The difficulty for English speakers of learning other languages, particularly Arabic
Thread poster: GaryG

GaryG  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:02
English
+ ...
Aug 7, 2005

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/05/AR2005080501296.html

describes the difficulties for native English speakers of learning
another language, especially Arabic.

Languages close to English (typically West European languages)
are placed into category 1 (easiest) by the US State Department.

Languages significantly different from English (e.g. Russian, Greek,
Hebrew, Thai, Vietnamese, etc.) are category 2

"Exceptionally difficult" languages (e.g. Arabic, Japanese, Korean,
and Chinese) are in category 3.


 

Will Matter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:02
English
+ ...
Nice article. Aug 7, 2005

describes the difficulties for native English speakers of learning
another language, especially Arabic.

Languages close to English (typically West European languages)
are placed into category 1 (easiest) by the US State Department.

Languages significantly different from English (e.g. Russian, Greek,
Hebrew, Thai, Vietnamese, etc.) are category 2

"Exceptionally difficult" languages (e.g. Arabic, Japanese, Korean,and Chinese) are in category 3. According to this list, i'm three fourths of the way there, my Arabic is terrible. :0)


 

sarahl (X)
Local time: 05:02
English to French
+ ...
category 4 Aug 7, 2005

has only one language: English (for non-natives).

I'm proud of myself!icon_lol.gif


 

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:02
German to English
Wave of interest in foreign languages Aug 8, 2005

Thanks for letting us know about this article, Gary. I found it an exceptionally well-written description of the teaching and learning process, covering some of the major issues in a few short pages. One thing that especially captured my attention was the author's point about the growing interest in foreign languages in the US:

"The wave of interest in learning Arabic is part of a larger phenomenon in adult education. Americans are signing up for all kinds of foreign language classes, trying to master Chinese, become fluent in Spanish or figure out Farsi. According to a 2002 survey by the Modern Language Association, foreign language study in colleges and universities had jumped by 17 percent over 1998. While the MLA doesn't have any hard data on older language learners, Executive Director Rosemary Feal says that anecdotal evidence indicates that there's been a similar increase in adult study."

I hope this isn't a passing fad and that it spreads to our high schools where foreign languages have been sadly neglected.

Kim


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:02
German to English
+ ...
I think there is more interest Aug 9, 2005

In our town we now have what is called a Two-Way Immersion program in Spanish/English. My daughter will start the program in kindergarten and go through 5th grade. Of the 20 students in each class, the school strives for 10 English-dominant and 10 Spanish-dominant students. Kindergarten is mostly taught in Spanish, although kids are taught to read and write in their native language. By 5th grade, half of the classes are taught in English, half in Spanish.

While still pretty unusual for the US, this program has grown in just the last couple of years from an idea by an interested parent group to a TWI track in each of four of our elementary schools. I believe there is another suburb that does this as well. Hopefully it will grow further! (I wish they had this for Chinese!)


 


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