Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

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md0
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Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby md0 » 2013-04-29, 13:39

I am curious about this practice, which I suspect is not universal.

Is an ancient stage of your country's language taught as compulsory subject in schools?
Eg, are students in England asked to learn Old English in schools (I am pretty sure they aren't :P), etc.

Shall we make it a list, or leave it an open discussion?

In any case:
[flag]el[/flag] Ancient Greek is taught throughout Junior High and Senior High School.
[flag]el-cy[/flag] Same as Greece up to 1st year of SH, optional for the last too years.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Lur » 2013-04-29, 15:33

Here you only get to do Latin and Greek if you go with the Humanistic route the last two years through school. And Latin if you do so the year before. I did the Natural Science route so no luck on that front.

Meanwhile you might get to read some excerpts from the Poem of the Cid. Or not.
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-29, 17:28

meidei wrote:I am curious about this practice, which I suspect is not universal.

Is an ancient stage of your country's language taught as compulsory subject in schools?
Eg, are students in England asked to learn Old English in schools (I am pretty sure they aren't :P), etc.
I'm pretty sure that Old English has never been taught as a compulsory subject in Anglophone countries. Historically it was far more common to make British schoolchildren learn Latin from a young age, which was sure to engender a fierce hatred of the language in them.

I'm against making it a compulsory subject, but it would be kind of cool for English classes to go into more detail about the history of the language. The oldest material commonly studied is Early Modern English, but usually no Middle English or Old English until the university level. In my senior year I chose to do a year-end project comparing representative works from all three stages of English (Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and a modern novel) and I chose it specifically because that was the only chance I'd have to delve into the history of the language instead of analyzing some boring-ass contemporary work.

(The book chosen for Modern English was Riddley Walker, which is written in a futuristic kind of English as it might have developed after an apocalyptic event. Not really my first choice, but it's what the teacher set for the project. I would have much rather done Hemingway.)

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby JackFrost » 2013-04-29, 19:16

We did talk a bit about Old English and Middle English during literature classes, but that's it. Same for Old French.

I'm not really in favour of making ancient languages mandatory because they're pretty much useless knowledge for the general student population.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Lur » 2013-04-29, 20:00

JackFrost wrote:I'm not really in favour of making ancient languages mandatory because they're pretty much useless knowledge for the general student population.

The same could be said of a lot of other stuff. If the student doesn't have an interest or an affinity for any subject matter it'll be harder to teach and it'll be more likely to be deemed as useless.

And languages are particularly hard if you don't want to learn them.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-29, 20:03

JackFrost wrote:We did talk a bit about Old English and Middle English during literature classes, but that's it. Same for Old French.
In high school? Really?
I'm not really in favour of making ancient languages mandatory because they're pretty much useless knowledge for the general student population.
This is Unilang, dude. There is no such thing as a useless language, remember?

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Yserenhart » 2013-04-29, 20:26

mōdgethanc wrote:This is Unilang, dude. There is no such thing as a useless language, remember?

Not quite. Being UniLang, it's more like everything's a useless language, but we'll learn them all anyway, just because it's fun and we can.

I think making classes for only ancient languages obligatory isn't something that would help most students, but I do think a study of the influences of ancient languages on modern language should be an obligatory part of classes on the language of the country.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-29, 20:44

Yserenhart wrote:Not quite. Being UniLang, it's more like everything's a useless language
Except Mandarin, remember?
but we'll learn them all anyway, just because it's fun and we can.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Yserenhart » 2013-04-29, 21:23

mōdgethanc wrote:
Yserenhart wrote:Not quite. Being UniLang, it's more like everything's a useless language
Except Mandarin, remember?

Didn't know there were British bankers on UniLang.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-29, 22:20

Yserenhart wrote:Didn't know there were British bankers on UniLang.
Thousands of them.

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Saaropean » 2013-04-29, 22:28

I don't know if Latin is compulsory in Bavaria. But it's offered by most gymnasien in Germany, and it's compulsory in many of them.

Some schools teach Ancient Greek, too, but I don't think there are still schools where it's compulsory.

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby JackFrost » 2013-04-29, 22:53

mōdgethanc wrote:
JackFrost wrote:We did talk a bit about Old English and Middle English during literature classes, but that's it. Same for Old French.
In high school? Really?

Just a little bit while we were getting into reading Beowulf.

I'm not really in favour of making ancient languages mandatory because they're pretty much useless knowledge for the general student population.
This is Unilang, dude. There is no such thing as a useless language, remember?

Read again. I thought I made it specific enough that it doesn't apply to us Unilangers.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-29, 23:10

Luke wrote:The same could be said of a lot of other stuff. If the student doesn't have an interest or an affinity for any subject matter it'll be harder to teach and it'll be more likely to be deemed as useless.
The job market for dead languages is exceeding small, whereas the prospects are a lot better for STEM and medicine. Let's not pretend all subjects are equally practical. That's not saying you shouldn't study dead languages if that's really what you want to do, but it's a highly specialized skillset that the vast majority of people will never need. Everyone needs math and writing skills.
And languages are particularly hard if you don't want to learn them.
Which is why we shouldn't force kids to learn them, because then they'll just become hostile to it.

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby johnklepac » 2013-04-30, 0:10

Anyone seen Rushmore? There's one scene where two people in the same high school are talking about language instruction there. One of them quietly wants to get Japanese introduced, and the other's talking about how majestic and useful Latin is. As it turns out, Latin becomes a requirement for all students. This thread reminded me of that.

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-30, 3:01

johnklepac wrote:Anyone seen Rushmore? There's one scene where two people in the same high school are talking about language instruction there. One of them quietly wants to get Japanese introduced, and the other's talking about how majestic and useful Latin is. As it turns out, Latin becomes a requirement for all students. This thread reminded me of that.
I haven't seen it in a while, and I'd forgotten all about scene, but I found it hilarious. Thanks for reminding me of it.

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Car » 2013-04-30, 11:20

Saaropean wrote:I don't know if Latin is compulsory in Bavaria. But it's offered by most gymnasien in Germany, and it's compulsory in many of them.

Some schools teach Ancient Greek, too, but I don't think there are still schools where it's compulsory.


It's definitely not compulsory in NRW, unless you're going to an altsprachliches Gymnasium, I'd assume.

In the past, you learnt a bit about Middle High German, but we didn't do that anymore, although it still was in our school book. :(
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Iván » 2013-05-04, 12:12

Luke wrote:Here you only get to do Latin and Greek if you go with the Humanistic route the last two years through school. And Latin if you do so the year before. I did the Natural Science route so no luck on that front.

Meanwhile you might get to read some excerpts from the Poem of the Cid. Or not.

Many schools have both, even though we have only Latin at mine.

My teacher says we keep learning Latin because it's been demonstrated that it helps improve your memory, but I don't really think that's the main reason. :para:
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2013-05-04, 12:36

In the Netherlands it's never compulsory. Only in secundary school when you do gymnasium (the highest level) you have Latin I think starting in the second class and Greek starting in the third class. And then from the fourth to the sixth class it's Latin and/ or Greek for them. But I don't know for sure because I did atheneum. It's mostly a prestige thing.
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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby Nooj » 2013-05-06, 10:49

I did Latin for high school and I have an Ancient Greek major from university. I'm strongly opposed to making them obligatory. Voluntary, sure.

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Re: Ancient languages as obligatory subjects in schools

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-05-06, 21:34

Latin is compulsory in many highschools here in Italy, and Ancient Greek, too, is compulsory in some of them.


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