View Full Version : A Question For European Posters

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:26 PM
I notice that you all speak English quite well. I realize, however, that this is not your native tounge. I was wondering if you were required to take courses in English in school or what? If not, how did you manage to learn and why?

I was educated in the United States and we were not required to learn a second language and, as a result, I did not! I regret not learning a second language. At any rate, I speak only English and I am curious as to why and/or how you learned to speak English!

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:29 PM
Here in Flanders French and English are compulsory courses. Some students also have German.

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:31 PM
In all Flemish schools, French and English are compulsory. We start learing French in 5th grade, English in 8th grade and most people get German in 9th grade.

No films are dubbed here (only children's movies), everything is subtitled. That helps a lot as well.

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:32 PM
English is another subject at school here. Its an obligatory subject in most of the school i think. You can learn a second language as French or German, but i think English is always 1st in most of the school or high-school.

Anyway not every one speak it very good... :sad:

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:34 PM
In Yugoslavia you have to learn at least 2 languages in school
English of course and you can chose German or French and you can also learn all 3.

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:34 PM
Here in England (it's in Europe, dammit), we speak English quite well. ;)

Seriously, I'm very impressed by the English of the French/Belgian/Spanish/German contingent here. My french/Spanish isn't nearly as good...

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:35 PM

Big Fat Pink Elephant
Mar 11th, 2002, 06:47 PM
ooohh..... Hehe, Good Q Barrie!
Well, here in Norway kids begin to learn English in 3rd grade or something. this contunies till Second year of high school. ( we only have 3 years of HS) Then it's optional. at 8th grade, you have to chose another langiage (german or French) this continues throughout HS. So... it's cool to know several languages! ;)

Mar 11th, 2002, 06:50 PM
I had french courses from 3rd grade as I went to school in Brussels.

Mar 11th, 2002, 07:25 PM
In the Netherlands are outside from Dutch also English French and German compulsory.
I don't know how to count the years in the English/American system, but I think I learned English from 5th grade (primary school), French from 7th grade (first year secondary school) and German from 8th grade (second year secondary school).

Mar 11th, 2002, 07:30 PM
i learned english at school, but before i started to post here on the board my english was more worst then now.
but i learned by reading the board and my dictionary beside.

now im very angry with myself, i was to lazy at school.

but i hope i can improve my english more and more.
please be patient with me :wavey:

Mar 11th, 2002, 07:31 PM
we had to take another language - Spanish, french or german.

i found it hard at first to learn english because i had all my jamacian words and when i came here originally we moved into an area largely populated by black people and i learnt street first and i was using words in essays like trippin' and i was getting marked down. it wasnt really my fault, just the influences around me!

Mar 11th, 2002, 07:32 PM
I used to learn English by watching MTV a lot! Actually I still watch it a lot and I also listing to music daily...and of course English is a subject at school here in Holland, but the only thing we do there is....reading some magazine called "wasp" which features very dump articles...:wavey:

Double Fault
Mar 11th, 2002, 08:06 PM
I'm amazed at the level of English on this board. English is my first language and I will be the first to admit it's not the best!

Take VivalaSeles for example. Your English is exemplary. I guess the schools around Europe are of a better standard than in the UK.

I took French and German at school - and failed badly. I did speak Greek quite well at one time (due to living in Greece for a while)

When I read some of the posts on here I assume the posters are English. I'm amazed to learn that English is their second (and sometimes) third language.

I tip my hat to you all. :) Puts me to shame! :(

Mar 11th, 2002, 08:23 PM
I started to learn english when I was 7 years old - my parents wanted me to study english in language school. It was when I lived in Croatia.

Here in Czech republic you have to take English or German in basic school. And later you can also take French. At my high school (its not high school like in US, its 4 years, but if I have to explain school system here it will take long time :) you have to take both English and German. And later you can take French or Spanish. I will start to learn Spanish next year :)

Mar 11th, 2002, 08:26 PM
Im a lil girl who lives in England i have done since i was 2 or so I was born in Spain and my father is Spanish so Spanish was the first language I ever spoke.

When i first came to England I had to pick things up really quickly and learn everything over again in english this time, so until i was about 6 I was a very confused child...some would say i still am

But yeah English came naturally to me. One thing I do notice is the English Education system dont care too much for a second language. They focus more on The Core subjects.
Which is a shame cos I dont think factorising quadractics is as useful as it would be able to interact with people from a different country with a different way of life.

