    synnove

    Member
    English - U.S. California
    In California, it's really popular to learn Spanish (or to perfect your Spanish if you already speak it at home). I know some smaller schools offer languages based on the availability of teachers to speak that language, which can sometimes result in students getting a year or two of the language before the teacher leaves, which is unfortunate.

    In areas with significant numbers of speakers of a language, that language will often times be offered at nearby schools. In Los Angeles, for example, students might be offered Spanish, Korean, Armenian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Tagalog or Turkish. Lots of schools also offer French, German or Russian.
     
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    brugluiz

    Member
    Português / Brasil
    In Brazil, when I was 9 I had got to learn just English. When I was 15 years-old I had got to learn Spanish and English at the same time.

    But brazilian's schools do not offer conditions to learn languages fluently, just if you are very fond of it.
     

    Beninjam

    Senior Member
    British English
    I live in the Flemish part of Belgium and traditionally French has been the first "second language" taught in schools.
    Recently a politician (Bart De Wever), vicorious in last year's elections, suggested that Flemings should stop learning French by way of taking revenge for 180 years of French oppression!
    What he forgets is that France is Belgium's largest trading partner, followed by Germany.
    Indeed until about 20 years ago I would have said that the first second language of a Belgian Fleming was French. But now I would say, what with the onslaught of Anglo-Saxon culture, English is the foreign language everybody aspires too. Performance on the other hand is modest, one of the reasons is that only Belgians are allowed to teach in secondary education, so that there is a self-perpetuating chain of instruction in awful English.
    One English teacher I know insisted on rhyming bowl with bowel and offered her pupils a bowel of soup.
     

    germanictamoon

    Senior Member
    Hindi (West Uttar Pradesh)
    Here in India the second language to be taught in schools is compulsorily and obligatorily English. Thanks to a colonial history English is almost as ubiquitous as mother tongues in different parts of India. In my state,mother tongue is Hindustani.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    But, English serves as a lingua franca in India. When a person from Delhi goes to Chennai, s/he speaks English. When a person from Calcutta goes to Mumbai, s/he speaks English. Even a person from Bangalore will speak English in Kerala. (Tamils will be understood in Kerala if they speak in Tamil, but they will not understand Malayalam, but many Malayalis speak Tamil, so no problem).

    I'd say that Kerala is the only place where more languages are learned, spoken, and enjoyed through music and cinema: Malayalam, English, Tamil and Hindi.
    In most other Indian states, movies in languages other than the ones official in the state are not liked...
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    The languages taught in the UK are, in order of people doing them:

    French
    German
    Spanish
    Mandarin
    Latin
    Italian
    Gaelic for learners
    Urdu/Hindi
     

    Scherle

    Senior Member
    Filipino, and English
    English because almost all schools and universities taught in English. But We do have a choice of learning different languages depending on our lifestyle.

    Also, people on some part of our country are more fluent/conversant in English than in Tagalog/Filipino.
     

    PABLO DE SOTO

    Senior Member
    Spain Spanish
    Because, its become trendy for private schools to get Mandarin taught, cause speaking it means big business in the world's second largest economy.

    But Mandarin is extremely hard to master unless you start to learn it at very early ages.

    Here in Spain I know a private school that teaches Mandarin starting at the age of 11, and after two years of study, the boys can hardly recognize the sounds, the tones and a little amount of basic sentences, structures and vocabulary, not to mention the writing system because in two years they only learn oral Chinese.
     

    Angelo di fuoco

    Senior Member
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    But Mandarin is extremely hard to master unless you start to learn it at very early ages.

    Here in Spain I know a private school that teaches Mandarin starting at the age of 11, and after two years of study, the boys can hardly recognize the sounds, the tones and a little amount of basic sentences, structures and vocabulary, not to mention the writing system because in two years they only learn oral Chinese.
    That's also my own experience in Germany (I say: my own, not: my childrens), although I'm rather gifted when it comes to learning languages (fluent in half a dozen European languages and with good reading comprehension in some other related ones).
    Within a few months without ever taking classes I made better and more progress with written Portuguese than in 5 years of learning spoken and written Mandarin, in which I'm supposed to have reached B2 level.
    I bet if I tried seriously learning Latin in a few months I would've achieved better results in the same time.

