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Foreign Language FAQ

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Following are a list of frequently-asked questions about taking foreign language at FVL. We hope that these questions and answers will help you understand your options and come up with a foreign language plan that best matches your future goals.

     Why should I study a foreign language?

Benefits of studying a foreign language include the ability to communicate with people who speak that language, appreciation for other cultures, improved cognitive skills, and preparation for college.

     Am I required to study a foreign language to graduate from FVL?

No. Taking foreign language counts toward elective credits for graduation, but is not required.

     Do I need to study a foreign language in order to get into college?

While few colleges require a foreign language, most strongly recommend that students have at least two years of the same foreign language in high school. Many colleges encourage three to four years of the same language. This shows academic rigor, and may help an applicant's chances of being accepted.

     How many years should I study a foreign language?

Two to four years of the same language are recommended for college-bound students (see previous question). Many FVL graduates choose to continue their foreign language study into college, pursuing majors or minors. Students wishing to achieve fluency-the ability to use a language in everyday life-should plan to study the language beyond high school. Fluency opens doors for career opportunities, travel, cross-cultural friendships and ministry.

     When should I start taking a foreign language at FVL?

Students may start a foreign language any year* during their time at FVL, but, regardless of when they start, we recommend that students plan to take a foreign language through their senior year. Most colleges give students a placement test in the language they studied in high school, and some will give them college credits for if they perform well on this test. If the student has taken the language their senior year, they have the best chance of doing well on a placement test, in addition to the opportunity to continue studying that language in college.

*Freshmen who scored lower than 60% on the English portion of the Explore test should postpone taking foreign language until their sophomore or junior years. This allows them to focus on improving their English skills.

     How does taking a foreign language affect my options for other course choices at FVL?

Usually, foreign language does not limit options for taking required or elective courses. Exceptions to this may be students who take extra fine arts courses, advanced classes, and students in the STEM academy. Talk to a counselor at FVL if you have more questions about this.

     What foreign languages does FVL offer, and which one right for me?

FVL offers Latin, German, and Spanish. Your personality and future career will help you decide which language to study. Below are detailed descriptions of each language.

German follows strict grammatical rules. Students who like structure and order will enjoy this aspect of German. German is not commonly spoken in the United States. However, many FVL families are of German heritage. Our Lutheran church is also of German heritage. Male students considering the pastoral ministry have the option of choosing German as an emphasis of study at Martin Luther College. These reasons might motivate a student to study German. Proficiency in German also creates opportunity for international communications or business in Germany, especially in the field of engineering. Instruction is in German, with the goal of teaching the students to communicate in German. Oral and auditory learners will adapt well to this.

Latin also follows strict grammatical rules and structure. At FVL, Latin differs from Spanish and German in that classroom instruction is in English, with a focus on translation and understanding the nuances of syntax and grammar. Students with analytical minds might enjoy this aspect of Latin. Furthermore, Latin is the root of numerous other world languages, and understanding Latin word roots can facilitate the understanding of words and patterns in other world languages, including English. If a student is considering a career in medicine or biology, Latin can be beneficial for understanding terminology in these fields.  Male students considering the pastoral ministry may also choose Latin as an emphasis at Martin Luther College; Latin may also help their understanding of Greek, which is similar in structure.

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States; it is also spoken all over South and Central America. Immigration statistics project that the United States' Spanish-speaking population will continue to increase over the next several decades. Proficiency in Spanish will increase career and employment opportunities. It is a valuable asset in our churches as we try to reach out to more Hispanics. From a language standpoint, Spanish is not as rigidly structured as German and Latin. Instruction at FVL is entirely in Spanish, and students who are auditory and oral learners will adapt well to this. The focus is on communication, giving students the skills to be able to use Spanish in their lives. In order to achieve fluency, a student should plan to continue study of Spanish into college. Finally, male students considering the pastoral ministry may choose Spanish as an emphasis at Martin Luther College.

     Further questions?

If you have any other questions about foreign language at FVL, please contact Isaiah Degner, foreign language department chair, at idegner@fvlhs.org, or 920-739-4441 ext. 5135.

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