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Spanish or French!? Can't decide.

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I keep going back and forth on French and Spanish. We live in Canada, which has 2 official languages- English and French. Not everyone speaks both though. French is mandatory in elementary school as well as grade 9, although we plan to hs through high school. I must say it makes me proud to hear our Prime Minister switch back and forth. I am not fluent in French. All those years of mandatory French and not a single student that I knew graduated being able to speak it even somewhat comfortably- obviously something is missing in the method. The kids I knew who could speak French either attended French immersion school or else it was spoken and taught at home as well.


I took Spanish in high school from grade 10-12 and in just those 3 years I caught on pretty fast and could carry a slow conversation, though certainly not close to fluent. I loved the language. The teaching method was simple- homework! Hours of it! I had my nose in my Spanish book at least 2 hours a night, Senora was brutal! However, it's been a few years since high school and sadly I've hardly practiced either language since. I think I could pick up my Spanish knowledge faster than trying to recover my French, as it is a few years fresher in my mind. Spanish is the more widely spoken language in the world, while French would be more widely spoken in our country, but I think having either of them would serve them well in the job market down the road. Of course they could add the alternate studies in high school if they wish, or we may switch.


I am researching curriculum and even looking at Rosetta Stone, so I don't want to make a mistake. I wish we could do both now, but I think it would just confuse them, not to mention there are just not enough hours in the day! We've done no formal 2nd language learning yet, other than teaching them basic colors, counting and "Hello my name is..." in each language. They are nearly 8 and 10 and will learn together, and I'll be tagging along as well. I'd love a little guidance or your opinions, experience! Thanks! :D

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I don't have any wisdom to offer as far as which language to choose, but they are very similar in a lot of ways. I took French in school and was functional at least. I've never taken a Spanish lesson, but when we lived in TX in the Hispanic neighborhood I was easily able to pick up enough to get by. So - starting with one doesn't necessarily mean the other is off the table. KWIM?

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Do you live in Quebec or another area with a large percentage of French speakers?


In your situation, I think I'd start with French, because it seems like you would be able to find opportunities outside the home to practice- and really that is the best way to become proficient at a language.


And once you have a couple years of French down, add Spanish. It's easier to learn a third language than it is to learn a second language, and the relatedness of French and Spanish will help.

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