Learning a language can be difficult, especially when it’s your first time attempting another language.
I’m from the UK and I personally think our approach to learning languages is pretty rubbish. This is especially true when you see people from other countries who learn two additional languages when here we barely learn one additional language.
Don’t get me wrong, we do have the chances and opportunities to learn new languages. However, it’s very minimal and not compulsory. The first time I remember being taught another language was when I was in primary school. I was around age 7, in year 3. I remember we were taught the days of the week in French and counting to ten in French and Spanish. But really, that was all.
Once I started secondary school, around age 11/12, we began to have French lessons. This was compulsory all the way up until year 10, around age 14/15, when we started our GCSEs. However, French wasn’t a compulsory GCSE at our school. I personally didn’t take French as one of my GCSE options. This was purely for the fact that I wasn’t good at it, I didn’t understand it very well and my teacher wasn’t very patient. When I was in year 11, my last year of secondary school, around age 15/16, they started teaching Spanish to the year 7’s. This meant they would then have another language option to potentially take as a GCSE!
I know other schools offer other languages, such as German, but my school just didn’t have the staff to offer any other languages than French (and now Spanish) to its students. Some of my classmates took external GCSE exams for their mother-tongue language or just other ones they were fluent in, which gave them an extra qualification. If I knew another language fluently, I would do the exact same!
So, with that, I began learning German independently. I only use Duolingo at the moment, but I’m hoping to buy some German language learning books. Maybe watch some films or TV shows in German (or with German subtitles) when I get a little bit better. Apparently, I’m 60% fluent according to Duolingo, but I think differently. In time, I hope to get better at the language. I’d like to be able to read a piece of German text or listen to a conversation in German and understand what’s being said. I’m not there yet, I’m still dealing with fairly short sentences!
In the future, once I’ve, perhaps… not so much, mastered German, I’d like to learn more languages. Maybe Russian and Romanian, as well as some others. There’s no specific reason as to why those languages in particular. They just kind of stick out to me as ones I’d like to learn. I have a feeling Russian will be a bit harder than some others, though, since it has a whole new alphabet. But I’ll cross that bridge when I, possibly, get to it! Realistically, I probably won’t become as fluent as I’d hope, but even just learning a little bit as I go along will help. It all comes together in the end.