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Which Foreign Language if any ???


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I agree that useful is relative. Spanish is spoken by millions around the world. Mandarin is spoken by hundreds of millions in one country. German and Japanese are good to have if working in foreign business, though many countries teach English far better than we teach foreign language so it may be moot on that front. Do they interest in any language? Do you want to be able to travel in a certain area of the world? What resources are available? My older wants to learn Finnish but we haven't found a way to do it (she's now taking Spanish).

 

One useful reason to learn a modern spoken language is college admissions.

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It really depends on a lot.

 

When I was in customer service and working with little ones, I found ASL helpful.

Dh and I both have a background in Romance languages that help us get around when we travel, break down unfamiliar terms, etc. 

We each have a background in other languages that have not been *as* helpful, but still are nice to know.

 

So, where do you live?  What quality instruction do you have?  What are you familiar with?  These all matter when deciding for the kids.  FWIW, both of mine chose to learn Spanish - dh and I barely speak any. :lol: We can help with grammar and structure but they need someone, or something, else to teach pronunciation, idioms, and so forth.

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You need to look at your dc's interests and at the language opportunities in your area. For living in the US, Spanish would be useful. If going into vocal music, Italian, German, and/or French could all be useful. Automotive engineering, possibly German. International business, Spanish, Mandarin, German, or the language of the area that interests your dc most. Education, ASL and Spanish. You get the idea.

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I would ask if there's ANY language that you or a family member has any experience with. Because it's so much easier to learn a language when you can do it together - speak together, watch a foreign movie together, etc. I think any language is useful in the sense that it grows your brain in new and incredible ways (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_multilingualism), so I tend to be a fan of choosing whatever language you will most likely be able to actually stick with and stay motivated with.

 

Beyond that:
*Knowing Chinese, Japanese, or Russian would help with a lot of STEM fields, because modern technical papers are still written in those languages.

* Knowing German, Italian, French, etc. would help with reading historic technical papers in STEM field, because most of them were written in these languages.

* I love ASL, but feel like it's much harder to find resources that are kid-friendly once you get beyond the basic vocabulary videos that are geared towards kids. A spoken language, on the other hand, can be learned through movies, audiobooks, news, music, etc.

* Sometimes, any cultural or heritage or outside sort of connection can be very motivating for learning a language. If someone is super interested in Greek Mythology and Homer's stuff, for instance, he might study Greek and love it. If someone is super into Biblical stuff, they might choose Hebrew and Greek.

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Whatever you choose, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do ASL alongside. We actually find ASL helps us learn Spanish as we add ASL words to Spanish words we learn... just engages the brain at a deeper level. :) And ASL is a delight to learn using Signing Time videos (often available at the library), as well as ASL apps. It's been a lot of fun. :)

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"If any"?   Is your student considering applying to a university in the future?

 

Disregarding that I live in South America, I believe that Spanish is the 2nd (?) most widely spoken language in the world. And, if you are in the USA, the ability to speak Spanish will open many doors, for employment, in many fields.  In Miami, not being able to speak Spanish would *severely* limit the job opportunities available to someone, in most fields.  That can also apply in TX, NM, AZ and CA.  Probably in other places too...

 

In the Arts, it might be different, but what if interests and career goals change, in the future?

 

Born and raised in CA, it never occurred to me, when I was young, that I would end up in South America. Had I known that, I would have tried to become as fluent as possible in Spanish, when I was young, when it is much easier to learn a foreign language.  

 

An example of career goals changing: I worked with 2 people that had Music degrees, who were working with me, as Software Engineers. They'd gone back to school and gotten an M.S. in Math.  Things can change.  There's a connection between Music and Math that helped them...

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Ask your dc what they would like to learn.  I tried to have my DD learn Spanish due to the popularity of it and the fact that I could help her quite a bit.  It started out okay but ended up a huge failure because DD really had no interest in learning it.  In fact, she told me she really didn't like learning other languages.

 

Last summer I came to the conclusion that she needed to have a vested interest in whatever language we chose.  So, I asked her which language she really wanted to learn or should we go with ASL (the default option).

 

Based upon her love of Anime and desire to someday visit Japan, DD immediately said she would love to learn Japanese.  Oh great, that leaves me out, and where am I going to find a class like that where we live?!  Online classes are too expensive for us so that wouldn't be an option.

 

However, despite my concerns, that's what she's doing this year.  I bought her a language book to work with, several cultural books to read, the GCP Japan course to watch, and I actually found a native Japanese speaker through my time on Grand Jury Duty who volunteered to be DD's language coach. Hallelujah!!!! We've set aside one class per week to work with her language coach to review her book chapters, learn phrases, and just chat in Japanese. Plus, some of her assignments include watching Anime she loves in Japanese without English subtitles.

