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Thread: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

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    Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    Hi Everyone!

    As you all know, I am language challenged; however, my two daughters thankfully are not. They are fluent in both English and Spanish. They learned Spanish as a result of attending a Spanish Immersion school for grades Kindergarten through Fifth. Additionally, their dad (Hubby) is a native Spanish speaker. Both girls have continued their Spanish studies in Middle School (6-8 grades) at an advanced level.

    Next year, their school is going to offer for the first time French as an elective subject (sorry no Russian – just Spanish and French). While they will not need this class for graduation requirements (because they have High School credits from Spanish) Hubby and I are considering having them take the class.

    I am interested in knowing your thoughts as to how easy and/or difficult it might be for them to learn French as they have the background in Spanish (remember, I am language challenged, so be kind with your comments ). Additionally, no one in our family speaks or knows French.

    Their ages and grades for next year will be; 12 and 7th grade; 13 and 8th grade. Both girls take a total of eight classes (four per day). As part of those eight classes, the older daughter will be taking High School level academic classes including Honors Geometry (usually not taken until 10th grade), English Acceleration and AP Preparatory United States History.

    Thanks for your help,
    RockzMom!
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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    I am interested in knowing your thoughts as to how easy and/or difficult it might be for them to learn French as they have the background in Spanish.
    Quite easy, I think. My Italian is poor, but I can easily understand written Spanish and French (also spoken, sometimes). If you say they're fluent in Spanish, French can't be difficult for them. The only difficult thing could be the pronunciation and rules of reading (the both are not easy in French), but it's just a difficulty of the first step.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    I don't think it's the Spanish background that will be beneficial so much as the English, as some 40% of English words come from French. The Spanish can't hurt though. French is a little more tricky than Spanish so they'll have to work at it.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    I don't think it's the Spanish background that will be beneficial so much as the English, as some 40% of English words come from French.
    Talking about vocabulary you obviously forgot about grammar. The grammar of French, Spanish and Italian is as similar as possible, while it definitely can't be said about that of English and French.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    Olya & Sperk,

    Thank you for your comments.

    My other concern is how much to load down on the older daughter in one school year which was why I listed the classes she is scheduled to take. I know her curriculum will not get any easier as she advances through school; however, I don't want to kill her either. She has been doing very well with her studies and I would hate to overload her now and make her "hate" school.

    On the other hand, I also know the importance of learning languages as early in life as possible (a topic discussed in another thread not too long ago). So, Hubby and I are conflicted here.

    I guess what I am saying/asking here is, looking back, would you (anyone on the forum here can answer) have wanted your parents to push you this hard and have you learn yet a third language while taking a full advanced level course load and working part-time at age 13 or would you have rather skipped a year or two and taken another language later in high school or maybe waited until college? Just to clarify, she would NOT be taking Spanish next year as her school does not offer a high enough level for her after this year (once in high school she could take it again). So, she would either have no language next year or take French.

    Any other constructed comments from the forum would be appreciated as I know many of you have learned several languages and some of you learned them while you were young and others as adults.

    Thanks again for your comments; I do value them as it is interesting to hear from people who have actual experience with learning several languages.
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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    rockzmom,
    I think your daughter will be glad later in life to have taken French also. Maybe you can tell her that if she takes it and she feels that it's too much she can drop it.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    French actually can be quite useful for her in a future and having it taken is a great deal, but I guess, at such situation her attitude is most important. She has a very difficult program at the school and works also, so it may be very hard for her to do all these things at the same time. Thereby you need to know her thoughts on the subject and if she doesn't mind explicitly, you'd better take her French classes .
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    JackBoni
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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    Hello rockzmom.

    As Оля and sperk have already said, your daughters’ knowledge of both English and Spanish will help them greatly if they are to take up French. I would stress, though, that it is probably very important that you talk to your daughters about taking it up – if they are forced to do something they don’t want to do, or if they feel they are somehow incapable of soaking up another language, this may lead to conflict and perhaps even influence their other subjects in a negative way. I had one such friend, who was forced by his father to take up German at school. His motivation for school in general was influenced in a very negative way due to this. As I am sure you know, it is not just a question of what they can gain, but also a question of what they could possibly lose.

    Assuming that all is well, and that your daughters support your wanting them to take up French, it would be better done sooner rather than later, as you know. Our ability to acquire a language decreases dramatically as we grow older. If they feel they are capable, then now would be the time to start, in my opinion, and not in a few years time. I am now at university studying Russian, continuing with German as a minor subject. Even though I’m only 19, I have found it more difficult for me to make words stick as I have got older. Instead of the words just sticking, I’ve had to invent ways of making them stick – not just with Russian, but with German, too, which has always been my favourite language. The message, ultimately, is that the sooner they start, if sensible, the better. Really, the best tool for this decision is your knowledge of your daughters' capabilities.

