• Language: Have Your Say

    By Hannah Flynn -

  • 57

In Alice in Wonderland, there are lots of crazy conversations, like the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and lots of poems that are full of words that are very strange to Alice. She hasn’t grown up in Wonderland, so she doesn’t understand its language!

Learning different languages is hard because each language is composed of different kinds of sounds. For example, English-speaking people can tell the different sounds in English apart very easily, but they find it much harder to differentiate between Mandarin Chinese sounds.

Babies can tell the difference between different types of language sounds very easily, because they are born ready to learn whatever language is being spoken around them.

A baby’s brain strengthens the connections is its brain that are relevant to its own language, and the other connections are lost. The connections that are left get stronger and faster.

Children in British schools usually only start learning other languages in secondary school – when their in-built ability to learn other languages really easily has already gone!

So, do you think that you should be able to learn languages in primary school, like Alice did?

 

Discussion Area

  1. we did start learning french at 7/8

    music melon - November 13, 2011

  2. We are lucky – we started learning French at the age of 4 at our school! It has been quite easy for us.

    bealings - November 17, 2011

  3. I think children should learn languages in primary school. I am learning Spanish, and I’m learning it quickly.

    Eve - November 20, 2011

  4. The only problem is evry school in britain has to have a french/spanish/german teacher of the best qualities like our school has a french teacher but he doesnt do anything he just stands there critisizing all the children because their foreign

    David - December 2, 2011

  5. David what do you mean – criticising the children because they’re foreign? What language would you like to be learning at school?

    Sharna Jackson - December 3, 2011

  6. AMAIZING!!!!!!! i never knew that. Im gonna keep that in my merory like they told me.lol.lol

    miss westie lover - December 21, 2011

  7. oh oh oh oh i forgot 2 say 1 thing. . . . . . . . . i admire them now!!! woo ho man!!!

    miss westie lover - December 21, 2011

  8. I think we should have the right to choose the languages we need to learn rather than having the teachers having to choose which languages they want us to learn- For instance:
    Your moving to France next month- You need to learn French as soon as possible so you can socialize with French people who don’t understand English.
    or
    Your family member speaks a foreign language and dosn’t understand you. You want to comunicate with them.

    I think that the government chooses what subjects we learn which limits our time. I won’t learn french until Secondary school- it’s not helpfull.

    Geoffrey Leonard George Collantes Adams - December 29, 2011

  9. Primary schools should really teach children foreign languages so later in secondary/high school you children can focus on other things! it saves time!!

    Anonymous - January 7, 2012

  10. I forgot to captilise the i in ‘it’.

    Anonymous - January 7, 2012

  11. I do hope for the Bitish schools to do so

    Mohamed - January 27, 2012

  12. my mums a french teacher so she taught me in recepcion

    matthew - January 28, 2012

  13. Of course you should learn as many foreign languages as you could handle at young age. It helps to bridge connections round the world between culture and people which the opportunities should not be missed just because of language deficiency. Pick up new language as early as you can to bring a world of new experience into your life.

    Jenny - January 29, 2012

  14. Obviously kids should learn languages at an earlier age! They should also be sent abroad as early as possible to continue their progression and develop skills and involve them in communities that speak a different languages.
    I went to a french school in London and learnt english as a second language, I also have arabic parents. I can tell you that I am extremely glad i got to learn these languages, even though i do use english the most they do help in a lot of situations especially in communication with different types of people with a different language to mine.

    Omar - January 30, 2012

  15. i think that at primary school you should be able to learn lots of diffrent languages includeing french

    madeline white - February 2, 2012

  16. yes, I think we should learn languages at primary school.

    Ivan - February 2, 2012

  17. They should also be sent abroad as early as possible to continue their progression and develop skills and involve them in communities that speak a different languages.

    Ivan - February 2, 2012

  18. I learned a very little bit of French in Primary School but I wish it been taught it more fully. I think it is a good idea to learn another language but which language to learn is another question entirely.

    Pete - February 3, 2012

  19. I went to a private junior school and they started teaching us french in nursery, I am now at a state senior school and have a much better understanding of french than my peers do. Foreign languages should definately be taught at nursery levels if not primary school level.

    Helena Davey - February 6, 2012

  20. I am studying spanish in secondary school and I wish that I had been taught spanish in primary school so I could focus more on my other subjects.

