I love languages! I thought i would talk about my language history!

English

I am English and speak British English (as opposed to American English), so i have the advantage of knowing English pretty well as a native speaker!

Studying “English Language” at school was infinitely boring because it was pretty much just grammar and styles of writing *yawn*. It was one of those things tacked onto English Literature at GCSE. I’ve always liked English best though, it’s far better than Maths or Science!

I studied English Literature jointly with English Language at university, and having never studied English language properly before university, i really enjoyed learning about the history of English and how it has developed over time into one of the main languages of the world. I also got to learn about other languages as well, their histories and how they affected English and vice versa.

School languages

At my secondary school (a language-specialist college), in Year 7 we got assigned either French or Spanish as our compulsory foreign language which we studied until the end of Year 9 – i was given French – and then we got to learn three different languages through Year 7, one per term. The choices were Spanish/French (depending which you got assigned as your compulsory first language), German, and Russian.

French

I started learning French at secondary school when i was 12 years old as my first foreign language and i kept it up all the way to A Level standard. By the end of Year 8, i got the highest exam grade in my French class: somewhere just over 80/100! I loved learning French, although it got really stressful at A Level as i was slipping behind and my confidence took a bit of nose-dive as i started getting worse grades as i struggled to keep up. I was lucky to pass French A Level with a D, which goes to show that A Levels weren’t easy for me, even though people say they’re getting easier to pass! Load of rubbish!

French is my best foreign language: although i am not fluent in it, i can read French pretty well and it’s the first language after English which i can speak fairly well. I can read a French newspaper and understand what it is about, and i find that very useful for finding out news in Europe!

German

I started learning German at secondary school when i was 12, and chose to carry on studying German after Year 7 as my second foreign language. I took it all the way to A Level, although i was forced to choose to drop a subject during my second year of sixth form in order to maintain my pass grades and lower my workload, and because i was doing worse in German than French and i wanted to keep my other subjects, i ended up dropping German. I had to re-sit my German exams because i did so badly but i managed to scrape an E in German AS Level. Not my finest hour, i can tell you!

A Level languages weren’t a lot of fun, but at least i achieved some sort of fluency and knowledge of them!

Russian

As my school offered Russian, which was a whole new concept to me, i was fascinated by the term i spent learning it. It has a whole different alphabet and different sounds, such as rolling “r”s which i just can’t physically do!

I know a couple of words, mainly “hello” and “goodbye”, but that’s about it!

Spanish

I had originally wanted to study Spanish alongside French, but as the Spanish classes were full because everyone else wanted to do Spanish as well, i decided to do German instead. I studied Spanish for a term and thought it was fairly easy at a basic level, although now i think it would have confused me as it is a Romance language and very similar to French.

My Spanish skills are mainly based in giving basic directions to places, and food vocabulary! Most Spanish words i know have been picked up through sources outside school!

Next time….

In Part 2 of this post, i will talk about my later experiences with languages!

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