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An interesting article on learning languages on Yahoo news today. Apparently French is still the most preferred 2nd language studied in the UK ... why is this ? is it due to the close proximity of France to the UK (geographically speaking) ? is it old hat to think French should be the 2nd language chosen ? or is there a good reason for doing so ?

Also the UK ranks pretty low on the scale of youngsters taking up a language when they move to their final years at school and are given a choice of whether to learn one or not........51.4% dont learn a second language at this point!

In addition Russian seems to be the second language to English in terms of its use now .... Spanish isnt mentioned whereas I thought the numbers of worldwide spanish speakers was way higher than many other languages ?
Its also interesting that the top two Countries for residents speaking more than 2 languages are Slovakia and Slovenia !!! Two Countries that are supposedly way behind many EU Countries in terms of educational systems and standards! Just goes to show you .....

Sue :ranger:


One in two UK pupils in their final years at secondary school are not learning a foreign language, according to EU data released Thursday.

French is the most common second language studied in Britain

The data, published by the Eurostat statistics agency ahead of the European Day of Languages on Saturday, put Britain far ahead of the EU average of 6.4 percent of upper secondary students who do not learn another language.

The figures were 51.4 percent in Britain, and 18.8 percent in Ireland.

All such students in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden are learning a second tongue, with English the most studied language.

French is the most common second language studied in Britain.

An average of 36.2 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 in the 27-nation EU claimed to speak no foreign language at all, led by Hungary with almost three in four people (74.8 percent), and one in two in Portugal (51.3 percent).

By contrast, an average of 28.1 percent said they can speak two or more foreign languages, led by Slovenia (71.8 percent), Slovakia and Finland. Apart from English, the best known foreign language overall is Russian.

In an effort to track down interpreters working in French and fill a hole expected over the next decade as current staff retire, the European Union launched Wednesday an Internet campaign on the Youtube video site.


The number of interpreters working in English, German, Italian, Dutch and Swedish is also expected to drop significantly due to retirement.

The EU has 23 official languages. More than 700 interpreters work on around 50 daily meetings at the European Commission and other institutions. That number is virtually double if the European parliament is taken into account.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well that says it all for a lot of people then doesnt it ! lol .....
 

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Well that says it all for a lot of people then doesnt it ! lol .....
I'm surprised at this cos both my grandchildren are studying Spanish at school and so are quite a few of their friends. At the school I go to they tell me the overwhelming language to learn is English....no surprise there.
Apparently, if you can speak English and Spanish you can speak to half the world.
 

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Depends what you mean by preferred?
Preferred by pupils or preferred by the authorities who decide the basic corriculum.
French was compulsory at my school with Latin as the only other possibility up to age 15 or so.
I hated it,but still managed to absorb a bit of it, which strangely must have stuck somehow, as many decades later I used it a little in France but that was mainly on route to Spain.
If it was the pupils first choice,I would have expected them to choose Spanish,even more so than years ago, when there were few Spanish holidays etc.
Is it the same now and French HAS GOT TO BE the first option in lots of schools?
 

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Depends what you mean by preferred?
Preferred by pupils or preferred by the authorities who decide the basic corriculum.
French was compulsory at my school with Latin as the only other possibility up to age 15 or so.
I hated it,but still managed to absorb a bit of it, which strangely must have stuck somehow, as many decades later I used it a little in France but that was mainly on route to Spain.
If it was the pupils first choice,I would have expected them to choose Spanish,even more so than years ago, when there were few Spanish holidays etc.
Is it the same now and French HAS GOT TO BE the first option in lots of schools?
I know Spanish is spoken in approx 28 countries but apart from France ..Quebec and a few parts of Africa, where else is French spoken.?
 