    Amber - February 10, 2012

  21. We only started learning french this year and im in yeaR 6 but i have been doing spanish since i was 4 !!! x

    Emma - February 11, 2012

  22. 오오오 재밌어요 ~

    오오 - February 14, 2012

  23. I started learning French when I was 7. We only had lessons once a week though, so I still don’t know how to say any sentences in French. The lessons were so repetitive, we just went over how to say silly things that we would never need to say like, this was our teacher’s favourite one, ‘There is a blue and pink elephant in my bedroom’. What use is that?

    Rachel - February 14, 2012

  24. I have now started learning German at secondary school – I am 11 now. I have only been learning for a school term and I know how to say 9,999,999 times more German words than I do French, or that’s how it feels.

    Rachel - February 14, 2012

  25. To Euro kids,it’s easy for them to learn french, germany, english or any other latin language… but it’s not easy to learn chinese, japnese and korea.. coz’ it’s totally different from english or french, germany…it’s a brand new language system.. so you have to forget everything you’ve learnt in your own language, it’s too weird and different!

    efun - February 16, 2012

  26. We learn French in year 7/8 but the teacher only speaks French we don’t learn anything only the pupils who have done French before know whats going on there no point!

    We also learn german. Our teacher is german and is really nice and everyone has got really good marks too and we actually feel like we’re learning something.

    I think that we should get to try or test languages for a year like the whole of year 7 and then in year 8 and on wards choose a language and work your butt off learning it. We should be able to learn a language or more that we actually want to learn for example I really WANT to learn Japenese so I can watch anime withouts subs or eng dubs. And I also wouldnt mind learning japenese culture. It wouldn’t hurt to just give French a break because I rather learn a language I WANT to learn than rip my hair out at 1 am doing some French homework I don’t know how to do!!!!!!!

    BLAH - February 26, 2012

  27. PS: I’ve been watching anime for a year without trying to learn Japenese but it’s practically natural even though I don’t know much or how to write it.

    It’s not weird to learn languages like Chinese, Japenese or Urdu etc.
    It’s stupid to learn a language you hate and are stressing about just so it will look good on your CV. You’re just wasting your life doing stuff like that it’s pathetic learn what you want to learn because you want to learn it. Shouldn’t it be your choice?

    BLAH - February 26, 2012

  28. In America, most children are not required to take a foreign language in school. Those who do choose to take a foreign language do not take classes until high school (age 14-18). I believe for most this is quite a waste of time. I wish kids in America would learn Spanish when they are very young. This is a very useful foreign language in America, because we have many, many Spanish-speaking families living here now.

    Greg - March 9, 2012

  29. I think that they should

    N - March 24, 2012

  30. ⌠ In this musing, there are three people :
    ▲ Defending Advocate, which supports the discussion
    ▼ Attacking Advocate, which attacks the discussion
    █ The Judge, he keeps things fair, and acts like a neutral party. ⌡

    ⌠ There are also some things that help with reading this,
    ( ) Parentheses, shows that they are directly talking to you.
    Advocate : A person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. In this case, they speak for the defense of their cause. Though they are siding two opposites, they work together to see fit the best answer for both.⌡

    ▲ Yes, it is better to learn a language at a younger age, according to these people.

    ▼ However, it costs money to teach languages in schools, especially if more than one. It must also be at a young age, or the defensive reason is negated.

    ▲ I don’t know how hard it would be to teach a language to toddlers, but it definitely gets harder when they get older. It would be worth the cost at earlier grades.

    ▼ Perhaps … but why then do we not have language classes so early on?

    ▲ I’m not sure; it’s paradoxical, saying it is hard to learn, but you don’t teach it when it’s easy. I believe more people need to be educated on this, if the above is true.

    ▼ Wait a minute, does it stick?

    ▲ What do you mean?

    ▼ Sure, you can have it when your a child, and that you’ll learn it easily, but you would need to be exposed to the same thing over and over in order to improve in vocabulary and fluency. It would be like planting a flower seed in a garden, and only giving it one day to grow.

    ▼ Babies don’t learn languages instantly, it is within leaps and bounds, I’d admit, but children are not usually schooled until that amazing ability fades. The video did say there is the second layer of that skill that exists, but then it fades too, when the child is near age ten.

    ▲ All the more important that you start early in teaching.

    ▼ Yes, but you would need to be continually schooled on that language or languages, which I can doubt every school in a state can afford. Budgets can only go so far.