 

Let's just say DD is learning quickly and loving her homemade Japanese class.  I just hope she keeps up the momentum.

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Thanks to many who have explained the benefits of foreign language.

 

We are in the U.S.A., and we never travel abroad. Right now, we are immersed in music, so I thought about Italian.

 

I'm still considering the options.

Italian in musical notation is only a sliver of the language. It is easily learned in the context of the music (eg D.C. (del capo) means to go back "from the head"). And much of the language in music is not used outside of music (e.g. Solfegietto is not a term in Italian conversation). So I wouldn't learn Italian with the idea that it would be a practical advantage in music (unless you are a vocalist, and then you want to make sure you get help from someone with excellent pronunciation). But for the interest and the love? Yes. Definitely a beautiful language and culture (I lived in southern Italy as a child, studied Italian in college).

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Whatever they are interested in.  Interest counts for a lot!

 

I started French and Latin with DD in third to fourth grade.  She wasn't very interested in French, so we dropped it, but we did Latin for several more years.  At some point, she started using DuoLingo to teach herself Spanish, and that stuck.  Now she does Spanish online.

 

I started DS1 with Latin in about fourth grade.  He still does Latin.  Then he tried Italian, his request, using Mango and DuoLingo, but eventually got bored.  This year he started Russian with DuoLingo and loves it.

 

I haven't started Latin with DS2, third grade yet.  But he wanted to learn French, so he started using DuoLingo for that.

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Also, I studied French in high school and Italian in college.  Of the two, I think Italian is easier.  French has lots of silent letters, whereas Italian is more straightforward. I think both are pretty in different ways, but I really love the sound of Italian.

 

Spanish may be useful depending on your location.  I studied a tiny bit of Spanish alongside DD for a bit (although because I didn't take the time on DuoLingo like she did, she quickly outpaced me), and it seems to be pretty straightforward also.

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I would highly recommend Latin. It is not "useful" in the utilitarian sense (not like Spanish or Mandarin), but as a starting point for learning all the Romance languages it can't be beat. I was a fluent Spanish speaker in a prior life, and now teaching Latin, I see the roots of Spanish everywhere.

 

In addition, Latin is the base of >50% of English words, is very useful to learn English grammar as an inflected language, and is simply the best way to help our children connect to the cultural heritage of the Christian West.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Beware people who tell you to learn Spanish because it's useful. That's not true for the vast majority of people in the SW United States. Sorry, it's just a bandwagon.  Yes, there are people who only speak Spanish here, but the odds you will encounter one are slim.  Immigrants send their kids to ps and the kids learn English there. I spent time with a lot of them.  If you're going into a certain field that's likely to encounter a Spanish only speakers, that's one thing.  It makes sense then and you'll likely need a more specialized Spanish vocabulary (medical and legal terms) after you learn the general vocabulary.  But if you think everyone out here could use Spanish, it's just not true.  I have twice needed Spanish and both circumstances were not covered in the general Spanish classes I took or the slang I learned from children of immigrants in school. My schools had 40%+ Hispanic populations and he kids mixed.

1. Driving past a goat farm and seeing goats running down the highway, I pulled over to tell the owner.  (I grew up next door to a goat farm and understood what a financial hit that could be to them.) I had not been prepared in school classes or hanging out with Hispanic kids to say, "There's a hole in your fence and your goats got out." I had to chatter like an idiot in English after saying in Spanish, "Look. Look." and have her follow me to down the length of the fence to the hole and point down the highway the direction the goats went in. She immediately understood and was very appreciative.

2.  The bilingual foreman for the work crew that put in our landscaping wasn't present the day the non-English speaking crew put in what were supposed to be rolling hills in the back yard. They were weirdly shaped mounds. I had not be adequately prepared for that situation and didn't know how to say, "No, those should look like rolling hills, not a bad boob job." I went out shaking my head saying, "no." and one of them immediately called a translator on his phone, handed me the phone to explain to the translator, and then I handed him the phone and the translator explained.  Based on the crew member's reaction, the translator did translate boob job.  We had a good laugh and all was fixed beautifully.

That's 44 years of life in PHX and those are the only situations I've run into.

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Learning any foreign language is useful in many ways beyond the practical, much like learning an instrument. And much like learning an instrument, it can create a lot of unhappiness and stunted learning if you're having to force an unwilling kid to practice-- because practice is the most essential, habitual component of learning a new language.

