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World Language FAQ

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Following is 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 plan your language study at FVL.

     Why should I study a world language?

Benefits of studying a world language include the ability to communicate with people who speak that language, better communication skills in general, cultural understanding and appreciation, improved cognitive skills, and preparation for college.

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

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

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

While few colleges require a world language, most strongly recommend that students have at least two years of the same world 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 world 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 world 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, if possible, students plan to take a foreign language through their senior year. Most colleges give students a placement test, and many will give them college credit for the courses below the level into which they test after they have passed a semester with a B average. For example, if a student tests into Intermediate Spanish (level three), after passing a semester with a B average, she will also receive credit for levels one and two. If the student has taken the language their senior year, they have the best chance of performing well on a placement test, in addition to the opportunity to continue studying that language in college.

*Freshmen who are in Lanuage Arts Foundations are generally encouraged to postpone taking a world language until their sophomore year or later. This allows them to focus on improving their English skills.

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

Usually, world 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 program. Talk to a counselor at FVL if you have more questions about this.

     What world 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, world language department chair, at idegner@fvlhs.org, or 920-739-4441 ext. 5135.

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