A Conversation for Talking Point: Learning Languages


Post 1


I've always been quite the languages freak, which I'm led to believe is unusual for a native English speaker. I can see why, I studied German at University and by the time Graduation came around there were only two of us left on the German course (we started four years earlier with twelve of us).

I, myself, speak English and German and have an understanding of French and Spanish (enough to get by, but nothing more), I can make educated guesses at Dutch (thanks to the English and German and the fact that my best friend lives there - Dutch being his fifth language after Serbian, German, English and French) and I even have a sentence or two in Gaelic from watching local tv channels!

What I find terrible, however, is that I taught English as a foreign language to teenagers, most of whom already had an excellent grasp of English and certainly knew their English grammar better than their native-speaking counterparts. For some of these kids English was their third or even fourth language, compare this to kids here who can barely speak in their native tongue: "yeahbutnobut whateva!"

Can we expect the next generation to learn foreign languages when they have difficulty remembering to add vowels to English?

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