 

So my personal preference is that if you can't put them in a situation where practice is inevitable and utility is obvious to some degree (even at minimum, where they frequently see signs in this language or hear it spoken in public if not at home or by family members)...let them choose. And let them change their minds, if they're still young. The people I know who have used their language study in their adult lives-- as a hobby or in a career-- are those who chose it themselves and enjoyed it. (I am thinking of my friend the classics professor who is finding his pursuit of Latin and ancient Greek useful, and my former neighbor the Russian major who is living and working in Russia, and my friend of Italian heritage who studied Italian to be able to read her grandparents' letters and now is working through reading Italian lit in her spare time for fun, or my sister who studied Spanish and is now working teaching kids who come to kindergarten speaking mostly Spanish.)

 

Spanish is definitely easiest where we live: there are the most free resources available, my kids hang out with kids who speak Spanish at home and thus have that natural curiosity to figure out what they're talking about, and we can participate in the kind of cultural activities that make people interested in learning about a different geographical location (by which I mean: EATING!) If music has inspired curiosity in your kids about Italian, that sounds like a fine place to start, and if they change their minds, knowing one Romance language is very useful if you want to learn a different one!

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Thanks to many who have explained the benefits of foreign language.

 

We are in the U.S.A., and we never travel abroad.  Right now, we are immersed in music, so I thought about Italian.

 

I'm still considering the options.

Italian is nice and a very easy language. After Italian your daughter can learn Spanish very quickly and French too. 

My husband speaks Italian, I am still learning it and both of our kids have decided to learn it very well. One is taking it together with French. He is interested in Maths, Science and music. The youngest one has decided to take it together with German. This kiddo wants to become a racing car designer-engineer so far and Italian is a must too. So it's not so useless language and if you really like it you can go ahead :)

Edited by rushhush08
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Beware people who tell you to learn Spanish because it's useful. That's not true for the vast majority of people in the SW United States. Sorry, it's just a bandwagon. Yes, there are people who only speak Spanish here, but the odds you will encounter one are slim. Immigrants send their kids to ps and the kids learn English there. I spent time with a lot of them. If you're going into a certain field that's likely to encounter a Spanish only speakers, that's one thing. It makes sense then and you'll likely need a more specialized Spanish vocabulary (medical and legal terms) after you learn the general vocabulary. But if you think everyone out here could use Spanish, it's just not true. I have twice needed Spanish and both circumstances were not covered in the general Spanish classes I took or the slang I learned from children of immigrants in school. My schools had 40%+ Hispanic populations and he kids mixed.

 

1. Driving past a goat farm and seeing goats running down the highway, I pulled over to tell the owner. (I grew up next door to a goat farm and understood what a financial hit that could be to them.) I had not been prepared in school classes or hanging out with Hispanic kids to say, "There's a hole in your fence and your goats got out." I had to chatter like an idiot in English after saying in Spanish, "Look. Look." and have her follow me to down the length of the fence to the hole and point down the highway the direction the goats went in. She immediately understood and was very appreciative.

 

2. The bilingual foreman for the work crew that put in our landscaping wasn't present the day the non-English speaking crew put in what were supposed to be rolling hills in the back yard. They were weirdly shaped mounds. I had not be adequately prepared for that situation and didn't know how to say, "No, those should look like rolling hills, not a bad boob job." I went out shaking my head saying, "no." and one of them immediately called a translator on his phone, handed me the phone to explain to the translator, and then I handed him the phone and the translator explained. Based on the crew member's reaction, the translator did translate boob job. We had a good laugh and all was fixed beautifully.

 

That's 44 years of life in PHX and those are the only situations I've run into.

Not sure how many people this is relevant to, but I also live in an area with a lot of Spanish speakers, and if you are Catholic and interested in working in the church not knowing Spanish is a big hurdle. Almost every job opening I see in the bulletin says either bilingual preferred or required.

 

That said, I am not forcing all my kids to learn Spanish. I agree with pp that said making a kid learn a language they're not interested in is like making them learn a musical instrument they don't like.

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Beware people who tell you to learn Spanish because it's useful. That's not true for the vast majority of people in the SW United States. Sorry, it's just a bandwagon. Yes, there are people who only speak Spanish here, but the odds you will encounter one are slim. Immigrants send their kids to ps and the kids learn English there. I spent time with a lot of them. If you're going into a certain field that's likely to encounter a Spanish only speakers, that's one thing. It makes sense then and you'll likely need a more specialized Spanish vocabulary (medical and legal terms) after you learn the general vocabulary. But if you think everyone out here could use Spanish, it's just not true. I have twice needed Spanish and both circumstances were not covered in the general Spanish classes I took or the slang I learned from children of immigrants in school. My schools had 40%+ Hispanic populations and he kids mixed.

