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Be Inspired

By Chris Abalain, Mar 22 2012 12:27AM

I wanted to find inspiration for our first blog post and I defintiely didn't need to look very hard. I came across this new item from BBC News - check it out here: This man, just 20 years old can speak 11 different labguages - English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian. and by the sounds of it, he can speak them with a great degree of fluency.

If you watch the video, Alex Rawlings describes how he loved Dutch language but couldn't understand or speak the language, and that it annoyed him that he couldn't communicate with other kids in countries where he couldn't speak the languages. And it's remarkable, the paralells between this guy and myself. My family is half-Dutch and for most of my childhood we were taking Summer trips to Holland.

Just like anywhere else in Europe, it was easy to get by with English, but of course I could say some basic phrases, like dag - like bonjour, meaning hello, literally short for "good day" and dank u wel which means thank you. But when you go somewhere with your parents and you're just in the company of adults, you go out, play football, even do some gardening and you come across other children. Strangely, language barriers are lower with children than adults, and it doesn't matter if you can talk if you can play football, but (and bear in mind we were probably 8-10 yrs old at this time) the kid I bumped in to could already speak decent English! Not because his parents were English or anything, simply because Holland has been teaching its kids English in primary schools for a lot longer than we've been doing languages in primary schools, and of course they have a plethora of English and American TV programmes which are subtitled or dubbed there to hear the language all the time.

Anyway to my original point, it's inspirational to me that at 21, this man can already speak 11 languages. It's my job to promote languages of course, but I really do believe languages should be a compulsory part of our primary education system. Our clubs are great but weekly lessons are a must if progress is ever to be made. And the best place is the classroom. So if you believe in it as much as we do, press your school's PTA and management to include languages in the curriculum! And don't settle for class teachers, make sure they contact us at LCF with our native or fluent speakers, and of course our second-to-none in-school courses and resources.

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Welcome to the blog for LCF in Bolton & Greater Manchester. Here you will see what we are finding relevant at the moment in MFL teaching, as well as inspiring articles (hopefully) that should encourage us to learn languages and sample world culture.

We welcome any contributions via the comments, our page on Facebook, Twitter or email!


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