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Old 06-01-2019, 10:32 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,625 posts, read 70,531,500 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
I'm pretty sure that my granddaughters in Tucson (actually Vail, AZ) studied Spanish right from the start in public elementary. I thought it was a great idea, and that's precisely when they should start studying foreign language. If somebody wants I could text my daughter and get the specifics. The oldest graduates from high school this year and has attended Vail schools since kindergarten. I've got no idea if they've studied it every year or not.

My own kids studied Spanish here in Wyoming for 6 years, from 7th grade through high school. I think they both had straight As, but I was taking an intro Spanish class at the community college and asked my son about something in my homework. He couldn't answer the question. I was like, "WHAT? After 6 years you can't answer what I'm supposed to know after a month?"
I had French from grade school onward. At the grade school level, it was only vocabulary building, and playing games and singing songs. For 6 years, lol, same old, same old. Not much of a program. In middle school, it moved on to memorizing film strips and dialogs. There must have been some grammar instruction in there somewhere, but I don't remember. It just always seemed like we were at a beginning level, never progressing. Finally, in HS it got more serious. In 11th grade, someone placed me in an AP class without consulting me. It was a killer class--very challenging, but much later, I discovered that the work we did there, was the equivalent of late 3rd-year/early 4th year college work. So, at least the HS program amounted to something. The earlier grades seemed to be more like baby-sitting. So maybe your son's program was like that, IDK. If I were you, I'd be curious, and might request a meeting with the teacher/s, to find out what the program entailed.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:38 AM
 
515 posts, read 114,460 times
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As they say "If you don't use it, you lose it".
My cousin took Spanish in high school and college.
Then got a job in Florida with bilingual requirements. Having to speak it every day made it second nature and she can speak both fluently now.
Anyone else I know that took a language in HS/college doesn't remember much of it now.

Between HS and college I took Italian, French and Spanish. Got A's in all classes but barely remember any of it today because I never had to use it.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:56 AM
 
5,392 posts, read 6,534,039 times
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+1 for using the language.

but if you immerse yourself for even a week it will come back to you, at least conversationally.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,943 posts, read 5,300,762 times
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There are jobs available for people that are fluent in several languages and it doesn't really matter which ones. With multinational corporations, military, government, translators, etc. there is need for all. I know someone that did very well in their career in government with Hungarian and Ukrainian. He also got to travel.
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,686 posts, read 33,686,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizensadvocate View Post
I heard that more and more schools are offering foreign language education in elementary school nowadays. And in the form of fun rather than memorizations and tests. Particularly in areas where there is a significant number of people speaking a language other than English. I know that in parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and the North East there are plenty of neighborhoods like that.

I hear this is a vast improvement compared to the past where foreign language education was offered in some Middle Schools but is only a two year requirement in high school and its mostly about memorization of words and tests and not good for holding a conservation.

Anyone has experience they can share?
I fail to see how "Where is the library?" isn't the most useful thing tourists need to know how to say when in foreign countries.

And yet, I remember how to say it after 50 years (in French, Spanish and Italian) because I had to memorize it in High School (Spanish and French), Junior High School (French) and college (Italian).

Don't know what students have to memorize these days but "Help, that guy just mugged me" or "I think there's a bomb in the (fill in the blank)" or "Bathroom?" or "Where's the wi-fi?" might be an improvement on what you have to memorize.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,233 posts, read 44,903,829 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
I fail to see how "Where is the library?" isn't the most useful thing tourists need to know how to say when in foreign countries.

And yet, I remember how to say it after 50 years (in French, Spanish and Italian) because I had to memorize it in High School (Spanish and French), Junior High School (French) and college (Italian).

Don't know what students have to memorize these days but "Help, that guy just mugged me" or "I think there's a bomb in the (fill in the blank)" or "Bathroom?" or "Where's the wi-fi?" might be an improvement on what you have to memorize.

I may be repeating myself from earlier in the thread, but the "In 10 Minutes a Day" series of language self-teaching books is great in that it starts with the "who what where why" words, and works on from there to teach phrases that a traveler is actually likely to use. If you successfully work through the whole book you have a few hundred word vocabulary, know some useful phrases, can read most street signs. What you won't have is much command of grammar, or declension/conjugation in languages that do these. But you do have some useful ability to communicate with people who only speak your target language.



Of course anymore you have phone apps, computer programs to help you study a language. I have been lucky enough to have live tutors available for Russian, so have not explored the electronic tools that much. These may indeed be where the biggest advances have occurred.



You can find YouTube videos in your target language. Google translate will "speak" the words in the foreign language for you. The ordinary computer you are reading my post on can be a quite useful language learning tool.



It does seem that most academic language programs are pretty "tone deaf" in terms of what words and phrases people are most likely to need when traveling to the country. For practical use while I am still far below fluent, I don't need words for "book" or "library". I need words for "bathroom", for "restaurant", for "hotel", etc. Stuff that a traveler will actually be interacting with. With luck, I won't need "doctor" or "hospital" or "police" etc. But if you need to be able to call for this sort of help, you will need to in the worst way, so learn these phrases too.



You know, to learn a difficult language like Mandarin or Russian from English is a long slog. You have to put in say 5-10 hours a week, for at least a year and for me more like 2 years before you can speak and understand at the level of a slow-witted 5 year old. At this stage of the game, a phrase book in your pocket is quite useful. Early on, when your pronunciation is still really bad, you can resort to finding the phrase in the phrase book, and showing it to your conversation partner. Laugh if you want, you are still head and shoulders above the vast majority of non-speakers, and Americans are probably the worst, who don't know and won't try.



I have *no* musical talent. Just none. I have friends who are good singers who can listen to a song in a foreign language, like Russian, then sing it back to me, and I can understand it - but they have no idea what the words mean. To me, this is weird, but some people can do it.
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Old Today, 05:51 AM
 
3,043 posts, read 3,054,973 times
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Here is what the experts say is needed for oral proficiency. Developing meaningful proficiency in a grade-school course which is limited to 50 minutes per day for 180 days is unlikely without a great deal of outside practice.

https://www.languagetesting.com/how-long-does-it-take
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