 

1. Driving past a goat farm and seeing goats running down the highway, I pulled over to tell the owner. (I grew up next door to a goat farm and understood what a financial hit that could be to them.) I had not been prepared in school classes or hanging out with Hispanic kids to say, "There's a hole in your fence and your goats got out." I had to chatter like an idiot in English after saying in Spanish, "Look. Look." and have her follow me to down the length of the fence to the hole and point down the highway the direction the goats went in. She immediately understood and was very appreciative.

 

2. The bilingual foreman for the work crew that put in our landscaping wasn't present the day the non-English speaking crew put in what were supposed to be rolling hills in the back yard. They were weirdly shaped mounds. I had not be adequately prepared for that situation and didn't know how to say, "No, those should look like rolling hills, not a bad boob job." I went out shaking my head saying, "no." and one of them immediately called a translator on his phone, handed me the phone to explain to the translator, and then I handed him the phone and the translator explained. Based on the crew member's reaction, the translator did translate boob job. We had a good laugh and all was fixed beautifully.

 

That's 44 years of life in PHX and those are the only situations I've run into.

By that standard, for people in the US, there would be NO useful foreign language. I'm certainly not going to meet a Japanese, German, or Chinese goat farmer with a fence problem while driving state-side.

 

My recommendation for Spanish as a useful language has to do with using Spanish to converse with the millions of people in Spanish speaking countries (outside the US). In the US we have it pretty cushy because English is an international language. I never even took Spanish. I studied Italian but I hear my husband- a non-native Spanish speake - use it and I picked up enough cognates to get by on a trip in southern Mexico. However, it really made me see how much easier travel, business, diplomacy, and every other type of communication with Spanish speakers would be, ergo my experiences with them, if I studied it.

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By that standard, for people in the US, there would be NO useful foreign language. I'm certainly not going to meet a Japanese, German, or Chinese goat farmer with a fence problem while driving state-side.

 

My recommendation for Spanish as a useful language has to do with using Spanish to converse with the millions of people in Spanish speaking countries (outside the US). In the US we have it pretty cushy because English is an international language. I never even took Spanish. I studied Italian but I hear my husband- a non-native Spanish speake - use it and I picked up enough cognates to get by on a trip in southern Mexico. However, it really made me see how much easier travel, business, diplomacy, and every other type of communication with Spanish speakers would be, ergo my experiences with them, if I studied it.

 

I was specifically addressing the argument that Spanish is useful to everyone living in the SW US.  It's not. I think that was clear in my post.

 

For people who aren't planning on regular travel to Spanish speaking countries, then again, it's not useful. Most people who visit Mexico go to touristy areas and there are English speaking staff working there, so it's not an issue. That's common in other touristy areas around the world-you can't assume it every time, but it's not unusual. 

 

You are aware that Americans don't travel internationally much because we have far less vacation time, we have to pay our own college, retirement and much of our medical expenses, we're huge and foreign countries are farther away, and business for most Americans doesn't require international travel unlike our European counterparts. So again, for the typical American, learning a foreign language isn't useful or practical.  If you're looking for benefits that don't fall under the useful/practical category, then go right ahead, but that's a different topic than I was posting about.

 

I was clear there are exceptions to that.

 

And yes, English is the modern Lingua Franka, so that just reinforces my argument that when it comes to practicality, we won the lottery in the language department being born and raised here.  We just happen to speak what is rapidly becoming an international language. Just like Western Europeans won the lottery in the location/transportation department being there.  International travel is far less time consuming and less expensive for them to travel to a huge variety of other countries. That's not a fairness issue, it's just how life is.

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I was specifically addressing the argument that Spanish is useful to everyone living in the SW US.  It's not. I think that was clear in my post.

 

For people who aren't planning on regular travel to Spanish speaking countries, then again, it's not useful. Most people who visit Mexico go to touristy areas and there are English speaking staff working there, so it's not an issue. That's common in other touristy areas around the world-you can't assume it every time, but it's not unusual. 

 

You are aware that Americans don't travel internationally much because we have far less vacation time, we have to pay our own college, retirement and much of our medical expenses, we're huge and foreign countries are farther away, and business for most Americans doesn't require international travel unlike our European counterparts. So again, for the typical American, learning a foreign language isn't useful or practical.  If you're looking for benefits that don't fall under the useful/practical category, then go right ahead, but that's a different topic than I was posting about.

 

I was clear there are exceptions to that.

 

And yes, English is the modern Lingua Franka, so that just reinforces my argument that when it comes to practicality, we won the lottery in the language department being born and raised here.  We just happen to speak what is rapidly becoming an international language. Just like Western Europeans won the lottery in the location/transportation department being there.  International travel is far less time consuming and less expensive for them to travel to a huge variety of other countries. That's not a fairness issue, it's just how life is.

Actually you said in your first post "Beware people who tell you to learn Spanish because it's useful."  You did go on about SW local in particular, but made the blanket statement about its utility first.  