    ⌠ A Slight Review What Was Discussed…⌡

    ( ▲▼ ) Hmm, we can both agree that the ability to learn languages at a young age must not be wasted, and that it would be extremely benefiting for the children’s future, but the cost and continuous application of the language lessons would be straining for school budgets.

    ( █ ) Evidence provided from the attacking advocate is not from this site, or else the defending advocate would win unanimously. In fact, the evidence provided on this site is only one-sided, and being much like a propaganda technique.

    ( ▼ ) Currently, the USA is suffering a recession in it’s economy, meaning that money that is made was worth lower, or that goods were not made enough or that the goods did not sell enough to maintain GDP. Simply, money lost some value.

    ( ▼ ) Think of a tree. A Government’s Budget has a trunk, stems, branches, twigs, leaves, and flowers. Flowers would be a resulting efforts of the tree’s hard work. However, the tree cannot have all of it’s twigs or branches, because it would not have enough nutrients to survive. In order to survive, these branches are cut off, while the ones that are most important are sustained.

    ( ▼ ) So, to get to the point, the trunk is the budget, the stem is the learning arts, or education, branches are the school systems, twigs are the specific schools, and the leaves are the languages. You can see how easily languages can be cut from the Government Budget, though it provides education.

    ( █ ) Please do not weigh the attacking advocate’s description to be too negative, he is only explaining how languages could be cut out, and are often not included in education budgets. Though you may have education in languages when near high school, it is almost never included at primary grades.

    ⌠ Continuing Discussion, Using the Above as Evidence…⌡

    ▲ Wait, so couldn’t you just switch places, from high school teaching, to primary teaching?

    ▼ That’s not a bad thought, but I think they apply languages from 6th grade to the end of high school. It would be bad to be taught a language from Kindergarten to 6th grade, as you would not be taught the rest, you may even actually forget about it, which, even with the amazing ability to learn a language instantly; it has to be kept up.

    ▲ The videos did mention that when the connections are lost in some areas, they strengthen in the other. I’m sure that if you were taught something for 6 years straight, you would definitely be able to remember it, and maybe even able to speak the language fluently. That would negate the fact you would have to keep doing something, even for so long. The videos even said the children could speak a language perfectly (fluently), even at 10!

    ▼ Yes, but then why do we not do it then? I believe were both at loss at the power of remembering; maybe, we do not know how well you can remember something for six years that you were taught, to be remembered for another six years, and beyond. Yeah, I guess the order is important, says the videos…

    ▼ Ok, I will admit it would be in better order to be taught it at a younger age, as it would be no different to be taught at high school, because you will still have to remember the languages for the rest of your life, unless you forget them, but languages are also taught in college. Wouldn’t there be a gap in secondary and high school?

    ▲ I haven’t thought of that. That negated applying the language teaching at a young age, and the only way to allow the above is to have language the whole language curriculum applied throughout the child’s school education. That would be bad for the USA’s Budget.

    ▼ Also, back then, when Alice had school, it was perhaps less dangerous for Budgets, and children’s educations could be afforded. Also, this was in the United Kingdom, not USA. There’s a difference in their economies and budgets. Hmm…

    ⌠Conclusion⌡

    ▲ : Should be at an early age, as that is when language learning is the easiest.
    ▼ : Cannot be applied, unsure of remembering power and gap in education.

    Appliance To Where The Language Should Be : ▲ ≥ ▼

    Whether or Not You Should Have Primary Being Taught : ▲ < ▼

    Conclusion : ▲ < ▼

    NOTE :

    █ : There is a flaw in the USA's education system, which should be fixed. It is not efficient to teaching children languages at a young age. It is only possible when the languages are able to be taught in a continuous flow, which comes to a price of not being able to learn languages easily. Maybe if it was fixed, it would be possible for everyone to learn languages. For now, only private tutoring is possible to teach kids languages at an early age.

    ⌠I Am Glad to Express My Views On the Subject at Hand⌡
    ⌠Paul⌡

    A Musing Of It's Own - Ups and Downs - Paul B. Jr. - April 2, 2012

  31. I think that British people should teach children other languges when the children are smaller than 11!

    Alessia - May 1, 2012

  32. I do think that schools should be more open to learning a new language at an early age. Some countries actually do, take some schools in Japan or somewhere in China. They know English and other languages.

    Then again, at young ages children are still learning to master their primary language, which in this case, is English. Their studies may be a bit out of hand and some things may get jumbled up, or I would definitely see schools doing this as soon as possible.