    I hope that helps.

    Jack

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    Почтенный гражданин Winifred's Avatar
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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    I'm curious whether you have made a decision, rockzmom? Here's my 2 cents worth: French is a beautiful language!

    If it's offered in your area, have you considered online learning? My son is taking Chinese online, in 9th grade (14 yrs old), because his school doesn't offer language in 9th grade. He has a very full schedule, though (4 honors courses, plus 4 more), and his grades have dropped this year - just so you know. However, the online course does offer a bit more flexibility - my son used Xmas vacation to catch up, and can continue awhile into the summer, if behind, with no penalty.

    Downside - the oral component is not as good as a daily classroom, despite a weekly chat room with other students also studying Chinese. If you go this route, you might want to find a tutor or group that speaks French for extra practice - that first year is critical! We are taking advantage of the fact that he's had a little bit of Chinese before.

    Next year, if my son chooses to continue Chinese II online, by Florida law, the school must offer him a study hall to take the place of the online class. There's a broad choice of classes (including AP, advanced placement, classes), and they are free, since they are part of the school system. I know that there are online opportunities in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, but I'm not familiar with them. What southern state do you grace, if you don't mind sharing that information?

    As an aside, let me add that Russian isn't offered online in Florida. In fact, even our local universities an junior colleges don't offer Russian anymore. So, this forum looms even more important for those of us trying to keep the brain cells spry by learning, reviewing, or practicing Russian!
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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    I studied French after studying English.

    The main difficulties for me was:
    1. Reading rules are too different from English and even from Latin. (At the first time)
    2. Too many irregular verbs! (Permanent difficulty)
    Almost at every lesson we had a task for a homework: "Learn new tense and all irregular verbs in it!"
    3. Usage of the verb tenses (Permanent difficulty). There are too many tenses in French! Russian has only 3

    After French I studied a little of Spanish.
    Grammar appeared not very different from French.
    Many common word roots gave me immediately ability to read some Spanish texts.

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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winifred
    I'm curious whether you have made a decision, rockzmom? Here's my 2 cents worth: French is a beautiful language!
    Hi Winifred,

    We actually have not made a choice as a number of things have come to light (there were 4 children placed in the advanced program starting in sixth grade, including my older daughter, and within the last 2 weeks, 2 of the 4 children have now dropped out of the class). I do promise to let everyone know as soon as we know!

    Quote Originally Posted by Winifred
    What southern state do you grace, if you don't mind sharing that information?
    Nope, I don't mind sharing. I live in Maryland just outside of the Washington, D.C. and Virginia State lines... so I am considered a fringe southerner. I have mentioned on another thread that my accent is actually almost neutral until I do something dumb like say “listen up now ya’ll” and then I get these deer in the headlight looks from people and they say, “Where are you from?!!!”

    During my youth, I spent two weeks almost every summer on Lake Norman in North Carolina (back when there were still dirt roads there and Coke came in glass bottles so you needed a bottle opener and beer still had pull tabs!). I would come back home dark brown and my hair bleached blonde from water skiing and being out on the lake all day and speaking like some hillbilly and looking like one too!

    There actually used to be a little book called "A DICTIONARY OF THE QUEEN'S ENGLISH " which was given out by the North Carolina Travel and Promotion Division to help the poor northerners understand southern speak! I think my mom might still have a copy of it!
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    Подающий надежды оратор randem's Avatar
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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    From my own experience, by the ninth grade I had reached a skill level in Spanish which was higher than anything offered at the school I attended. Language classes being a more preferable elective than the rest of what was offered, I decided to take German. So for tenth and eleventh grade, I studied German -- and I was the best in the class, probably thanks to my previous experience learning a foreign language. Then I moved to a new school without a German language program, so for my senior year I took French 1, and naturally I aced it.

    I've poked around, as a hobby, with Italian and Portuguese, and mostly had an easy time of it... but I haven't taken anything seriously outside of Spanish, due to the spanish-speaking population in the US.

    However, now that I've been hanging around with Russians, I've taught myself conversational Russian in about 3 months. I give all the credit to my experiences learning multiple languages in school. And as a side note, I believe that experience has also made me a better programmer, since I find it easy to learn different computer languages now, too.

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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    randem!

    You are making me look really bad! You do know that I am language challenged and have enough trouble with my native English and speak no other languages.....right???? No Spanish (even after 17 years of marriage to native speaker), tried to fail French in junior high, and I still pronounce "Cyrillic" incorrectly half of the time!