 

​I think denying the utility of conversing with others in THEIR native language feeds into an ethnocentric attitude.  It may not be imperative, but it is useful not only for communication but for understanding culture and showing reciprocate respect.

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Actually you said in your first post "Beware people who tell you to learn Spanish because it's useful."  You did go on about SW local in particular, but made the blanket statement about its utility first.  

 

​I think denying the utility of conversing with others in THEIR native language feeds into an ethnocentric attitude.  It may not be imperative, but it is useful not only for communication but for understanding culture and showing reciprocate respect.

 

But Spanish isn't useful to the vast majority of Americans, even those in the SW US, who many people argue would be the ones who would get great benefit from it.  You can keep arguing about that, but it's still true.  It's still true that most Americans will never use Spanish. It's not an ethnocentric attitude, it's practical reality.  Poll ten thousand Americans at random and ask them if they've ever been in situation where being able to speak Spanish would've been useful to them and almost all of them will tell you no.

 

Its typical of immigrants, regardless of where they immigrate to, to learn the language of the their new country unless they're old when they arrive.  People adapt to their environment.  The number of local environments in the US where people speak primarily Spanish is very small and exclusively Spanish is even smaller.

 

As to being fluent in one language in different countries, a friend's husband is from Spain and only speaks European Spanish with his mother and avoids speaking it around Mexican immigrants because of the very negative cultural issues his dialect and accent bring up. His brother is married to a Mexican immigrant and he switches from European Spanish to Mexican Spanish around her family because of the conflict is causes with her family and she switches to European Spanish from Mexican Spanish around his family for the same reasons with his family.  So all that respect and reciprocity that speaking the language brings is a myth if you ask me, based on all the stories I hear about it from my friend.  My husband has a friend whose daughter learned Mexican Spanish here, went to Spain as an exchange student her senior year, and learned how little respect she got for her Spanish until she adapted to European Spanish-something she hadn't heard until she got there, so that sucked for her.

 

A neighbor from my previous neighborhood was French Canadian and told me all about the hostility she encountered on her business trip to France because her Canadian French was pronounced differently.  A church member was born and raised in Algiers until the Islamic take over when he was a teen, and in Paris his North African French didn't endear him to anyone.  Quite the opposite. So much for respect and reciprocity. Should people learn Spanish is all its dialects too?

 

My daughter's Tae Kwon Do school is run by a Korean immigrant and is run like an Asian school, so we have immigrant parents from Cambodia, India, Korea, and The Philippines, along with immigrant parents from somewhere in S. America and one couple from France.  How will Spanish help me understand their cultures?  Are people supposed to learn the languages of those countries of origin out of respect?  Which one?  All of them? Some of them?

 

My middle daughter's guitar teacher understood Japanese but wasn't completely fluent. (She was born in a Japanese internment camp in AZ during WWII.) Her parents were immigrants.  She said she's not particularly welcome in the Japanese immigrant culture because her Japanese isn't fluent like immigrant Japanese.  So again, this idea that speaking the language results in respect isn't something I'm hearing people who speak the language are telling me.

 

Let's say I took your advice and learned Spanish fluently.  OK, who will I use it with? I don't happen to interact with anyone fluent in Spanish other than my white SIL who teaches ESL to homeless children in K from inner city PHX, an hour from where I live.   So who exactly do you think I'm going to talk to so this reciprocity will happen? That's true of most Americans.  It's not because they have an attitude that their ethnic background is better, it's that they aren't around people who speak another language to begin with.  Yes, in some places, like a close knit community with immigrants and first and second generation American children, there will people who speak another language well, but that's not Everytown, USA. The schools I went to had lots of Hispanic kids and most of them spoke Spanish at home with their parents and/or grandparents.  You know what they spoke with each other?  English.

 

If you aren't going to be in a situation that interacts directly with the Spanish speaking immigrant community or you don't plan to travel to Spanish speaking countries, then no, there's no practical reason to learn Spanish. That's clearly not what some people want the reality to be, but that's the thing about reality, it doesn't care what anyone thinks about it.  It just is what it is.

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The majority of Americans do not use algebra, European history, or a host of other things in their daily life, but they are still valuable to study.

As I see it, there are certain benefits that studying any language well will give you. Any time you study a different language's grammar, it will help you understand yours better simply because you will become aware of various aspects of grammar in a new way. Your brain gets a great workout, helping it make new connections. You gain some sympathy for other language learners. With a modern spoken language you have the added benefit of, with continued study, being able to communicate with people in their native language.

I'd choose a language based on two things: your goals and your resources. Spanish is a great choice for many because resources are abundant. It's easy to find quality shows, songs, and books in Spanish. There are often bilingual community activities. Other families choose Latin, enjoying the fact that it can be taught well without speaking the language. Other families have resources for other languages readily available, or have a passion/purpose for a language that is strong enough that piecing things together is very worth it.