    I’m in America, and I don’t have much say, but I do think that this would be a good discussed topic in society since it would be a fun thing to value learning another language and people can definitely be more social and open.

    Melody - May 3, 2012

  33. I think british schools should teach other languges under that age.

    lachlan mcmurtrie - May 28, 2012

  34. Very intresting and weird my wee brother cant learn frence and he is 3

    shanique aged 10 from scotland - June 7, 2012

  35. AND I THINK ITS HARD TO LEARN FRENCE

    shanique aged 10 from scotland on - June 7, 2012

  36. As you can get the privilege of learning a language and the school has the team to do it, there is not a reason not to do it. At the end understanding others easily makes everything nicer and GEMAKELIJK (Nederlands).

    Sofía - June 7, 2012

  37. I think it is good to learn languages when you are younger, I tried to learn Chinese when I was six and I think it was much easier then, than it is now.

    QueenM - June 21, 2012

  38. yes as children should learn other languages as its easier in primary school than secondary school as you have more chance of actually learning the language as you are younger. and if at primary school you have people who speak one fluently language and English that school should have the chance to speak that language

    Ella - June 24, 2012

  39. Well, I think that, since it’s easier for a younger child to learn other languages, I think we should start learning languages in Primary schools. I’m 10, and in my school, we started learning French when we were 7-8 years old – so now after learning for 3 years, I can go to France and speak, which is great! Although, I’ve got an onlder brother in Secondary School, and they’re learning languages like German, Spanish etc. there, but I think it’s a bit more difficult for them because they aren’t as young as we were when we first started learning French!

    Love from, Pinkii xx ;)

    Pinkii - June 29, 2012

  40. I think children should learn different languages at school, and also different alphabets. This makes it easier when you get older.

    My say 101 - July 26, 2012

  41. I wish they would. They spend too much time competing with sat scores instead of focusing on really fundamental skills like learning new languages at an appropriate age.

    Hero - August 30, 2012

  42. I started learning french at 8 almost 9 but I was much better than I was now.

    Lilly - August 31, 2012

  43. Definitely! Schools should teach languages at primary school. It means that when we get to secondary, we’d have more options to choose other than a language. Plus, it’d be easier than learning it in secondary.

    Cal - September 9, 2012

  44. Of course learning new languages, as well as, subjects which need much memory base must be taught starting at an early age, from 2 years. There are many wonder babies in my country (Armenia), who remember and show thousands of geographical names of places at an age of 2 years up to 5, and some difficult math sums. The latter ability is remained up to adult age, but memories for languages and names are lost starting from 11. That’s my personal observation. And we yet don’t know whether it is good or bad to overload babies’ memory. The thing I know is learning through games is most efficient.

    Lilit - September 12, 2012

  45. i love doing spanish i do in school like saying iHola! and me llamo emm saying my name is …… any name so i think you should tech so you can learn a langue i love doing mine (not homework) ha lol. I think year 3 should do it to get used to it well thats all i can say. adios ( goodbye) over and out

    emm - September 12, 2012

  46. sorry about spelling mistakes aslep zzz
    over and out

    emm - September 12, 2012

  47. I am 10 i have done some french when i was 7 8 and i have done german when i was 9 now i am doing spanish i am only 10.

    Hannah savage - September 17, 2012

  48. at our school we started doing french at 7 and 8 but then stoped and carried on aged 9 10 and 11

    emma - September 28, 2012

  49. It was easier for me cos’ I started to learn English and other languages at 5

    Dulat - October 1, 2012

  50. I think children should start learning foreign languages at a younger age everywhere, not just Britain. I go to school in the U.S., and I didn’t start learning Spanish until I was 12! I’m actually surprised that since people know this, why don’t they apply it?

    Meagan - October 25, 2012

  51. i think you should start learning basic launguage things like hello goodbye and how are you at four years old so your brain gets the ability to learn other languages at a young age so when they are an adult learning launguages comes more easier to them than if they had not practise at it at all. well thats my opinion hope you all agree with me

    emily nelson - October 26, 2012

  52. all the things you are saying is very intresting

    bradley - November 20, 2012

  53. of course I agree

    noora - December 16, 2012

  54. yes they should because you never know when you’ll need it

    shenise - January 5, 2013

  55. IN OUR SCOOL WE ALSO study french with 5 years

    CLAUDIA - January 6, 2013

  56. Yes it makes it easyer age 4-10

    Amelie - February 10, 2013

  57. yes

    benn - March 9, 2013