It is widely accepted that knowledge of a foreign language increases job opportunities. It also broadens your social and cultural horizons and gives you more choice of university courses. Therefore, taking a language at GCSE is strongly recommended for ambitious students.
|Employability||You will be competing for jobs in a global market – but don’t assume that by speaking English you will have an advantage. Think of your competitors for the best jobs as non-native fluent English speakers who also have a native language.|
|Communication||Studying a language means getting to grips with speaking and writing. You will need to be accurate, creative and clear. Learning how to get things right trains the brain, and improves our face-to-face interactions.|
|Open-mindedness||Learning a language opens our minds – we meet new people and gain new experiences, learning about others and ourselves. It is an exercise in global citizenship, allowing us to see that we have more things in common than differences.|
Why study French and Spanish?
|Relevance in numbers||200 million people speakers on 5 continents; the 2nd most widely-taught language after English.||With 360 million native speakers worldwide, Spanish is spoken by more people than English as a first language.|
|Relevance in economy||France is the world’s 5th largest economy, and the main language in much of Africa and an official language of the UN.||As well as Spain, the emerging economies in South and Central America offer a huge range of employment opportunities.|
|Cultural clout||Literature to rival even English in poetry, drama and novels. French cinema is world class.||A vibrant literary and cinema culture with both traditional and modern styles.|
|Links to other languages||A member of the Romance family of languages, with similarities to Spanish and Italian. French also significantly influenced English.||A member of the Romance family of languages, it has a grammar and vocabulary which share many similarities with French, Portuguese and Italian.|
What does it mean to be a Linguist?
Why should we bother to study a language other than our own? This is a question only native English-speakers can afford to ask as we speak a language which serves as a global 2nd language – almost everyone learns English in schools all over the world. However, it is actually very common for people to speak more than one language; it’s just that most native-English speakers don’t! This puts us at a disadvantage, so it comes down to our education to fill this gap. Training as a linguist helps to make us fully human, but there are also many practical uses for learning another language:
|Caring about getting things right||Precision and accuracy are traits of a successful linguist, and training these instincts has benefits in all aspects of your life.|
|Understanding how language works||Language is the defining characteristic of human beings, and understanding how it works helps us to understand how we work.|
|Learning things by heart||Linguists have to learn vocabulary, verbs, plurals, genders and endings off by heart and remember them! This means our memory skills become very efficient.|
|Throwing caution to the wind||We learn most quickly by making mistakes, so we need to keep trying. However good we are at a language, we will rarely be sure of not making mistakes so we become very perseverant.|
|Immersing ourselves in a language||We get the opportunity to visit countries where other languages are spoken and to really understand what’s going on. We see the world through different eyes with each language.|
|Wanting to communicate||Linguists take an interest in people. We can share ideas, teach and learn, translate and interpret, fix and create.|
|Breaking codes||We can apply our knowledge to unfamiliar situations, work out meanings and use clues to solve bigger problems.|
|Being a stylist||Linguists care about the style and tone of the things we write, speak, hear and read. It helps us to be original and to be sensitive to the styles of other people as well.|
Beyond this, linguists read and study literature and film, examine history and politics, and generally explore society in an attempt to put into context the culture and people whose languages we are studying. Le monde est à nous, el mundo es nuestro, the world is ours!
If you have any questions about a GCSE in languages, visit the MFL Department or speak to Miss Robinson.
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