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I'll chime in and say that I think "useful" is different than "necessary." Rarely have I been in a situation where knowing Spanish was necessary (like the goat situation described). Many times have I been in situations where knowing some Spanish was useful. Even my S. American friends who speak English well speak Spanish at home, and the truth is that sometimes, it's "useful" to for me to be able to understand conversations that take place in Spanish while we're in their home. If I'm at my friends' house and I hear her tell one of her children that supper is about ready, I will take that as my cue to encourage my children to start cleaning up and getting ready for supper. If my friends' mom (who doesn't speak English) asks my friend if I'd be open to letting her hold my baby, I can just give her my baby to hold, without waiting for my friend to translate back and forth. There are polite responses I can make to other people's conversation (note that I'm not talking about eavesdropping) that I can't make if I don't understand them. Granted, I can't possibly learn the native languages of ALL my friends who don't speak English natively, but I think that's a sad reason to not try for any of them. Also, certainly, some people will scorn your attempts at communicating if you can't do it "right." But that doesn't change the fact that there are also many gracious people in our communities who be encouraged and appreciative of someone else trying to reach out to them in this special way.

From personal experience, I grew up in a situation where I *did* look down on people who spoke the common language poorly because it was a second language. I carried that baggage with me into adulthood, and was scared to start trying to speak the language again after a 20 year hiatus as a result (I really didn't want others to scorn me or look down on me!). Thankfully, I found some friends who were kind and gracious and thought it was super great that I was trying to raise my children bilingually, *even though* my language skills had deteriorated once I switched to primarily speaking English as a teen. They encourage me, supply the right words for me when I have a brain-fart, and don't mind an occasional foray into English when I just can't figure something out. Furthermore, because they grew up in bilingual areas, they also have brain-farts and understand that even THEY sometimes forget words in their own native language! We laugh about this together and keep moving forward. Yes, sometimes, people can be jerks about you not doing things "right" (as the situation with the European Spanish vs Mexican Spanish sounds). But far more often, my experience is that people choose to be encouraging, instead.

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And honestly, you just never know where you'll meet someone who doesn't speak English as a first language, and I agree with the people who said it would be nice to be able to communicate with people in their language instead of expecting them always to speak English.  I was one of the few kids in my school who took French, and we had a bunch of Haitian kids, so I tutored them in ESL some.  They didn't exactly speak the same French I knew, of course, and they worked really hard to learn English, but sometimes I was able to use French to explain something to them, and their faces lit up, knowing that someone cared enough to speak their language.  You just never know what might be helpful.  (I am a Christian, and I believe that God puts us in places where the gifts and experiences He's given us can be helpful, so if my kid wants to learn a language, maybe that's because God has a plan for that child that involves that language somehow.  Who am I to say that learning a particular language won't be useful for communicating with someone some day, even if it isn't likely?)

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Around here Spanish is probably more useful than any other language unless you are in a specific field, like as a foreign diplomat or working for a foreign company (dh worked for a few Indian-owned pharma companies).   In our case, we have a lot of friends/family that speak Spanish, towns very close by where just about everything has a sign in Spanish, and we are more likely to travel to a Spanish speaking country.

 

We've also learned a little bit of ASL since oldest took it in high school (along with Latin). 

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I'll also point out that you don't know what the future might bring. You might say "Oh, I'll never need to speak Spanish (or French, or Bengali, or Korean)" and then one day wake up in an alternate universe with a very different geopolitical situation, and won't you be glad you speak the common language then?

 

Okay, so maybe that's unlikely! But you might still find yourself in a situation where your second language comes in handy - maybe you'll move to another country and decide you don't want to be one of those expats who lives in an English-only enclave, or you'll marry somebody who speaks that language, or you'll become a spy for the CIA, or a teacher in a bilingual school, or urgently need to gossip about somebody on the bus. Who knows? I sure don't know what the future will bring for me, much less my kids - so again I say, a current, living foreign language is not optional.

 

(But it doesn't have to be the world's most useful language either. If your kid really wants to learn Basque, well, it's an unusual choice, but more power to them. Probably get a real mental workout with their ergative-absolutive case system. Plus, Basque is much better for bus-gossip than, say, Spanish. Though you never know...! I know somebody who speaks Armenian, and one day she was on the bus and two people were having a very loud and indiscreet conversation about a third person's love life, secure in the knowledge that nobody speaks Armenian in that neighborhood, and boy was her face red!)

