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Old 02-05-2019, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
I'm 32; in 1994 I entered the 4th grade at a private school that had foreign language instruction (on a daily basis) from K-8. So, when I entered, I was a bit behind most of my classmates (the ones who'd been at the school since kindergarten), but I caught up rather quickly. I ended up taking Spanish from 4th through 11th grades. The verdict? Useless, because of the manner of teaching--all memorization, no actual emphasis on developing speaking skills/trying to promote eventual fluency. In both grade school and high school, I had one native Spanish speaker in my Spanish classes (a Colombia native in grade school; a Venezuela native in HS), and both of these guys (both being friends of mine through soccer) were essentially average students in the class--I'm sure lack of effort had something/a lot to do with it, but they'd usually get lower grades than me. And yet, they'd carry on entire conversations with the teacher when they felt like it. Meanwhile I was getting grades in the mid-high 90s all throughout and I could barely handle more than 'Hola! Como estas?' conversationally. Until the method of instruction is modified, I'll have little faith in foreign language instruction in the school setting. You did hint at a change in your OP, but I'm talking overhaul rather than minor change. I reserve the right to change my mind if I learn that present-day high schoolers are emerging as bilingual, but I think I'd already have heard about such a revolutionary pedagogical development had it already occurred.

(edit to add that this school was located in Buffalo; the fact that I happened to have a South American presence (however minor) in my classes throughout was a bit of a statistical fluke...to this day, my Venezuelan HS friend is the only person I've ever met from Venezuela)
To get to the level you want, you have to "go there." You have to go the country and surround yourself with the language. Hear it, speak it, and read it 24/7.

And that is not easy to do for most of the country.

I studied German in high school and college and then on my own here and there. I did a grad year in Germany, but took two immersion courses which got me over a lot of humps (there is always another). I read the local newspaper every day and kept the tv on all the time. I became pretty good at it.

20 years later and I am back to where I was in college because I do not use it and it is not like I can just run over to Germany for the weekend like folks in Belgium, Holland, etc can do.

I think language instruction a fine thing, but we have to be realistic about it. I suspect you would have progressed by leaps and bounds had you done a semester in Buenos Aires or San Juan. Or East LA.
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Old Yesterday, 02:36 PM
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Lots of fine responses,
Though id be curious about the success rate of language rates in polylingual communities in the states vs homogenious communities/ countries or areas you get pretty much no exposure to the foreign language you learn unless you look for it purposely.
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Old Today, 10:36 PM
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I like this thing. we have to learn foreign language. if we know foreign language, we can survive anywhere else.
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