SCHOOL COLUMN: Lindisfarne Middle School

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Hola! Fascinating facts from European Language Day at Lindisfarne School

Lindisfarne Middle School held a European Language Day organised by our new French teacher, Miss Dixon, on Tuesday, September 30.

Students were encouraged to dress up in the colours from a flag from a country in Europe.

We started each lesson learning numbers up to ten, holding a conversation and singing a song, all in Italian and Spanish.

It was interesting and we think all pupils enjoyed themselves.

“It was a great opportunity to learn something totally new and I thought it great fun,” said Lauren Coulson, Year 8.

“We found it was quite easy to learn simple things in other languages,” Lauren Robinson said. “It’s interesting to find out how similar numbers are in Spanish, Italian and French”.

But is learning other languages really that easy?

We took to the internet to find out how many languages one person could learn.

Alexander Arguelles is well-known for speaking many different languages. In total, Alexander can speak 50 different languages!

He said “I’m often asked what the secret is. The truth is, it’s mostly down to endless hours of reading, studying and practising grammar.”

But studying and practising grammar endlessly may not be practical – or very interesting – for the average day-to-day person.

On average, the youngest age that schools properly give language lessons in the UK is around eight, but scientists have proven that younger is better.

Does this mean languages should be studied at the younger years at school?

Even for Alexander, though, he wasn’t a natural language learner so made slow progress until the age of 11.

Should we begin learning languages early in nursery and primary school – as well as learning our own?

There are many different languages spoken in the UK today. The most common language in England and Wales is English (92.3 per cent speak it), but surprisingly Polish is the second most common language, with 546,000 people speaking it.

Should Polish therefore be on the school curriculum rather than French, Spanish or German?

What is quite surprising is that French and Spanish are quite far down the list, with French only taking 7th place, even though French is the most common language taught in schools today.

We were also given the opportunity to experience other country’s cultures, and took home an official-looking ‘passport’ full of cool facts and information about each of the countries in Europe.

Experiencing other cultures ‘helps us to understand other people’s beliefs and religions because maybe the language is based around the religion,’ thinks Tom Rippon in Year 8. ‘And ultimately, that is all about respect and tolerance.’

Overall, we think that having the opportunities to learn other languages should be encouraged because you will need to be able to develop the knowledge and understanding in later life.

When you travel, you will need to know the country’s main language in order to communicate in an emergency, conversation or asking local people questions.

As well as that we think that European Languages Day helps students understand and respect the culture as well as the language.

We had a great day!

Ciao, au revior and adios!

Year 8 Newspaper team