    Spanish, German, French, English, Italian, Portuguese and now Russian???....I think I will go into a corner and suck my thumb for a while!
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    Re: Learning 3rd language Spanish to French? Thoughts Please.

    I forgot all about following up on this thread! I remembered today as the girls have semester finals in SPANISH!

    So just to give a short recap... Both of my girls have been studying Spanish since Kindergarten via Full Immersion. When they entered middle school (grade 6, age 11) they were placed in Spanish for Spanish Speakers level 1 and not a regular Spanish class.

    The Spanish for Spanish Speakers class is a High School level class and the materials are all geared towards kids in high school so figure ages 15-18. That meant the comprehension of the reading material was a higher level and the subject matter of the material was also. It was not sooo bad for Level 1, but Level 2, that class was REALLY hard. Kids were dropping out of the class like flies. There were four 6th graders who started with my older daughter in Level 1 and moved to Level 2.... 2 of them dropped the class at Level 2 at the half way point.

    As a result of what was happening… the school has now stopped allowing 6th graders to take a language class AND the county has redone the Spanish for Spanish Speakers curriculum!!!

    Now for this school year, the school did not offer a Level 3 Spanish for Spanish Speakers class even under the NEW curriculum. They did offer French 1 and REGULAR Spanish 3. So, I was asking the advice of the people on the forum here about how hard it would be for someone to go from Spanish to French.

    Here is what we ended up doing….

    Older daughter ended up taking Regular Spanish 3 and younger daughter moved from Spanish for Spanish Speakers (new curriculum) to Regular Spanish 2.

    Say What? Yup and here is why….

    As both girls learned Spanish via immersion, they never really learned the “rules” of Spanish. Just as I don’t really know many of the “rules” of English. In the “Regular” Spanish classes they are now learning the rules of verbs and such. So while they are getting an easier ride in some parts of the class, other parts such as the tenses, is hard for them because they know it by ear and now have to learn the “why” they do it that way.

    As for why we moved younger daughter, as the school had not seen the new curriculum, we did not want to take a chance on her having as difficult a time as the older daughter did last year.

    There you have it! BTW, in our county, you only need 2 foreign language classes to graduate high school. Technically, the older daughter did not even need to take a class this year or any more classes ever! She actually wants to learn Italian! However, none of the high schools we have been looking at teaches it. In our area, we have a choice of 5 public high schools, yet there is no guarantee you will get the school you want... it is a lottery. You rank the school you want in order of preference. Some of them do offer Latin and Japanese!
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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Ahhhh... all this time has gone by and I have an update for you.

    My older daughter has signed up for FRENCH for next year, 10th grade!!! She is currently completing her 4th year of high school level Spanish and was debating about taking another year of Spanish, quiting foreign language all together, staring French at her current school OR taking Italian at a high school near our home. Students are allowed to take a class not offered at their high school that is offered at another high school but they need to provide their own transportation and they will miss one class per day for the time used to get back and forth to the class. So if she took Italian, she would only be taking 6 classes per day instead of 7. We had been told that the Italian teacher is really fantastic as she is a native speaker and the school is very close to our home so she was really debating taking Italian. In the end, she went with French and has left Italian as an option for maybe 12th grade.

    I personally was surprised by her decision as she gave up Photography to take French. I thought she would go the other way around and give up the language elective as she has her 2 years language requirement for graduation and the 4 years colleges are now looking for so why not take a different elective like photography? Why go to yet another language? So I am very proud of my girl as you all know, I have trouble with my native English forget about me speaking another language, let alone two other ones!

    So, Zubr... get ready for some questions from her starting next school year!!
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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    School started here this week and so that meant the first few days of French class for my daughter. She was so afraid of it and then she came home yesterday all excited and said a sentence in French to me and then went on to tell me that the teacher gave them a paper with a list of words in French and asked them if they could figure out what they were or something like that and she said that all the newbie students got this panicked looked on their faces and she looked at the list and just smiled... the words were almost exactly the same as they are in Spanish!

    So thank you again to all of you out there who said encouraging things to me here an in PMs. It looks like my daughter is on her way to her third language.
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  17. #17
    Hanna
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    That's great rockzmom!

    I think it's really great that the girls are already bilingual. Well done fore making sure that happened.

    It's only marginally harder to learn a language from your second language and not your first.
    I am doing it with Russian (mostly from English) and it has not been a massively big obstacle.

    The only problem is that your daughter probably has better grasp on formal grammar and grammatical terms in English, since that's what they'll have learnt in school. When studying languages it's important to have a very confident basic grip on grammar in the language that you are using as the "base" for your studies.