    I think that to learn Chinese you've got to learn it from the 1st form on (or even start with spoken Chinese in kindergarten).
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    That's also my own experience in Germany (I say: my own, not: my childrens), although I'm rather gifted when it comes to learning languages (fluent in half a dozen European languages and with good reading comprehension in some other related ones).
    Within a few months without ever taking classes I made better and more progress with written Portuguese than in 5 years of learning spoken and written Mandarin, in which I'm supposed to have reached B2 level.
    I bet if I tried seriously learning Latin in a few months I would've achieved better results in the same time.

    I think that to learn Chinese you've got to learn it from the 1st form on (or even start with spoken Chinese in kindergarten).
    Angelo, I agree with you. The more languages you learn the easier it is, especially if they are related. The first time I tried to learn Russian, I gave up because it seemed impossible. Then I tried again years later and it was still hard but a bit easier. Now it seems feasible.
    If Mandarin is to become the lst language of choice, speakers of European languages have to tackle it early on.
     

    Beninjam

    Senior Member
    British English
    Does anybody remember the fad for Japanese a few years ago?
    I personally think that UK people would find more advantageous to speak the languages of their main trading partners, in the UK's case the languages of the EU.
     

    English Speaker

    Member
    Mexican Spanish
    Nooo, It is not possible, English everywhere!!! In Mexico the only language taught as a second language is English but with a poor level. Just some public schools teach English well, but if you want to learn English you have to sign in a private schools where you have to pay weekly and sometimes they are not efficient. Here in Mexico, we don't have that varieties to choose in public schools just English, English....
     

    إسكندراني

    Senior Member
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    In the Arab world the second language varies, and usually has something to do with colonial history or original languages. The educational system also varies widely in style and quality.

    In the Maghreb region it's usually Arabic then French, except Libya which only taught Arabic under gaddafi - though quite a few people still speak some Italian there. In quite a few areas they teach Berber (in Arabic, Original or Latin script depending on the area), and in Northern Morocco students sometimes study Spanish. In Chad French is taught as a first language, though people speak Arabic day-to-day.

    In Egypt it's primarily Arabic then English or French (often both), and to a lesser extent Italian and German. At university, it's not uncommon to study Hebrew or Ancient Egyptian. I also think that they teach some Nubian in the far south (but I'm not sure since I'm from the far north).

    In Sudan, English used to be the second official language (this is no longer the case after the split). I don't believe original languages and dialects (the rutana) were ever taught.

    In the Horn of Africa it's Somali then English or Arabic or Italian. In Djibouti they have French then Arabic or Afar or Somali.

    In Palestine it's Arabic but most people speak some Hebrew too.

    In Lebanon it's Arabic and French. English more recently would come on top of those two.

    In Jordan it's Arabic then English, the same goes for all the Gulf countries. I don't think Yemenis learn a second language usually. Nor have I ever noticed an Arab country teaching Farsi, but the Arabs in Iran learn only in Farsi.
    In the richer Gulf countries, I've noticed people occasionally pick up some Hindi/Urdu or Tagalog or Malay - but it's basic-level and never taught in school. However, I did meet some Saudi students who could speak Korean and Japanese, and said they learn them in school - which I found interesting!

    In Iraq it was only ever Arabic as far as I know. In the north they teach Kurdish and Arabic together and people there are bilingual, some trilingual in Turkmen (which isn't taught).

    In Syria it's Arabic, then any of French, English, Turkish, Russian (or, of course, nothing). There is a sizeable Kurdish region but teaching it is banned (hopefully that'll change!).

    So the most common second languages are English in the east and French in the west, with quite a few others intermingled.
     
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