25
   

What languages should be taught in American schools?

 
 
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 02:30 pm
@Banana Breath,
Obviously the languages most used by trading nations. my daughter is fluent in Mandarin, Japanese, German, Spanish, BSL, as well as English.
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 03:23 pm
@Banana Breath,
Banana Breath wrote:

Quote:
Learn Mandarin.


What value do you see for the average American to learn Mandarin?
If they travel to China to get a job in a Beijing McDonalds, the ability to say "Would you like fries with that?" in Mandarin might be useful, but do you see any realistic scenarios where it would be more useful or valuable than the other language choices?


Keep in mind, we're not worried about how useful the language will be today, but about how useful it will be when the child grows up. The way things are going, Mandarin will be the language of the global elite in 30 years. Another reason to learn Mandarin at an early age is that it's a very hard language to learn.

I would suggest French as another language kids should learn for a number of reasons: (1) it's easy to move on to Spanish when you know French; (2) many French words show up in English; (3) it is comparatively easy to pick up, something to fall back on if Mandarin does not work out.
Wilso
 
  4  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 06:24 pm
English Laughing
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 10:13 am
@Kolyo,
Quote:
I would suggest French as another language kids should learn for a number of reasons: (1) it's easy to move on to Spanish when you know French;


I have heard arguments like this before; some people say things like "you should learn Latin, because once you learn that, it's easy to learn other languages." To me that's like saying you should learn to drive a backhoe, because once you learn to drive a backhoe it's easy to learn to drive a car. Huh? That makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to learn to drive a car, learn to drive the car, and if you want to learn Spanish, learn Spanish. I haven't heard any evidence that going off on tangential learning in preparation yields any benefit whatsoever.
Kolyo
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 12:03 pm
@Banana Breath,
You don't learn French with objective of learning Spanish. The ease with which Spanish comes to francophones is merely a fringe benefit of French. All the arguments I made for French also apply to Latin but almost no one actually speaks Latin nowadays.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 12:26 pm
@Banana Breath,
I've found having some Latin quite handy in figuring out bits of Spanish/Portuguese that I'm not familiar with when I'm reading.

In any case, I think the more languages the better - and the sooner someone starts learning languages the better. There is something about having your ear able to tune to different languages that comes easier if you don't wait too long to start learning multiple languages.

Gotta admit, it is fun to be able to eavesdrop in a lot of languages. It's come in handy a few times (I particularly like to catch out German tourists being asswipes Mr. Green )
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 12:27 pm
@Banana Breath,
Banana Breath wrote:
learn Latin, because once you learn that, it's easy to learn other languages."


it definitely gives you a headstart - but you probably do have to have an ear for languages/music/math/patterns to begin with
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 12:29 pm
@izzythepush,
what is BSL ?

(here it means Breed Specific Legislation)
timur
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 12:32 pm
@ehBeth,
http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/fingerspelling/images/signlanguageabc02.jpg
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 01:38 pm
@timur,
so ... different from ASL ?

cool

another one to take on Very Happy
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 03:15 pm
@ehBeth,
Sorry, but you've already got your answer, and yes, BSL is different to ASL.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 07:13 pm
@Wilso,
Wilso wrote:

English Laughing


Laughing Yeah, after reading social media content, I'd say we should.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 08:42 pm
My children are bilingual, courtesy of their Thai mother, and my ceaseless ******* insistence that she "SPEAK THAI TO THE KIDS". I'm hoping it gives them a leg up in future Asian language studies. Particularly Mandarin, which, like Thai, is a tonal language.
I know that my wife is still struggling with English after more than 8 years, but was speaking and reading Korean in less than 4 years there. And she speaks two dialects of Thai - traditional Thai of the south, and the Isaan dialect, indistinguishable from Laotion, in the north.
Wilso
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 08:44 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

so ... different from ASL ?

cool

another one to take on Very Happy


A lot different from ASL. And English only. I think the great thing about ASL is that deaf people from opposite sides of the world can communicate. Have seen that on the streets of Bangkok.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2014 08:59 pm
@Wilso,
Full respect to your wife.

http://www.livescience.com/48721-bilingual-brain-bodybuilders.html

Quote:
Bilingual People Are Like Brain 'Bodybuilders'


Having taught English at university level for 15 years, I can attest the claim that English is one of the hardest languages for non-Europeans to master. But it can be done, even as an adult, if you have the motivation, understand and apply second/foreign language acquisition theory and approach (Krashen, in particular), ie, the Natural Approach.
0 Replies
 
selectmytutor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2015 12:40 am
@Banana Breath,
Hi Banana Breath,
I think you should learn English it will help you because English is an internationl language used in every field, so it will help you to get a job.

English language is useful for students to learn but for advantage they should learn any other language also which they like as per their interest.
Banana Breath
 
  0  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2015 07:22 am
@selectmytutor,
English is taught in pretty much all American schools, but beyond that?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2015 11:54 am
@ehBeth,
That happened to me once on a train in Italy while sitting across from two German women who were talking about my husband and me. Heh. I only had taken a semester of German years before but retained enough to get the gist.. along with the tone.

I wish I had taken more languages in my youth. Whether or not I understand what is being said, I also like different languages for their sounds and sometimes their musicality - to my ears.
0 Replies
 
momoends
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Nov, 2015 09:50 am
@Banana Breath,
gaudi, picasso, cervantes, dali, goya, lorca, juana de arco, sorolla, paco de lucia, francisco pizarro, jose ortega y gasset... your are judging a whole culture by the last several years?!! that´s like me saying english has been useful in ordering bigmacs... as any culture you can learn about it without speaking its language.... taking on account you seem to learn different languages as an investment to your economic and professional future and nor because you like languages themselves i´ll tell you one thing: south america will hold the 90% of worldwide natural resources quite soon and are still not fully economically developed...... considering they are quite being at speaking other languages.... 2+2 =
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Nov, 2015 07:26 pm
@momoends,
Did you notice how many of your examples were famous not because of their use of the Spanish language, but rather irrespective of their spoken language?
Gaudi was known for his Architecture, Dali, Goya and Sorolla for their paintings, Paco de Lucia for his guitar mastery. They would probably have been as successful regardless what language they spoke. Pizarro was unschooled and illiterate. He is known mostly for his greed in plundering Peru, and perhaps the fact that he did NOT master Spanish was an asset when conquering a people who only spoke native languages at the time.
Cervantes is among the few that anyone cites when the subject of Spanish literature is raised. But for instance there were MANY landmarks of literature in Italian already when Cervantes rolled into town, and many after; for instance Petrarch, Boccaccio, Dante (Divine Comedy), Machiavelli... and likewise with French. Despite the fact that much more of the world speaks Spanish than French, there are far more Nobel Prizes per capita in French than in Spanish.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_laureates_in_Literature
I've read Cervantes in the original Spanish and honestly I'm not impressed. It's a wacky tale and has a place along with such works as Alice in Wonderland, but it's sad that it's the best that anyone can come up with when trying to legitimatize Spanish literature.
 

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