    Personally I like Spanish better than French, but French has a certain "je ne sais pas"

    Perhaps you can inspire your daughter with some French films or music?

    I'll post the old classic "Victime de la mode" by Mc Solaar, since your girl is a model!


    Clap, prise 1, vision panoramique
    [Clic, take one, panoramic vision]
    Une camera avance gros plan sur Dominique
    [A camera advances close-up on Dominique]
    Seule devant la glace elle osculte son corps
    [Alone in front of the mirror, she explores her body]
    puis crie machinalement encore quelques efforts
    [Then whispers to herself: a little more effort]
    Tous les regimes sur elle furent teste
    [All the diets were tested on her]
    Toutes les tentatives ont ete des echecs complets
    [All the time it was a complete failure]
    Mais elle perd ses vers et pour plaire a son homme
    [But she loses worms to please her man]
    Dominique a decide de suivre la norme
    [Dominique has decided to follow the norms]
    Elle emmagazine, des magazines
    [She collects magazines]
    Dans lesquels elle pensent trouver le repos ultime
    [In which she hopes to find the ultimate rest]
    Maso, a l'assaut de ses formes rondelettes
    [Maso(chistic), to the assault of the round forms of her body]

    Chorus:
    Elle etait occupee a couper du pecu
    [She was busy, cutting ...]
    Car on lui piquait les fesses, une victime de la mode
    [Cause they were stingin her ass, Fashion victim]
    Tel est son nom de code
    [Was her code name]
    Victime de la mode, tel est son nom de code
    [Fashion victim, was her code name]

    Lumiere, scene 2, l'as de trefle lui propose
    [Lights, scene two, the ace of spades suggests her]
    Une toute nouvelle donnee en voici la cause
    [A brand new data, here is the cause]
    Tellement d'efforts mais pour quel resultats
    [So much effort, but for what results]
    Elle perd de l'oseille au lieu de perdre du poids
    [She loses money instead of losing weight]

    Dominique, replique, et tres vite m'explique
    [Dominique responds, and quickly explains]
    Qu'elle veut etre la replique d'une creature de clip
    [That she wants to be the replica of a (music)video creature]
    Ainsi font font font les petites filles coquettes
    [That's how it goes with pretty girls]
    Elle suivent un modele qui leur fait perdre la tete
    [They follow a model that makes them lose their mind]
    Comme London, Washington, Kingston, Sharengton ou Carcasonne
    [Like London, Washington, Kingston, Sharengton, or Carcasonne]
    Quand le Telephone sonne elle nous reponds sans cesse
    [When the phone rings, she constantly tells us that]

    Chorus

    Donc en guise de conclusion
    [So, in concluding]
    A l'analyse logique de cette situation
    [The logic analysis of this situation]
    Le regime, le jogging, la liposuccion
    [Dieting, Jogging, and liposuccion]
    Sont a tester mais il faut faire attention
    [Are to be tried but with care]
    Esperont que vous aurez compris
    [Let's hope you'll understand]
    Les bases tres claires de ce code de deontologie
    [The clear basis of this code of ethic theories]
    Prendre ou perdre quelques kilos
    [Gaining or losing some pounds]
    L'essentiel est d'etre vraiment bien dans sa peau
    [The important thing is to feel good in your body]
    Ma tacte au tic attaque toute ethique
    [My tactic attacks every ethic]
    Avec tact Dominique pas de panique
    [With tact, Dominique, don't panic]
    Ecoute bien ce funky beat

    [Listen carefully to this funky beat]
    La quete de l'image la laisse dans le stress
    [The quest for image leave her in stress]

  18. #18
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    It's only marginally harder to learn a language from your second language and not your first.
    It's true only if your second is at the same (or close) level to your first. Otherwise it is inefficient. It is all an offtop because they already know Spanish.

  19. #19
    Увлечённый спикер fabriciocarraro's Avatar
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    The fact that they already know spanish and english, they will do good with French! =)

    I'm brazilian, and besides Portuguese I know also English, Spanish and Italian (among the latin root) and me and my wife are currently learning french. It's coming fairly naturally =)

  20. #20
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    A quick update for you all... the first quarter of school just ended and my daughter got an A in French.

    We have started looking at colleges and learned from one college representative that even though in our county the foreign language courses offered in middle school/junior high are more difficult than high school as the students must pass two semester exams instead of just one year end final and "In order for students to earn high school credit in middle school, the school must provide the same course as in high school, including the use of the same curriculum and high school instructional resources, and use the same high school exam." the college would NOT accept ANY high school credit classes taken in middle school. They stated that she would need to take 4 years of the language IN high school in order for it to count on her application!!
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