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French or Latin

(20 Posts)
foreverintraining Fri 10-Mar-17 09:42:07

DD has to take a second language ab initio in year 9. She already started Spanish 2 years ago. She likes the idea of Latin but has been warned (by family friends) that a) latin is a dead language and 2) there's a lot of memorising so staring in year 9 is a bit late. She is ambivalent towards French (or German for that matter) but doesn't mind doing it. My concern with her doing both French and Spanish is that it can be confusing because of the similarities, as she is not that good at Spanish yet.

Any advice please?

happygardening Fri 10-Mar-17 10:11:13

I was going to say Latin it will help her Spanish requires discipline and can help with written work in other areas. But that's until you said starting in yr 9. There's a lot of grammar to learn for Latin does she like rote learning grammar? DS2 did IGSCE Latin he had to translate three passages you can just learn them off by heart but to be guaranteed an an A* (96%+) you should be able to actually translate them

corythatwas Fri 10-Mar-17 11:15:46

I think either would be fine: I did French and Spanish and Latin and I am not the slightest bit confused.

If I were her, I would go with what I wanted to do. Does she see herself in Paris chatting away to the locals? Or delving into a historic culture? Both are perfectly valid things to do.

Yes, there is a fair bit of memorising in Latin, but certainly not too late to start that in Yr 9. Where I went to school we started Latin in Sixth Form and still managed it. My undergraduates start Latin at beginner's level. The human brain is a capacious place.

Ancienchateau Fri 10-Mar-17 12:15:55

If your DD is good at languages and the teachers are good, I'd say either. DS took up Spanish in Year 9 (already doing French and Latin) and finds it a doddle.

bojorojo Fri 10-Mar-17 14:28:13

If she is interested in MFL then French. It gives greater opportunities later in her eucational choices in that it can be join honours with lots of degree courses (or Spanish of course). If she prefers Latin and is not really bothered about languages beyond GCSE, then do Latin. Both will demand vocabulary, grammar and a good memory. GCSE will not get you chatting to locals in Paris. GCSE Latin will not help much with Roman history. Both will help if she takes them further.

DD took two MF languages from Y8 - no confusion.

amidawsh Fri 10-Mar-17 15:45:33

if she is undecided, i'd look at the results the school gets in each and choose the best!

Somerville Fri 10-Mar-17 15:47:03

What other subjects is she into? Latin is great for keen historians, for example.

TeenAndTween Fri 10-Mar-17 17:27:58

DD did French & Spanish for GCSE, starting Spanish only in y10. it worked quite well. There were sometimes confusions (not helped by having the same teacher so no visual cue) but cognates between the languages worked well. Additionally for the GCSE one set of 'exam technique' learned worked for 2 GCSEs, which was great.

foreverintraining Sat 11-Mar-17 10:42:01

Thank you all for the tips!! @Somerville, DD has a wide range of interests (so everything seems fun), she enjoys languages, literature, history as well as science. Which is also why picking subjects can be difficult.

HarrietVane99 Sat 11-Mar-17 10:55:22

Latin is great for keen historians, for example.

Yes, and there is a shortage of people who can read medieval Latin.

impostersyndrome Sat 11-Mar-17 11:29:26

You may get the advantage of a small class for Latin too. If you're at a state school it'll be a point in her favour. My DS (not a linguist) took it at a state school, starting with only after school sessions till GCSE and got A and A*. He found it very useful for English grammar.

wizzler Sat 11-Mar-17 11:32:53

I took latin for GCSE, and honestly I have used it more than most of the other subjects I took. It has helped me to pick up other languages and with my spelling and vocabulary.

It has a certain logic which I enjoyed.. almost like maths in a way. I am disappointed that it is not available for my DC.

impostersyndrome Sat 11-Mar-17 11:38:12

Funny that, wizzler DS is a mathematics scholar and says the same

Monkeyface26 Sat 11-Mar-17 11:44:37

My dd16 is about to take GCSEs in Spanish, French & Latin. She says Latin really helps with Spanish although, as pp says, there is a lot of grammar involved.

Ancienchateau Sat 11-Mar-17 19:24:07

Agree re the logic of Latin. DS is a maths whizz and finds Latin easy, as he does other languages. Struggles with English though!

tarheelbaby Mon 13-Mar-17 14:16:42

MFL & Latin teacher here. I would encourage her to choose Latin since the vocabulary studied for French will be very similar to that studied for Spanish because the topics are roughly the same whereas vocabulary studied for Latin will be much wider ranging and as a result will boost her vocabulary in both Spanish and English. Learning the structure of Latin will improve her English grammar and style as well as giving her an excellent framework for learning other languages, Romance or otherwise. In Latin, pupils read famous authors' works, even at GCSE, rather than endlessly discussing their holidays, school subjects, potential careers, food and the weather. They also learn about the foundations of western culture and literature in contrast to modern languages, where the focus is on communicating.

People moan about how there is a lot of 'rote' learning in Latin but there is no more or less than you'd expect from any other rigorous subject like chemistry or biology - and Latin vocab will help explain those (and other) subjects' terminology. Because most well educated people learned Latin until fairly recently, a sizeable amount of vocabulary in other subjects and even daily life is heavily based on Latin terms.

fairweathercyclist Mon 13-Mar-17 14:32:15

I would choose Latin. It will be easy to pick up French at a later stage - it is less easy to learn Latin at say evening classes.

I wish I had done it for GCSE, I had the option in my school.

foreverintraining Fri 24-Mar-17 01:16:38

DD has decided on taking Latin, thank you all for the insights. Is there anything she can do to prepare herself from now till school starts in September?

semideponent Fri 24-Mar-17 12:56:13

If she's really keen, she could give herself a head start by working through Nicholas Oulton's 'So you really want to learn Latin', book 1 and 2. Book 3 would easily take her to GCSE A/Astar. Answer books are available too. This is the best course I know: it leaves Cambridge in the dust. Also has a great grammar section at the back.

foreverintraining Fri 24-Mar-17 16:39:44

Thx, I'll look that up!

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