Should we be teaching foreign language in the US?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Dennis in MA, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA Get off my lawn

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    Why?

    I'll argue this: Most kids go through at least a year, if not 2 in HS and often 2 more semesters in college. Within a couple of years, they can barely order off of a Mexican restaurant menu. (Most take Spanish.)

    I was listening to something on this recently. I'm curious what people here think.
     
  2. Glocksanity

    Glocksanity

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    Yes.

    It helps the mind to think. Push ups for the brain. Learn new words. New ways to think. Exposure to different cultures.

    How can that be bad?

    Should one be forced to do it? No. But the option should be there for those that want to learn.
     

  3. PBCounty

    PBCounty

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    Are you questioning the effectiveness of it? We did two years in middle school (choice of Spanish or Japanese), two years in high school (Spanish, French or Japanese). No one I knew ever learned the languages beyond a couple words and the numbers.
     
  4. Phaze5ive

    Phaze5ive

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    Yes. Knowledge is always a good thing. The more you can learn, the better. Why not?
     
  5. whoflungdo

    whoflungdo

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    Yes, English should be taught to everyone living here or wanting to live here.
     
  6. WarEagle32

    WarEagle32

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    I took 2 classes of Spanish in HS and 2 more in college. I can only carry on the most basic conversation with someone that speaks Spanish. I was better at it 12 years ago when I finished college. Now, there is a ton of rust there, and a lot of it has just left me without use over time. I do think that it is beneficial to take Spanish especially for us in the U.S.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  7. Khufu

    Khufu Pharaoh

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    It is very helpful.

    And I can even order dinner.

    Something that is as weird of an experience as you can imagine: dreaming in a foreign language especially when it first happens.
     
  8. nmk

    nmk

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    If it is not currently being taught somewhere, what class should it replace?
     
  9. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA Get off my lawn

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    Would it be better to allocate that time - let's say 2 years in HS or . . . 1/7th of the school day for your HS career, into other areas? Finance? Deeper sciences? History?

    I'd love to learn a language. I can't retain it. 3 years of Spanish in HS was a waste. Italian in college (one semester) was fun and I retained some of it. More than I did of Spanish. I've tried Pimsler and Rosetta Stone to no avail.

    Studies show that those who learn a language during their school years, like mastery, learn it AT HOME. Next to none of them learn it in school.

    I'm wondering if it's a smart use of resources and if we are fooling ourselves into thinking it's important when it isn't.
     
  10. Khufu

    Khufu Pharaoh

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    No.


    I learned German in school. No-one in my household spoke it. My German is just fine. I carry on very technical conversations in German. And I can order beer. And more beer. And schnapps.[/QUOTE]
     
  11. method

    method

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    The reason why so few retain anything they learned of a foreign language is because they start learning it too late.
     
  12. Dr. Bill

    Dr. Bill

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    I took 4 or 5 years of Spanish in elementary and jr. high (what they call 'middle school' today) and didn't hardly learn anything. The curriculum was 'La Familia Fernandez' videos.

    Then I took one year of German in High School, with a young excited teacher, and learned a bunch. How they teach it matters a lot. Verstehen?

    Spanish would be a handy language to know. German not so much. Although as kids, we knew how to tell the other kids to 'come out with your hands up' in German. We learned it from "Combat" and "The Gallant Men."
     
  13. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA Get off my lawn

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    You are the exception on multiple accounts.

    1. You took a language other than Spanish. EVERYONE takes Spanish. Taking an "odd" language is of better benefit.

    2. You have the capacity to retain languages. That's actually pretty rare. Again, how many 2-4 yr Spanish students do we have here that know a Gusta from a Gustov? I'd say very few. . . without using Google translate. LOL

    3. You found work that utilized your language skill. That's key. Most folks will never use it. Ever. It's a dream to be some sort of international superhero or deal-negotiator (or be Bill Shatner and be both!) The odds are that we will stay in the US (especially if we learn Spanish) and get a job that does not require any foreign language skills.
     
  14. DaleGribble

    DaleGribble Liberals 'R Bad!!!!

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    I'm torn. On one hand I can see the benefit, on the other hand, we seriously need to be pushing math, science and phys ed classes above all else right now and we need to be pushing them hard. When the boomers are gone we're going to need lots of engineers and scientists to replace the dead ones and getting them started early is what we need to be doing.

    The 11 year old that was the subject of the infamous computer thread is learning Chinese in elementary school. Every day she comes home and tells me the Chinese she learned that day but she only has P.E. once a week. And we wonder why we have an obesity epidemic. :upeyes:

    I took French and for a while I could speak enough French to get some French nookie. Now all I can do is count to ten in French.
     
  15. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Back in high school I had to take 2 years of a foreign language. Up in "The County" almost everyone went with French as you needed it if you ventured north of Presque Isle. But I went with Spanish...for me a lot easier.

    Anyway, I passed by the skin of my teeth and then mostly forgot about it........UNTIL about 30 years later when I found myself in Italy, doing work on the start-up of several power plants. Yeah...Italian isn't Spanish, but it was close enough that I could survive and I mixed it in when I didn't know the Italian. Most of the time the locals would get a headache listening to me. "You speak half Spanish and half Italian and all very badly":supergrin:

    The few years later, I find myself in Buenos Aires....and after a couple years there, my Spanish improved a bit.
    The I did 9 years on and off in Spain...and yes, it came in pretty handy.

    I'm not fluent and never will be, but I can get around and make the locals laugh at my ineptness.

    I think learning a different language is a lot like learning music. Some people love it and pick it up effortlessly, while people like me never really get the hang of it.

    Yes, I do think that foreign languages should be taught in school. You never know where you could end up in the world when you are a 14 year old.

    Heck, you need to know some Spanish just to find what you're looking for at the Lowes in Brewer Maine now!!:upeyes:
     
  16. cgwahl

    cgwahl Sheriffs a near

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    I think a bigger issue is you don't use it daily.

    While I can occasionally read a billboard in Spanish, I rarely have a need to talk to someone in Spanish. I will either find someone that can translate for me or the other person does the same if they don't know a little English.

    Plus, at least for me, we didn't even really begin conversational Spanish until the last semester of Spanish 2...I suppose they did more of it in Spanish 3. But by that point, I was done with it and just wanted the credit since I needed a language to get into college.


    On another note, I can't curl my r's. I keep trying to do it in my throat instead of my tongue. While trying various words with two r's, I have been told I sound like a retarded Mexican. Because of that, I've pretty much given up learning Spanish. I have toyed with the idea of another language, but I barely have time to do activities I care about. Besides, I have enough trouble speaking English as it is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  17. Deployment Solu

    Deployment Solu Kydex Crafter

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    This!!!! +1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
     
  18. SC Tiger

    SC Tiger As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

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    This is correct I believe. But I think where I went to school it was mainly for college-bound kids.

    I never had to take a foreign language in college, but I was in engineering.
     
  19. Eric

    Eric Big Giant Head CLM

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    I'm cool with the US striving to stay important and powerful enough that every other country is obliged to learn our language. :supergrin:
     
  20. ronin.45

    ronin.45

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    Teaching a foreign language- Yes

    Teaching in a foreign language- No