Languages taught in UK schools.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Beeplance, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Beeplance macrumors 65816

    Beeplance

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    #1
    Just curious, I myself have never set foot in Great Britain before, so I just want to know: what language do the schools teach to their students? Besides english.. (Duh!)

    You may include several tiers of education if there's different ones taught at different tiers.

    Also, is it optional or something?
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #2
    French or German normally. Neither very seriously.
     
  3. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #3
    Maybe after the referendum on the EU, you'll not bother learning any? :D
     
  4. Beeplance thread starter macrumors 65816

    Beeplance

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    #4
    By "Neither very seriously", do you mean that there were no test administered regarding both languages?
     
  5. James Craner, Jan 13, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013

    James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #5
    In the UK foreign languages (normally French) is taught in senior school from Age 11 (Year 7), although most schools will let students learn other languages - German and Spanish being the most common alternatives. In year 11 pupils will take formal external exams GCSE's (although there are other qualifications, GCSE is the most common, and some bright students may get the option to take them earlier.) Normally in year 9, pupils will then select which subjects they will take for their GCSE's - Maths and English are compulsory, and generally most students will take at least one foreign language. Between the ages of 11 and when they complete their GCSE's they will get regular internal tests to monitor their progress.

    After GCSE's at taken at the end of Year 11, Students can stay at school to do a further two years of study for their AS/A Levels (sometime referred to as the sixth form), the students will normally specialise at this stage and take 3 to 5 A Levels (3 being the most common). Once Students have completed their A-Levels they may choose to continue their Education at University. The range of subjects offered depends on the school, large schools generally will have a wide range of subjects, and the only requirement to take the subject is normally a reasonable grade at GCSE (or equivalent). Some UK Schools and Sixth Form Colleges will let students take the International Baccalaureate, which is an international qualification that is broadly equivalent to A Level, but is designed around modules and options to give a broader base than the more subject focused AS/A Level qualification.

    Private (Fee Paying) Schools will normally teach foreign languages at Junior School level (<11 years old), but some very basic french may be taught at state funded schools.
     
  6. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #6
    French or German. My school alternated the first foreign language each year, the other was an option from year 8 (as it is now). So I did French then German, my sister did German then French. Additional languages such as Spanish, Italian were an option from year 10 for GCSE study.
     
  7. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #7
    I think that is veiled reference to the fact that regrettably a significant number of people in the UK are a little lazy when it comes to learning a foreign language, as they think that they can get away with speaking English when they travel abroad.
     
  8. Beeplance thread starter macrumors 65816

    Beeplance

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    #8
    Very good summary, thanks. So most british will at least have substantial command of at least 2 languages including english?
     
  9. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #9
    Erm, in theory yes, but if I can refer back to my other post :

    So 'Substantial command' may be pushing it a little, as although most schools like to see students take at least one foreign language at GCSE, unfortunately some people in the UK don't take it as seriously as they should.

    I would say that the UK is very multicultural and most large city's have foreign expat communities. London is one of most multicultural cities in Europe so much so that many large international companies have their European call centres based there as they find it very easy to find and employ foreign language staff.
     
  10. Beeplance thread starter macrumors 65816

    Beeplance

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    #10
    I see, I see. Thanks for all the information!! :D
     
  11. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #11
    I can vouch for that, mostly when English speaking people find some one who cannot speak English, they either shout a bit louder, or they add an "O" to the end of each word. They also mime with their hands, it can look quite funny.:D
     
  12. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #12
    I agree, while my own foreign language skills are not great, I will at least try and learn a few of the basic words, such as please and thank you , hello when I travel to a new country for first time. So I can show that I have put some effort in. I just despair when I am on holiday and I see someone from my country speaking to the locals in 100% english, without even saying hello in local language.
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #13
    And basically you can get away with it.

    I don't know what languages you speak, but chances are where you can't get by with English you'll be in the same boat we are ;).
     
  14. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #14
    Of course Welsh,Gaelic and (if you think northeast Ireland is part of the UK) Gaeilge are taught in quite a few UK schools,in fact some schools teach all subjects in those languages with English as a second language.(I should probably mention Cornish which is taught in some schools)
     
  15. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #15
    Is state-funded schools in Scotland Spanish is sometimes offered as well German and French, but frankly the foreign language teaching was fairly awful when my kids attended ('foreign language' just about sums up the attitude - rather than treating other languages as a potential 'second language'). For various reasons we pulled our youngest out of the local state-funded school and sent her to an independent (private) school. That school offers French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin and some Asian languages (Mandarin for example). The also have clubs about the cultures and languages of other countires (e.g. Japanese). The difference between the independent and state-funded schools has been like night and day, and my kid might go on to concentrate on a second language at university.
     
  16. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #16
    I've lived and trained in England and Scotland for a couple of years with the military, and overall the Brits are largely mono-lingual like the USA.

    I don't see that changing any time soon.
     
  17. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #17
    Sounds like it offers some languages which are actually useful ;).
     
  18. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #18
    Yep - the independent school offers the IB, and so there is a heavy emphasis on being a 'world citizen'. However, for some reason my kid favours Japanese (which also interests me, but Japan's economy is rather struggling at the moment compared to what it used to do), but not Mandarin. Sigh....
     
  19. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #19
    If you do Japanese seriously you'll learn the Chinese characters, so you should be able to read Chinese at least a bit.
     
  20. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #20
    But we of course don't expect everybody to know English.:p

    It's one of the side effects of having a very small language, only about 19,000,000 use the Dutch language.
    When you are surrounded by larger countries and their languages you adapt fast.
     
  21. remmy macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I find it hard learning a new language in the UK as there are very few opportunities to learn it naturally. Friends in Holland were able to picked it up, they can get the BBC, english songs, etc.

    I learnt Spanish at school in UK, but it is hard to practise, and have only needed to speak it when on holiday (and one of those times I had lost my voice so did not speak much anyway).

    And now trying to learn French instead as the company I now work s a large number of French speakers.
     
  22. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Films & Series are sent out via the TV here in the Netherlands, in their original language with sub titles. It gives you a real feel for the language.
     
  23. Andeavor macrumors 6502

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    #23
    I'll trump you with about 4.5 million Swiss German native speakers. We don't have colonies either and we're swamped with foreign-speakers left and right. :p

    In our schools German/French/English and Italian/German/English are mandatory from 5th grade on depending what part you live in. You can add Latin, Spanish or Italian if not already according to your chosen matura.

    We're practically trained to accustom ourselves to foreigners, even if they want to learn our languages. And even if Germans understand our gibberish, we still switch to 'High German' just to make sure.

    English speaking natives never had to and still don't feel the need to "have to" adapt unless they work in theatre or broadcasting where they often loose their regional accent or learn a few to adjust to the region or role.
     
  24. woolyback macrumors regular

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    England
    #24
    Latin was mandatory at my school for the top two classes in the year group. Never did come across any native speakers....:p
     
  25. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020

    Tsuchiya

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    #25
    We were taught French from Year 7 (first year of middle school, about 12+) till year 9. It wasn't too rigorous to be honest, I think what my younger sisters learn in primary school isn't too far off the level we were expected to know as teens. If we performed well in the first year, we were allowed to take Italian for Year 8 and 9. From Year 10 it's entirely optional as we start selecting what subjects we want outside of the core ones.

    My school in general was pretty mediocre though, I went there because it was local and I failed to get into a grammar school :p I'll be damned if my younger sisters end up there too.
     

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