AP languages deserve more members

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Alyse

Learn Language for Travel Fast | The Invisible Tourist

Savannah C.'22, Writer

Each year the number of students enrolled in all three AP languages provided at OHS, French, German and Spanish, decrease. Because of a reputation of a large workload, people bypass the opportunity to advance in a foreign language. 

“AP languages are difficult but it is the only course where you get four years to practice and prepare for it. Colleges love to see students who have gone above and beyond the normal two to three year requirement for world language. They also know that AP languages are difficult classes to take and very few students take them. It puts these students one step ahead of the pack,” AP French teacher, Madame Gavula said. 

In order to take an AP level language, a student needs to have already taken and passed four years of the language. Each year is in preparation of taking the AP exam at the end of the year. Each exam includes a speaking, writing, reading and listening portion. As long as students take each year seriously, the exam should just be a recollection of their knowledge. 

AP German, specifically, has seen fewer and fewer members. When it comes to colleges, not only do American schools appreciate dedication towards a foreign language, but German is the most spoken native language in the European Union. 

“I think it is fantastic any time a student shows the commitment to a fifth year of language learning. I think it says a lot about the character and perseverance of students who choose AP languages when double early release is available to them. In lower level language classes, there is a lot of grammar and vocabulary to learn. At this point, AP German is combined with German IV and will continue to be unless enough students enroll for it to be its own class. I would obviously love to see more students taking AP German in the future,” AP German teacher Stephanie Krammes-Parsons said. 

 

With an estimated 175-200 million speakers worldwide, German is the 11th most widely spoken language in the world. Considering Germany is a country with a population of about 80 million people (compared to the US population of over 300 million), it is nothing to scoff at. Not to mention 95 million people speak German as their first language across Austria, German and parts of Switzerland, according to Worldpopulationreview.com

“Taking German is very beneficial. Truly by taking German, I have learned more about English grammar as well as German grammar,” Lillian H. ‘21 said. 

Another advanced language available to students is AP French. The class offers new and creative ways to learn the French language on a daily basis. Like all of the languages, the expectation is to speak 90-100% of the language. To do so, language teachers provide multiple ways to comprehend topics. 

“The course is split into six themes (determined by the College Board) and they cover everything from art to your personal identity to how a city works. We read articles, listen to podcasts and watch videos from French-speaking countries all related to the themes. We see how these ideas compare with our own here in the USA. There is usually a movie that we try to show with each theme as well to help with vocabulary and grammar review and to show how the French culture addresses that particular theme,” Gavula said.  

French is a major language of international communication. It is the second most widely learned language after English and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the second most widely taught language after English, and is taught on every continent.

“French introduces cultural exposure. It gives students credibility and helps improve grammar. It is also a useful language especially when traveling,” Ava M. ‘22 said. 

The last advanced language provided at OHS is AP Spanish. 

There are 400 million Spanish speakers world-wide. It is the second largest language spoken in the United States with over 33 million American Spanish speakers, according to coloradomesa.edu.

“It’s the only AP course (that I know of) that lets students watch a half-dozen movies, laugh at memes and use as much Spanish as they can without worrying about grade penalties if they’re wrong. Students get to show their personality – or make a new one – in another language, and see parts of the world they might never see on their own,” AP Spanish teacher Profe Gammill said. 

People who live in an English speaking country know it is not really an urgent need to learn Spanish or any other foreign language.  Even if someone were to travel abroad, they would more thank likely be able to communicate because chances are the people at hotels, at restaurants or tour guides can speak English. However, languages open new doors for students who try to distinguish themselves from the crowd.