Learning Languages: Around the World with A Grade Ahead

A Grade Ahead learning languages surveyWe thought it would be fun to ask our staff what are some of their reasons and/or motivations for learning languages. Take a look at some of the responses and see if their reasons are similar to yours.

Here are some of the questions asked and the answers to them. Enjoy!

How many languages do you speak fluently?

The overwhelming answer to this question was 23 out of 31 speak one language, English.  There are 6 out of 31 who speak two languages, and 2 out of 31 who speak 1.5.

What language(s) have you studied?

The languages studied by the A Grade Ahead staff range, including some who believe computer coding is a foreign language (which to me, is definitely a foreign language).  Here is a sampling of what they said.

The majority of us have studied Spanish, French, and German.  Latin is on the list with 5 staff members who have studied it, with Italian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), and American Sign Language following close behind.  A couple of people have studied Hindi and Korean, while one person has studied Icelandic, and one Arabic.

Why did you study those languages?

Some answers to this question were…

  • “School + Fun + Religion.”
  • “I like hobbies when my brain isn’t trying to rebel.”
  • “Trying to be more cultured.”
  • “Spanish: wanted to take and required; French: taught to all KG students in my school; German: travelling there.”
  • “Spanish – because my parents made me take it instead of French (boo!); Russian – I am super fascinated with this lovely language!”
  • “Latin – I took this in middle school and it helped a lot with English cognates as well as other romance languages.”
  • “School requirement”-this was an answer from many of the staff.
  • “Wanted to learn the language of love.”
  • “I thought it would be nice to know some German because I enjoy studying that history.”
  • “French – it sounded pretty when I had to choose in the 7th grade; Mandarin – my fiance is fluent and we travelled there.”
  • “For the challenge; also, with Icelandic, I wanted to try to speak the language of the country I was living in.”

What is your first language?

Three people surveyed speak Hindi as their first language, and one speaks Spanish.  The rest who were surveyed speak English as their first language.

What do you like best about learning languages?

Staffers said, “To learn about other cultures, hearing how beautiful it is, it’s neat to speak to someone in a different language and finding cross-language connections.”

What do you like least about learning languages?

The A Grade Ahead staff mostly agreed that learning the grammar, and not having enough time to learn to speak fluently.

The last question on the survey was:

What other languages would you like to study? Why?

The staff answered with…

  • “I want to continue studying Mandarin, so I can use it with my fiance and when we visit China again”. 
  • “I would like to learn Japanese because I have friends who speak it and want to travel to Japan.”  
  • “Chinese, because I want to visit China, but worry that if I can’t speak Chinese that I could get lost.”  
  • “German, because I’m 75% German.”                                                                                                 
  • “Chinese (so I can read xianxia novels), Maltese (I’m of Maltese descent), probably more if I get bored?”

How many languages do you speak?  What languages would you like to speak if you decided to learn a new one?  We would love to hear your comments!

Author: Pam Crum, Lead Teacher at A Grade Ahead.

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