25
   

What languages should be taught in American schools?

 
 
roger
 
  4  
Reply Sun 22 Nov, 2015 08:09 pm
@Banana Breath,
If you can get hold of a biography of Cervantes, you will find it much more interesting than his fiction.
0 Replies
 
momoends
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Jan, 2016 10:13 pm
@Banana Breath,
explain ir respective and justify your affirmation about being famous because of that
Secondly what do you mean not mastering? And you considering an asset to conquer native population.... The same could be said about mayflower passengers and all those english colons that colonize north América ....
Comparing Don Quijote de la Mancha With Alice in Wonderland meaning to belittle its value says so much about your poor education and narrow minded judgement, because Alice in Wonderland is a jewel of literature appreciatted worldwildy. Don Quijote (much like Alice in Wonderland) are venerated not for an outstanding prose but for the hard and cruel analisis of the society at the time.
As for being unschooled let me remind you how many of the important figures in time had poor school backgrounds and marginal education
Spanish literature doesn't need to be legitimize, whether you like it or not, our culture exists, our literature and artist exists and We are as proud of our mother tongue as you are of yours
Finally let me ask you something so i know how deep your knowledge about a lenguage is... Which one would you say is a better representation of a rich literature prose:
Era una noche oscura y fría, envuelta por un silencio absoluto que resultaba ensordecedor
O
La negra y gélida manta cayó sobre la ciudad matando todo sonido de manera estremecedora
Banana Breath
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Jan, 2016 11:56 pm
@momoends,
Prefiero Dante.

"Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita."
timur
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2016 10:46 am
Banana breath wrote:
Prefiero Dante.

I know you are replying to a Spaniard but I'd say: Io preferisco Dante as you are offering a view of the original Inferno.

Or the Spanish version:

En medio del camino de nuestra vida
me encontré en un oscuro bosque,
ya que la vía recta estaba perdida.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2016 11:05 am
@Banana Breath,
As a high school student, I had to take 2 years of Latin, because I was in the so-called College track. As a graduate student, I had to be able to read both French and German ( both scientific and prose).

I needed French and German in order to translate some scientific journals, that weren't available in the English language. I ended up teaching myself French while I took one course in scientific German while in graduate school.

I noticed an ad for a K-8 grade school in the US ( Boston area). This school has the kids take Spanish during years K-8 and Latin ( years 6-8). This sounds like a good idea to me.

However, what do the kids do, who hate studying a language?

I'd like to see a stronger emphasis on math, and less emphasis on language and I'd like to see the kids start studying science very early in their education ( especially the girls).

By the way, I consider your question to be an excellent one!

Banana Breath
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2016 06:23 pm
@Miller,
Thanks, Miller.
I'm guessing your high school was probably a pretty good one; not many require Latin. I have mixed feelings about Latin, I think it's more like learning a programming language syntax, rather than a living breathing language that ties you to a people and their culture. I'm familiar with the argument that "learning Latin will make it easier to learn other (Romance) languages," but that argument is like saying that High School students should learn to drive a backhoe because that will make it easier to learn to drive an ice cream truck later. I never studied Latin, but I had no trouble following our commencement speech which was given in Latin, after having studied Spanish for many years. However that was the only occasion in my lifetime to make use of Latin, and I did so without explicitly studying it.
I think French and German are reasonable languages to choose for a number of fields; they put one in touch with significant literature in the original tongues, culinary terms, opera, dance, and a substantial body of German scientific work. While I recognize the importance of maths, and have made use of them in my career, I have not made connections with any body of people, cultures, history, cuisines, arts or the like through mathematics, and that opportunity, which may be achieved through languages, is in my opinion irreplaceable.
This is probably dropping in importance as we can expect very high performance translators in pocket devices in all future years, but the same can be said for mathematics and sciences, as we've seen with the progression from the abacus to pocket calculators to tools such as Mathematica. There are some serious scholars who now argue that mathematics should be dropped entirely from the required curriculum. While I don't agree with that, there are indeed many subjects and skills that are neglected, including creativity, communications, leadership, and a more robust and generalized approach to problem solving than is taught in mathematics classes.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2016 06:33 pm
@Banana Breath,
My small school had french and latin as a choice, which latin I took four years of. I later near despised the school, but, hey, the language learning was useful.

I should have picked French.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2016 11:46 pm
@Banana Breath,
When I was at school, we got English in the 5, Latin in the 7, and French in the 8. Latin stopped in the 11, while the two others went on until the end (9 years 'high school' [Gymnasium] in those days instead of the 8 years now.

Today, English is taught from pre-school onwards and all 'high schools' give a broader choice of languages (two are still mandatory in most).

Studying a foreign language at a college/university means here that you study for a degree of that language.
If you want to learn another foreign language than those you've learnt at school, you can go to a community evening school (But a few colleges/universities offer similar courses as well - like the one where I taught: you could get their a Dutch degree as well, thus we had Dutch courses at the social work department.)