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(But it doesn't have to be the world's most useful language either. If your kid really wants to learn Basque, well, it's an unusual choice, but more power to them. Probably get a real mental workout with their ergative-absolutive case system. Plus, Basque is much better for bus-gossip than, say, Spanish. Though you never know...! I know somebody who speaks Armenian, and one day she was on the bus and two people were having a very loud and indiscreet conversation about a third person's love life, secure in the knowledge that nobody speaks Armenian in that neighborhood, and boy was her face red!)

 

Ha ha. I also know folks who studied Esperanto. Whatever floats their boat! :)

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Have you read Fluent Forever?

No, but I have watched some of his videos, and have Pronunciation trainers for a few languages. I've read the blog info about setting up decks in Anki and we (DD for Spanish, DS for Latin, myself for German) have been building our decks using pronunciation from Forvo. It's grammar and usage I'm concerned about (I reached a point in German I *had* to get some explicit grammar instruction to proceed), as well as correct sound production. Setting up minimal pairs for languages of which I don't know how they even sound is daunting. Is this (Fluent Forever) your sole method? Do you bring in grammar?

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No, but I have watched some of his videos, and have Pronunciation trainers for a few languages. I've read the blog info about setting up decks in Anki and we (DD for Spanish, DS for Latin, myself for German) have been building our decks using pronunciation from Forvo. It's grammar and usage I'm concerned about (I reached a point in German I *had* to get some explicit grammar instruction to proceed), as well as correct sound production. Setting up minimal pairs for languages of which I don't know how they even sound is daunting. Is this (Fluent Forever) your sole method? Do you bring in grammar?

Being raised as a minority among Mexicans a grammar truly wasn't necessary and if you dedicated 5 hours a day to your target language I think you would find the same.

 

We're using Hey Andrew for Greek because I only want them reading it. I think we'll rotate grammars. The current plan is Michael Clay Thompson, GSWS, MCT, Step By Step Spanish, Step By Step Japanese, MCT, Step By Step Spanish, Step By Step Japanese and by the time he finishes all of that he should be ready for another language. I only wanted Spanish and Greek for the grammar stage but he asked for Japanese and was so heartbroken when I said no that now we have 3 languages. :glare:

 

I use the pronunciation trainer myself and teach them. For seatwork it's handwriting > copywork > across the curriculum. I don't have time for FF's ANKI process so I have premade decks. I was fluent in Spanish and have no history with Japanese. For Spanish we have the 8,600 most commonly used words which we go through fast and phrases. For Japanese I've found this deck that teaches words then makes phrases with them. The, fat, cat, on, table, the fat cat is on the table. It has pictures and a vocals so it's fabulous. Don't tell Gabe!

 

My goal is to get them reading and writing so we can stop learning the language and start using it on a daily basis.

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Being raised as a minority among Mexicans a grammar truly wasn't necessary and if you dedicated 5 hours a day to your target language I think you would find the same.

 

We're using Hey Andrew for Greek because I only want them reading it. I think we'll rotate grammars. The current plan is Michael Clay Thompson, GSWS, MCT, Step By Step Spanish, Step By Step Japanese, MCT, Step By Step Spanish, Step By Step Japanese and by the time he finishes all of that he should be ready for another language. I only wanted Spanish and Greek for the grammar stage but he asked for Japanese and was so heartbroken when I said no that now we have 3 languages. :glare:

 

I use the pronunciation trainer myself and teach them. For seatwork it's handwriting > copywork > across the curriculum. I don't have time for FF's ANKI process so I have premade decks. I was fluent in Spanish and have no history with Japanese. For Spanish we have the 8,600 most commonly used words which we go through fast and phrases. For Japanese I've found this deck that teaches words then makes phrases with them. The, fat, cat, on, table, the fat cat is on the table. It has pictures and a vocals so it's fabulous. Don't tell Gabe!

 

My goal is to get them reading and writing so we can stop learning the language and start using it on a daily basis.

Wow - I do NOT have 5 hours a day. And neither do my kids. I suppose this is where I diverge from FF approach - if you understand grammar (and if you think analytically about language, even your first language while you're actively speaking) learning the grammar overtly is helpful and quicker! I agree with not making direct translation and with sensory information and context being helpful, but even in your first language you end up studying grammar in order to use it correctly.
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Wow - I do NOT have 5 hours a day. And neither do my kids. I suppose this is where I diverge from FF approach - if you understand grammar (and if you think analytically about language, even your first language while you're actively speaking) learning the grammar overtly is helpful and quicker! I agree with not making direct translation and with sensory information and context being helpful, but even in your first language you end up studying grammar in order to use it correctly.

Exactly. I think FF lends itself well to singles with one job and perhaps college students, but not necessarily homeschoolers or families in general. He did help me to understand a lot of my original Spanish acquisition and has changed the way we do language studies in this house because I see what's lacking with my own kids. I love much of the method but I think it needs more formal instruction.
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I agree that useful is relative.

