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The closest thing to Scots?

One of the more startling disclosures is that pupils perform much more strongly in German than in French, which appears to confirm assumptions that Scots youngsters find it easier.

The report comments: "It may be that beginners find it easier to understand German pronunciation than French, as the sounds of German are perhaps closer to those of Scottish English.

"It may also be the case that the German spelling system, which is more phonetic than French, makes it easier for beginner readers to understand."

The stronger showing is particularly marked in listening and reading, the "receptive" skills, than in speaking and writing, the "productive" skills.

Some 75 per cent of German pupils in P7 achieved level D in listening compared with 21 per cent in French. The respective figures for the two languages at level E in S2 are 30 per cent and 10 per cent. For level E in reading at S2, they score 51 per cent and 32 per cent.

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