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Depends what you mean by preferred?
Preferred by pupils or preferred by the authorities who decide the basic corriculum.
French was compulsory at my school with Latin as the only other possibility up to age 15 or so.
I hated it,but still managed to absorb a bit of it, which strangely must have stuck somehow, as many decades later I used it a little in France but that was mainly on route to Spain.
If it was the pupils first choice,I would have expected them to choose Spanish,even more so than years ago, when there were few Spanish holidays etc.
Is it the same now and French HAS GOT TO BE the first option in lots of schools?

I didnt have the choice when I was at school, it was french and compulsory until options at 14 and then there was the option of German, but by 14 the last thing you wanted was to start a new language! But why French?? I have no idea?? I guess cos it was just a short trip over the channel so fairly accessable for school trips????????

Jo xxx
 

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An interesting article on learning languages on Yahoo news today. Apparently French is still the most preferred 2nd language studied in the UK ... why is this ? is it due to the close proximity of France to the UK (geographically speaking) ? is it old hat to think French should be the 2nd language chosen ? or is there a good reason for doing so ?

Also the UK ranks pretty low on the scale of youngsters taking up a language when they move to their final years at school and are given a choice of whether to learn one or not........51.4% dont learn a second language at this point!

In addition Russian seems to be the second language to English in terms of its use now .... Spanish isnt mentioned whereas I thought the numbers of worldwide spanish speakers was way higher than many other languages ?
Its also interesting that the top two Countries for residents speaking more than 2 languages are Slovakia and Slovenia !!! Two Countries that are supposedly way behind many EU Countries in terms of educational systems and standards! Just goes to show you .....

Sue :ranger:


One in two UK pupils in their final years at secondary school are not learning a foreign language, according to EU data released Thursday.

French is the most common second language studied in Britain

The data, published by the Eurostat statistics agency ahead of the European Day of Languages on Saturday, put Britain far ahead of the EU average of 6.4 percent of upper secondary students who do not learn another language.

The figures were 51.4 percent in Britain, and 18.8 percent in Ireland.

All such students in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden are learning a second tongue, with English the most studied language.

French is the most common second language studied in Britain.

An average of 36.2 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 in the 27-nation EU claimed to speak no foreign language at all, led by Hungary with almost three in four people (74.8 percent), and one in two in Portugal (51.3 percent).

By contrast, an average of 28.1 percent said they can speak two or more foreign languages, led by Slovenia (71.8 percent), Slovakia and Finland. Apart from English, the best known foreign language overall is Russian.

In an effort to track down interpreters working in French and fill a hole expected over the next decade as current staff retire, the European Union launched Wednesday an Internet campaign on the Youtube video site.


The number of interpreters working in English, German, Italian, Dutch and Swedish is also expected to drop significantly due to retirement.

The EU has 23 official languages. More than 700 interpreters work on around 50 daily meetings at the European Commission and other institutions. That number is virtually double if the European parliament is taken into account.



Hi Sue,
I'm surprised too regarding Russian as a second language.

I don't think that impacts or takes away from the number of people in the world who's first language is Spanish though.

Xose
 

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Hi Sue (and congrats on your new granny-to-be status),

I am not really surprised that French is the most common second language, only because I think in a lot of schools they dont get the option to study Spanish until much later on, if at all. I know that was the case with my nephews who only had the option of French until 14 when they could take German but not Spanish until 16 or 17!, (though that's in Scotland which has a different education system). As foreign languages are no longer compulsory (bizarrely!) probably a lot of people think they wont bother as it will be too diffiicult, and even if they go on holiday to Spain they dont consider it necessary to speak the language (like a lot of expats here lol).

Schools previously considered Latin and Greek as the most important languages from an academic perspective, then French and German were introduced perhaps because at that time they seemed to have more commercial links to the UK than Spain.

Since the stats you mentioned are for the EU, I imagine there is more pressure from the authorities to focus on European languages for business purposes rather than look outside those boundaries from a global perspective (so they dont consider the number of Spanish speakers in the world). However, since Spain now more than ever has a lot of business connections to the UK (and not just tourism, which is huge enough) it would be make sense to treat Spanish as of equal importance. As for Russian, I suppose a lot of Scandinavian and Eastern European countries feel its more important to them because of its proximity.