 

We are studying Spanish. Ds is using Getting Started with Spanish and I plan to revisit his workbooks/coloring books The Complete Book of Starter Spanish. FYI they are selling them in Sam's Club and Office Depot right now. My nearest Office Depot did not have it on sale and it was not the most recent version, though. I have bought on Amazon and Sam's. Slache recommended the workbooks to me a while back and we got one for dd when she's ready.

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I agree that useful is relative.

 

We are studying Spanish. Ds is using Getting Started with Spanish and I plan to revisit his workbooks/coloring books The Complete Book of Starter Spanish. FYI they are selling them in Sam's Club and Office Depot right now. My nearest Office Depot did not have it on sale and it was not the most recent version, though. I have bought on Amazon and Sam's. Slache recommended the workbooks to me a while back and we got one for dd when she's ready.

 

See if your library has La Pata Pita. Then you can load up on books and their vocabulary and grammar will explode. Of course we still love Salsa, Whistlefritz (but only if it's at your library), and these.

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I would also agree that useful is relative, outside the benefits of just learning *a* foreign language, that is.

 

Spanish and ASL are pretty useful around here. I technically live in the southeast, but I'm really on the border. There are quite a few immigrants and migrant workers in the area. When I worked in customer service - and later as a preschool teacher, there were plenty of times when I wish I'd retained more of my 4 years of Spanish.

 

A more extensive knowledge of ASL would have been useful when I had a child who was deaf in one of my groups, when I had a co-worker who was deaf, and several times in customer service. Finger spelling is time consuming. ;)

 

Regardless of practicality, I'd definitely involve my kiddos in the decision. It'll stick in their brains far better if they are wanting to learn instead of being forced to learn.

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I'll also point out that you don't know what the future might bring. You might say "Oh, I'll never need to speak Spanish (or French, or Bengali, or Korean)" and then one day wake up in an alternate universe with a very different geopolitical situation, and won't you be glad you speak the common language then?

 

Okay, so maybe that's unlikely! But you might still find yourself in a situation where your second language comes in handy - maybe you'll move to another country and decide you don't want to be one of those expats who lives in an English-only enclave, or you'll marry somebody who speaks that language, or you'll become a spy for the CIA, or a teacher in a bilingual school, or urgently need to gossip about somebody on the bus. Who knows? I sure don't know what the future will bring for me, much less my kids - so again I say, a current, living foreign language is not optional.

 

(But it doesn't have to be the world's most useful language either. If your kid really wants to learn Basque, well, it's an unusual choice, but more power to them. Probably get a real mental workout with their ergative-absolutive case system. Plus, Basque is much better for bus-gossip than, say, Spanish. Though you never know...! I know somebody who speaks Armenian, and one day she was on the bus and two people were having a very loud and indiscreet conversation about a third person's love life, secure in the knowledge that nobody speaks Armenian in that neighborhood, and boy was her face red!)

 

My college offers degrees in Basque since our region has the greatest population of Basque people outside of Euskadi.  I've been sorely tempted to learn it just so I could potentially eavesdrop, but alas, not many of them actually speak it, at least in public.

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I originally only offered Spanish to my high schoolers because that is the foreign language I have the most experience with.  I am by no means fluent, but I was able to complete the duolingo tree and make it golden.

 

One of the kids was really struggling with Spanish grammar (as I did when I was in high school), so I decided to brush up on the bit of ASL that I had learned so that I could offer that as an alternative.  Bill Vicars has a wonderful youtube channel and a website.  I found the recommendation somewhere on this board -- thank you to whomever posted it -- so that is primarily what we are using.

 

I also know a very tiny bit of French, but I would not be comfortable teaching it.

 

Right now I have one child studying Spanish and two studying ASL.  I wouldn't be surprised if my Spanish learner decides to add on ASL just for fun.

 

I may start the littles on ASL, as some of them are definitely interested, but we have a lot going on this year so they will probably have to wait.

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I knew a guy in university who knew Esperanto.  There was a whole network of people around the world who knew it, and did house exchanges and things.  It could be more useful than one might think!

 

Oh I know! But I think it's primarily used by folks who like it for academic reasons. So it's useful in connecting with people who have the same interest, but not so useful in the sense that most anyone who speaks Esperanto also speaks something that is more common. :) I knew a bunch of mathematicians who learned it because they were interested in a "perfect" language! lol.

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What does your student want to study?

What resources/people do you have to help?

Do you have people to talk to in a specific language for practice?

 

My older two boys did Latin by their choice. My daughter is doing Spanish and finding it useful. My fourth will have a choice, but I'd lean toward him doing Spanish.

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