Foreign favourites

12th August 2005 at 01:00
Any class that bursts into song could be assumed to be enjoying itself.

But linguists should take even greater heart that class 5C at Park junior in Kettering, Northamptonshire is singing in German.

"The songs help you remember different words," said Alexander Clarke, 10.

"I like learning new things and new languages."

He and his 28 classmates are part of a three-year study looking at how increased language awareness in primary schools can accelerate language learning at secondary level.

Project leaders also hope it will make children enthusiastic about languages and overcome the "giggle" factor when pronouncing foreign words.

Having spent a term on French, the class is now doing German, which Alexander says is his favourite lesson.

Ella Thompson, 10, is keen to expand her range of languages even further.

"I wish I was learning Spanish this year because I'm going there on holiday," she said.

As part of the project, the pupils are due to learn Latin, Japanese, Punjabi and Spanish next year.

Alison Balchin, class teacher, said the children were already picking up on connections between different languages, and similarities between certain words.

Differences are also evident - she has had to explain why "ich" in German is not pronounced "itch", and that a German "w" is pronounced "v".

She hopes the project will have a long-lasting effect. "Sometimes you go to secondary school and start a language you don't really enjoy," she said.

"This project will show them there are other languages they might enjoy more."

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