Learning Language over the Summer

<p>Hi, I'm new to CC. :) I'm in a bit of a pickle here and I was hoping that some of the parents (who are presumably more cosmopolitan than most of the student posters) would be able to help. </p>

<p>The issue is that, about a week before completing my junior year of school, I found out that my Latin/Greek teacher would not be teaching at my school next year. Unfortunately I started my foreign language a year late (was home schooled freshman year), so I only have two years of a foreign language as it stands, and I would have liked to have had 3 before I graduated. </p>

<p>So my question is: would it be possible to skip up to the level 3 mark in a foreign language ("standard" level 3, my school doesn't offer honors language courses) or up to a point where I could score in the 700s on an SAT subject test (or even at the AP level) during the summer? If so, how rigorous would it be? Is it more practical for one language versus another? My school offers Spanish, French, and German, but I have zero interest in Spanish, so the latter two would be the only options as far as in-class learning goes. I also am considering simply self studying Italian through the summer and into the school year and taking the SAT II in it, because it appears to be absurdly easy -- browsing over Wiki's grammar page I could have sworn I was reading Latin and Greek.</p>

<p>I'm specifically interested in German, though. However, its declensions look extremely difficult, even more-so than Latin, and I'm afraid it would take too long to get a good grasp on. French would be the second option, and it doesn't appear to be difficult, however you never know. Italian is simply there just in case the others wouldn't be quick enough.</p>

<p>For what it's worth, I love languages, do very well at them (Summa Cum Laude on the NLE and whatnot) and, obviously, am quite motivated. So... thoughts? Am I out of my mind? Please help.</p>

<p>Kind of last minute, but are there any intensive college programs that you could attend, either as a commuter or residential student? I would expect that after completing an intensive summer of a language (generally equivalent to a year of college) you would be able to enter the third year of a high school program. </p>

<p>Alternatively, perhaps someone would know of a third year Latin class you could access online, either during the summer or next year, or perhaps you could find someone who could tutor you privately. Most students who take the Latin SAT II around here (generally the ones who get the summa cum laude on the National Latin Exam) seem to do it after third year Latin.</p>

<p>Thanks for the reply! I looked into the college track previously and there are two options: pay over $1000 dollars for an intensive state uni course, or take a class at a CC which is only equal to a level 1 high school course. Neither of these are too appealing. =/</p>

<p>Also, I forgot to mention this (sorry), but I do have something worked out for Latin. I'm looking for a replacement for Greek.</p>

<p>Would something like Rosetta Stone work? Maybe I could get some results if I combined it with grammar exercises, online discussions in the respective language, and things of that nature?</p>

<p>Anybody have any comments?</p>

<p>When you say Greek, do you mean ancient or modern? If you are studying ancient (literary) Greek, Rosetta Stone won't be of much help as if focuses on oral communication for tourists and businessmen. You may want to contact the National Junior Classical League (NJCL) for information about self-study, etc.</p>

<p>Is your teacher staying in the area? Would he/she be willing to work with you privately?</p>

<p>@NJSue: Ancient Greek. I'm not looking to continue it, as it seems impractical now. I'm looking for a replacement language I could study quickly over the summer.</p>

<p>@MD Mom: The teacher is looking to take a position at another school, unfortunately.</p>

<p>If you are switching languages, German will probably be easy for you to learn with your Latin background and it is a useful language.</p>

<p>You might also ask at the community college about language teachers. There may be a teacher who can teach the language, but it isn't regularly offered.</p>

<p>So you think German would be quicker to learn than French, even with the shared vocab between Latin and the Romance Languages?</p>

<p>For what its worth, I know a woman who took an intense German course over the summer, worked very hard & studied a great deal on her own - and by the end of the summer was able to read (with a dictionary of course, and slowly) Thomas Mann in the original. So yes, for a talented and very motivated learner, it's possible to learn a great deal of German in 3 months. How well you'd do on a standardized test is hard to say.</p>

<p>By the way - yes, it would be quicker to learn French in the same amount of time. Syntax that is closer to English, and the lack of declensions, make it easier to master.</p>

<p>Okay, I was kind of thinking that grasping a good amount of German over the summer was a pipe dream anyways. </p>

<p>On a side note, can anyone speak to how difficult the liaisons are in French? The basic rules they follow, under what conditions they appear, etc?</p>

<p>I have studied Spanish, French, German, and Greek, and I'd rate them in ascending order of difficulty in just that way. French is a lot easier to read than German .... I think you can learn to read German in a summer; I think learning to speak it is another matter. However, in my view, pronunciation is a lot harder in French ...</p>

<p>I actually find the opposite to be true for pronunciation. I've done the online recordings/imitated YouTube videos and I think German is harder to pronounce, whereas French is just less phonetic. I don't have any trouble with the guttural Rs or the nasal sounds in French, whereas in German the pronunciation seems to be slopped together -- for instance "Guten Morgen" sounds like "Gooen Mohren" -- and I sometimes end up with my tongue stuck in awkward places, as German tends to be spoken quite quickly... =/ Although it's not really that bad and I'm sure a few weeks of practice would smooth everything out.</p>

<p>So anyway, you think German would be doable? How much would German declensions slow down my ability to read/write in comparison to French? And how much do you think Latin vocab would lend itself to expediting the study of French versus German? Also, are there any methods of study you would recommend for either language as someone who's studied both?</p>

<p>I learned French and German in high school (decades ago). I think French would be the simplest transition from Latin. You should be able to attain 3rd-year proficiency within one year, given what you've shared about your skill and background.</p>

<p>By one year do you mean one school year (8 or so months)?</p>

<p>I think that a miracle isn't necessary to get you to satisfy the perceived 3-years of one language requirement of selective colleges. You've done your best, and you can't do 3rd year of Latin at your school because it isn't offered. Your GC can point that out on your behalf.</p>

<p>Trying to skip level-1 and 2 of a language through a summer program just doesn't resonate. No matter how good you are language study takes time, so take the time. If you're so inclined take a summer course. But it's not necessary. Sign up for whichever language interests you most senior year, and start at the beginning. Get an A, and you'll do just fine.</p>

<p>Concordia Language Villages have four-week for h.s. credit courses that have a lot of homework (give that you are basically "at camp") but allow completion of a year of h.s. language credit. A few days ago they still had some scholarship money available for German.</p>

<p>Do you live in a reasonably large city? See if there is a branch of Alliance Francaise- they are world wide and offer free french instruction. They also have excellent online programs. It is sponsored by the French government, to encourage people to learn French. Or check out craigslist to see if you can find a french friend (the easiest way to learn french is to have a french boy/girl friend), even if you have to barter (baked goods, do their laundry...) in exchange for tutoring.</p>

<p>fogcity: I appreciate what you are saying, but I want to do this. I'm not chasing after a magic number for the sake of chasing after a magic number. I'm interested in Linguistics/languages and would like to pursue the two in college, so I would probably end up learning these languages anyways. If I have the interest and the drive to get a jump start during the summer while obtaining the ideal "3 years" then why not? I have all summer ahead of me, and if it doesn't work out then it doesn't work out. But I see no compelling reason not to try. :)</p>

<p>Thanks for the info MidwestMom. I'll look into that.</p>

<p>merryecho: No, unfortunately. We live in a semi-rural/suburban area.</p>

<p>If you are looking to start a third language, you should investigate Concordia Language Villages 4 week credit programs. My daughter studied Japanese I over the summer and jumped right into Japanese II without any difficulties and earned a high school credit in the process. Not sure if a third language is your goal, but worth looking at the Concordia Language Village summer programs if you are considering a modern language.</p>