Mar 11th, 2002, 08:43 PM
When I went to school in Estonia, we started learning Russian in a 2nd grade and English in a 5th grade. And that continued all the way through high school. Some schools had German instead of English, and few had French.

I am sure things are a bit different now, but since I haven't lived in Estonia for a while now, I don't know about the specific changes.

Mar 11th, 2002, 08:52 PM
It seems that in the United States, you learn very little, if anything about world affairs or other cultures. In fact, you are never required to take a second language. I know that in a lot of countries, they complain of the arrogance of the Americans. Actually, they are never exposed to anything other than the American point of view and, the presumption is, that everyone thinks like they do! This is a glaring weakness in the American way of life. If it were not to my many visits to Canada over the years, and living here now, I would not be aware that there are other perspectives out there. The American culture is very insulated. And I think it would be impossible at this point to make it a requirement in American public schools to learn another language!

Mar 11th, 2002, 08:59 PM
here in italy we usually study two languages among English, French and German. Anyway, we haven't got a great culture in stranger languages. :o

Mar 11th, 2002, 09:03 PM
I dont speak English very well cos Im learning Engish in school now, the second language Im learning is French

Mar 11th, 2002, 09:04 PM
I Love Italian Culture!

Mar 11th, 2002, 09:07 PM
what Josh and Tine said:)

Mar 11th, 2002, 09:10 PM
Barrie I know what you mean i dont think its just the U.S i think the majority of countries with English as the main tongue, dont really put any great emphasis on learning other languages.

If i didnt speak Spanish at home and I only learnt it at school I wouldnt know much at all ,my friends dont they find if they are faced with a situation where speaking Spanish/French is required they find it diffucult.

Whereas people from this board from those countries would be able to speak English in a situation in which they would need to without any bother at all.

The Crow
Mar 12th, 2002, 12:45 PM
As others say, French and English are compulsary. But as important is that we use it a lot too: movies, TV-series, etc are all subtitled, so we get to hear a lot of English. And I use it alot for work too, so it's just experience. For example, although we had more French than English in school, my English is way better than my French.

Mar 12th, 2002, 01:44 PM
In Finland, English is compulsory too between the age of 10 and 18. Like in Belgium, movies and tv shows are not dubbed here, only subtitled so you learn a great deal just by watching and also listening to music.
Besides English you have to learn a third/fourth language as well (for Finnish speaking Finns English is the second language but for Swedish speaking Finns, like me, Finnish is our second language and English third) You can choose between German, Spanish or French. When you are 16 you can also choose to lear Italian if you want to.

Mar 12th, 2002, 01:52 PM
I learned Russian and English in school. But I just know few word in Russion. I had english during my education, but there I had "other probs" than this language :o :D

But since I'm interested in tennis I try to work on my english. I went to a private Highschool for 3 years to learn it and I hope it's a bit better now.:confused: :cool:

I was so ashamed to speak or to write it in the first, but I spend a lot of time with chatting and reading in english. I really like this language cos it's units the ppl all over the world - like on this nice board

Mar 12th, 2002, 02:28 PM
In french-speaking belgian schools, at least English or Dutch are compulsory ;) You have to choose at least 1 of these languages, but you can learn 3 languages if you want! You can choose another foreign language such as German, Spanish...

Well in my school, this is how it happened
5th-6th grade: Dutch
7th-8th grade: English
9th-->12th grade: Dutch & English

I could have chosen Dutch instead of English in 7th & 8th grade!

There were 4 hours/week courses...

Now I'm at the University and I have a 2 hours/week English (for Engineers lol) course but it's not a really interesting course for people who have learned English at school...

Mar 12th, 2002, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by Jessica02
Barrie I know what you mean i dont think its just the U.S i think the majority of countries with English as the main tongue, dont really put any great emphasis on learning other languages.

If i didnt speak Spanish at home and I only learnt it at school I wouldnt know much at all ,my friends dont they find if they are faced with a situation where speaking Spanish/French is required they find it diffucult.

Whereas people from this board from those countries would be able to speak English in a situation in which they would need to without any bother at all.

In Canada, you are required to learn French as well as English!

Mar 12th, 2002, 04:04 PM
In France, we had to choose at school a second language , and a third language . The majority chose " english " in second laguage, and " german " or "spanish " in third language. However, we can choose " italian ", " dutch " or " russian " for exemple, but it depends of the schools ;) .