When I was at school, from first year in secondary school you could learn French, from second year if you were in one of the top two classes you could learn Latin or German. I think French was compulsory and at 14 you could also study German. I am amazed at how little the UK seems to have progressed when it comes to teaching foreign languages, in fact they seem to be going backwards compared to the rest of Europe, not just in terms of which languages, but at the age they start learning - age 11 or 12 compared to age 3 here!

Its no wonder few ex-pat Brits want to speak Spanish when the authorities make it so difficult to learn languages at school. IMO they should introduce languages in primary school and they should have more choice of languages, especially in secondary school. If they learned earlier they would probably be more confident about learning and also less reluctant later on.

Caz.I
 

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when I was at school there was no choice - French was mandatory from the age of 7

I couldn't understand why then, & can't understand now, why you would bother to learn it - though I did & a lot came back to me when I was last in France, and when I was teaching english to a French lady

as someone else said - it's not as if it's of much use in many places outside France!


I also did Latin for a short while - a year I think - and I believe that having learned a Latin-based language as a kid helped me learn spanish - & I learned more about grammar in the French & Latin lessons than I did in English!


my girls have had the chance to learn French in primary school here - but we decided to keep them in English - & now the elder one is learning German - I'm not sure how much use that will be in later life, either - she'd rather learn Chinese!

and let's face it - it would probably be more useful
 

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In my old school, French and Latin were compulsory. Then, another language was chosen at GCSE - Spanish, German or Russian. I think now they are also teaching Chinese. But as has already been pointed out, they start it far too late in the UK.

Like your eldest daughter with her extra language options, XC, my twins have just started secondary and another language at the moment has been made compulsory - French. That's now Castellano, Gallego, English & French. But that's only for this year, I think, as French in Year 2 becomes optional. So far, they're really enjoying it though!
 

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In Scotland it is compulsory to continue a second language to the end of secondary education.

Whcih language will depend on the primary school. eldest lad did german youngest girl did french.

the levels vary. The teacher told us at a parents evening that most kids were not intrested and all she taught was enough for them to pass exams parrot fashion.

Most brits still use the traditional methoode of comunication abroad, Shout loadly but slowley whilst pointing.
 

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In my old school, French and Latin were compulsory. Then, another language was chosen at GCSE - Spanish, German or Russian. I think now they are also teaching Chinese. But as has already been pointed out, they start it far too late in the UK.

Like your eldest daughter with her extra language options, XC, my twins have just started secondary and another language at the moment has been made compulsory - French. That's now Castellano, Gallego, English & French. But that's only for this year, I think, as French in Year 2 becomes optional. So far, they're really enjoying it though!
English is compulsory at my dd's school for everyone except the english kids! She thought she was going to have to do it this year though - but she's delighted that she doesn't

A-N-other language is compulsory too - they have a choice of German or French - we do hear rumours that they will be getting a chance to do chinese (mandarin?) perhaps from next year, so I knwo she'd drop german for that


if you go the 'letters' route you can do Greek at Bachi & Latin from yr 3

I find it really scary how they pick up the languages so easily :eek:
 

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I know Spanish is spoken in approx 28 countries but apart from France ..Quebec and a few parts of Africa, where else is French spoken.?
Doesn't exactly answer your question but gives an idea of number of speakers of each language. As you can see French isn't among the top nine ...

The nine languages with the estimated largest numbers of native speakers in the world, according to SIL Ethnologue, 2005.


Of course, if we're just thinking about force of numbers we should all be learning Manderin and Hindu. I think I'd rather stick to French and Spanish!!
 

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Most brits still use the traditional methoode of comunication abroad, Shout loadly but slowley whilst pointing.

Whilst exclaiming "I can't believe they don't speak English here!!" wherever here may be - Peru, Botswana, Greenland, Caceres...
 
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