I do think that the reason why you be taught a foreign language differs, not only from country to country but from person to person as well.

I needed Latin, because a Latin exam was mandatory in those days when you studied law. And later, when I studied history, it was useful because I didn't know Greek (two modern and one old language was mandatory for studying history in those days).
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2016 01:56 pm
@Banana Breath,
Graduate education in the USA has changed dramaically over the past 20-25 years. I don't think many graduate schools in the sciences ( chemistry, biochemistry, physics) require their students to be able to read two foreign languages.

The German journals in Organic Chemistry were difficult for me. However, when I took a course in scientific German in graduate school, I learned not only a good deal about scientific German, but I also learned in the same course how to read German poetry and I learned to love it. That sounds strange , but it's the truth. If I hadn't taken Scientific German, I 'd never have read a German poem, in my whole life.

Other changes such as those now taking place in medical school aren't good, in my opinion, in the long term. For instance, medical schools ( some) are dropping organic chemistry as a requirement for admission. Not good, since kids now have to learn biochemistry in med school, without any real scientific knowledge of the organic mechanisms underlying the biochemical pathways. Another change in med school is the teaching of VIRTUAL anatomy via the computer, without having any experience with the dissection of the human body. This is strange, because in the real world, , the patients seen and treated today are REAL, living beings and not VIRTUAL objects.

Relative to your comments about driving a truck, in the US, those taught to drive at professional motor schools, must first learn to drive a stick-shift car, before going on to the automatic. I agree with this method of teaching driving because it makes for a better driver, in the long haul.
momoends
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2016 10:29 pm
@Banana Breath,
yo a Pablo Neruda:
me gustas cuando callas porque estas como ausente, y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te toca
0 Replies
 
Banana Breath
 
  4  
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2016 05:04 pm
@Miller,
Hi Miller-
Yes, language requirements have generally diminished over the past few decades, but some majors still require them. One of the most substantial language requirements I have seen in for PhD programs in Art History. Here is the Institute of Fine Arts/NYU PhD program in Art History's language requirement:
Quote:
Language Requirement
Students are required to pass examinations in two modern languages relevant to their area of specialization, and are expected to learn other languages that will equip them for advanced research in their chosen fields.

https://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/academics/PhD-requirements.htm
Although there is no specific number of languages required, students in the program will generally learn in addition to English, French, Italian, German and one or two more, and if for instance the topic of your dissertation were a Japanese artist, you would also be expected to be competent in Japanese. I have a friend who is a graduate of this program and we regularly talk in Spanish or Italian (for fun), and I've heard her speak in German.
0 Replies
 
xxPhoebeMertensxx
 
  -2  
Reply Tue 31 May, 2016 10:42 pm
I wish American schools could teach Finnish. We could connect with them without speaking English. To us, is a good thing.

Why can't people in Finland come to America and learn English here, rather than learn UK English there, with the results being high intelligence and British accents from learning early in a Finnish school.

A thick accent would be nicer.
0 Replies
 
selectmytutor
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2016 02:59 am
@Banana Breath,
French and Spanish.
0 Replies
 
sunflower668866
 
  2  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2016 06:57 pm
@maxdancona,
good idea
0 Replies
 
AugustineBrother
 
  0  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 02:37 pm
@Banana Breath,
My serious answer is, English grammar should be taught. If you don't have deep control over the grammar of your native language you are at sea with any other language.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 02:41 pm
Urdu and Mandarin
0 Replies
 
Sage of Main Street
 
  0  
Reply Sat 23 Jul, 2016 02:44 pm
@Banana Breath,
<b>Cart Before the Horse Curricula Today</b>

Only correct English. Even college graduates have a 6th Grader's knowledge of that. High school should continue the same English subjects as grade school (spelling, diagramming, etc.)and quit teaching literature and foreign languages.
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Jul, 2016 02:48 pm
@Sage of Main Street,
I think opposite to what you do. I wish I learned languages in elementary school. I had the time, and my brain was probably at its best for learning spanish or french.
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Jul, 2016 03:22 pm
@ossobucotemp,
Personally I wish I had more choices not fewer. What a shame that young kids are asked to select a second language when they know absolutely nothing about the language choices offered to them and their associated cultures!
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Jul, 2016 05:17 pm
@Banana Breath,
I agree.

I ended up taking 4 years of latin in high school and a sort of AP class at a college once a week in italian. At university, I took one semester of German, and thus I kept liking german but am a dummy on it.
The latin has been useful, but I wish I took spanish (not offered in my high school) or french too.

Years later, when I was about 50, I went to Italy, and on arriving back home, I took seven quarters of italian. I was pretty good at reading and on writing compositions on my own thoughts about italian matters, A's all the way, but I never got to be good at conversation. Passable. I needed immersion, but only got it for a few weeks a time on later trips.

On young kids and choosing, I did pick places I was interested in from my geography classes, which grade I don't remember, maybe 4th. Whenever that was, it turned out to be an important class for my future world view.

Um, do they teach geography anymore?
 

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