Mar 12th, 2002, 05:17 PM
Here in Russia there are many specialized English schools where kids start learning English when they are 8 or 9 years old but I can't say that the teaching is very good . Very often all they teach is grammar and and they don't speak much just do lots of grammar exercises, for some reason many teachers in Russia think that if a child knows grammar and grammar only then he can speak English. and then in about 8th year you can choose a second language- usually either French or German. And also there are specialized French and german schools but there are not many of them where English is a second language.
I learned English when I lived in America for a few years and went to school there, first in Madison, Wisconsin and then in Texas, Austin.

Oh and almost all films are dubbed:mad: and in the cinema as well. There are only a few cinemas where you can see the films in English:fiery:

Mar 12th, 2002, 08:09 PM
VivalaSeles, actually what you've said of Belgium is only partially true...
It's true that in the dutch-speaking part of Belgium, there are subtitles everywhere, on TV, in the cinemas...
But in the french-speaking part of Belgium, we are unfortunately less lucky, because though our culture is really different from the "French" culture, there's nevertheless a big influence from France in that matter: everything on TV is dubbed, except one or two movies a week on the public channel, and most of the cinemas have only movies dubbed in French...
Hopefully I can go to cinemas with movies with subtitles (which are actually French AND Dutch subtitles!), but not a lot of French-speaking Belgians do the same... I think it's a pity, because it's sooo much better to see a movie in the "original version"!
You know, even for TV series, it's not the same for instance to watch "Friends" with French voices ;)
Oh, fortunately I can see "Ally Mc Beal" in English ;)

Well, I just wanted to add this... I hope my English is not awful :rolleyes: :angel:

Double Fault
Mar 12th, 2002, 09:08 PM
It's true VivalaSeles. I work with people who have lived here all their life and they do not have half your repertoire. :):)

Mar 13th, 2002, 09:11 AM
In Germany all films are dubbed, no subtitles for us lazy germans. In my cinema they show every Monday and Wednesday the original versions of movies (in english). But there is just 1 movie a week, that's pity for all the foreign workers here. I just went to Harry Potter to see the german and original version. :D

It's very difficult & expensive to get english videos in Germany. I buy them all for lots of money on ebay :mad:

Mar 13th, 2002, 10:26 AM
Same as Tine and per4ever and The Crow...

I come from the dutch speaking part of Belgium and as been said before, programs are subtitled here...I watch too much tv :o ...my addiction has at least one advantage ;)

Mar 13th, 2002, 11:09 AM
Oh,i'm so jealous of all this countries where films are subtitled.Here in Spain everything's dubbed,except for a few films and personally i think it sucks.I prefer to hear the original versions and reading the subtitles is not that hard work as everybody seems to think arround here.

Mar 13th, 2002, 11:22 AM
Sorry for the confusion, Turt is right. I should have said Flanders instead of Belgium. All cultural things and education are organised on a community level. There are three communities in Belgium; Dutch speaking, French speaking and German speaking.

This means that education is different in Flanders and Wallonia (French speaking part), television, cinemas, theatre, etc is also different.

On Flemish TV there are only Dutch subtitles, but the films in the cinemas always have both Dutch and French subtitles. So Wallonians who don't like dubbed movies can easily come over to Flanders.

Vivalaseles, in regards to children's movies, it's the same in Flanders. Our cinemas usually have several theatres, in one theatre they'd show the original version, in the other they'd show a dubbed version for children.

Mar 13th, 2002, 01:08 PM
Tom, I'm glad I never had to read much WASP's ;)

I must say the English education at my school is very bad, but there are also schools in the Netherlands that offer a 2-language education. That means that for example history is teached in English.

Mar 17th, 2002, 12:27 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tine
There are three communities in Belgium; Dutch speaking, French speaking and German speaking.

Didn't know that! i thought that that begians spoke french and flemish (so is that not an actual language then? or is it the same thing as dutch?)

In Ireland it is much the same as other english speaking countries in that foreign languages aren't promoted. Except our national language- irish isn't our first language however it's compulsary we learn it, it's also compulsary to get into university to have a third language, french is the most popular then german and then spanish. Even though you need english, irish and another language to get into univeristy in ireland once you get there you never hear those languages again, which i think is a shame and seems to happen in all english speaking countries. I can't speak french or german anymore due to lack of practice however i hope to learn again someday.


Mercury Rising
Mar 17th, 2002, 05:42 PM
Yes Stevek, Flemish is the same language as Dutch, only difference in dialect.

I'm glad I live in a place where we can see the original spoken version, cause dubbed movies is really bad. You wouldn't even know the voice of eg Eddy Murphy! And the mouth is saying other things than the voice! That's ridiculous.