A Taste of Four Languages
Downe House Lower Fourth girls enjoyed a Language Taster Day organised by the Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Department to give them an introduction to four new languages, Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese, which they will have the opportunity to study as a GCSE course starting next academic year.
Lower Fourth girls, Lilias and Peyton report on the day,
“The Language Taster Day was a really insightful experience that helped us to understand the opportunities for us to start different languages next year. In Spanish, we played some matching card games and it was interesting to learn about flamenco dancing. The next exciting language was Italian. As well as learning about renaissance art and pizza and pasta, we also learned how to express our opinions in a dramatic way as Italians do.
Thirdly we had a German lesson. We found it fascinating that some German words are pronounced the same as English words such as maus – mouse. We had an enjoyable competition to see who could match the German words to the pictures in the quickest time.
The final lesson was Chinese, which is a very different language to learn as it has characters instead of words and letters. We had a crib sheet to help us learn how to write certain characters to say ‘Hello! My name is…’. The teacher described Lilias’s characters as ‘stylish’. We played an amusing panda-throwing game and we also learned how to say some numbers in Chinese.”
Peyton said, “I really enjoyed the day and I am thinking about studying Spanish and Chinese because I am a quarter-Spanish and I found Chinese really interesting.” and Lilias said, “I may choose German and Italian because of the art and culture of Italy, and German because the words are different to most European languages.”
During the day, the MFL Department welcomed Dr Steffan Davies, Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Bristol who spoke to the girls about what it means to study a language and why. Later, he gave an inspiring seminar to the Lower Sixth girls about the Enlightenment, the intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, the "Century of Philosophy." The girls found the seminar fascinating and really enjoyed the opportunity to have an insight into what the study of languages at university would be like.