Sorry Angela, crowdsourcing school language options means Spanish not German

We all agree that modern languages are important subjects at school even if the British notoriously lack the motivation to remember anything they are taught.

At secondary school in London, my daughter has some choice in which languages she learns. French is compulsory. So is Latin.  But she now needs to decide between German and Spanish for a second modern language. She can’t do both.

How’s a girl to make up her mind? The wisdom of crowds seemed useful so we asked Twitter/ Facebook/ LinkedIn .

Angela Merkel may be in London this week but the response (even from the Germans) was overwhelmingly to recommend Spanish. We did also get a couple of helpful suggestions of Chinese and a less helpful one for woodwork.

My daughter will make her own mind up but thanks everyone for your advice.  I’ve posted all 29 comments below so as to help anyone else facing a similar dilemma.

  • Spanish – more broadly used across Europe, parts of North and South America. I studied Latin and it ties in well with learning Spanish, not so much with German. Better holiday/food options too!
  • German is beautiful, and can help you through central and Eastern Europe. And having nobody to talk to in Minsk or Kaliningrad is a bit rough. But Spanish will take you across Latin America. Buenos Aires is warmer than Minsk.  And the rum tastes much better on the beach in Mexico than on the beach in Kaliningrad. Plus: with Latin and French, Spanish will be a doddle. Leaving more time to do the washing-up and ironing.
  • Chinese
  • Spanish =heart, German = head!! ??
  • Spanish for both heart and head. It marries well with French and is massively in demand in business I am told (my daughter is reading French but has kept up Spanish)… But it also depends which she enjoys more…
  • Spanish. Coz German boys just aren’t as attractive.
  • Spanish. German *was* useful, but Spanish just sounds nicer… sorry…
  • Maori. She could come out to NZ and try it for a year or two. Not much use in the northern hemisphere (or anywhere but NZ really!). I enjoyed German and did use it to order beer and that was about it!
  • I did Spanish which hasn’t been that useful but on top of French and Latin was easy to learn, no trouble to pronounce and when I did use it I was understood.
  • If going by number of speakers, then Spanish, but you can learn Spanish on the plane there. Spanish is closer to French/Latin so your choice is between breadth vs simplicity.
  • Spanish is easier to learn & many kids choose that. I had German first  & also lived there. Today I would perhaps pick Spanish first.
  • Spanish… and this comes from a man with a German degree. Problem is that most German professionals are so good at Eng that there is limited value add if you’re British.
  • Drop Latin. Do business studies/computing/woodwork.
  • For international trading it surely has to be Spanish.
  • German. Makes you think harder.
  • If she’s doing Latin, there’s no need to duplicate it with Spanish. German would add to her “Modern” Language bag.
  • German, she’ll be able to pick up Spanish anytime
  • “My daughter had the similar dilemma.She was marginally better at Spanish but had visited France and enjoyed it more French. She decided to go with her heart and is now studying French A level. She has just now returned from a weeks trip to France learning the language.  She loves it and really works hard at it. So follow the heart. Life is long and winding path.
  • Given changing demographics and how economic power is shifting I would choose Spanish but only if Chinese is not available.
  • In my view as a German speaker, I think she’ll find Spanish a lot easier if she’s doing French and Latin already, Latin is the base for all three whereas German is totally different. German is also really tough to learn the basics of thanks to the grammar structure. Hope that helps
  • Official vote from the Point-Blank office: SPANISH denn, wer spricht denn schon deutsch ausser uns? 😉 cheers from Berlin
  • Mandarin instead if taking into account population proportions!
  • 10 plus years ago there was a huge demand in City for German speakers but I honestly think Spanish is of more use nowadays and easier to learn. Not sure what SHHS German department is like.
  • As a German speaker who is currently learning Spanish I would probably go for the latter especially as she is also studying French and probably Latin. Would make more language sense and whilst I love German, Spanish is spoken by many more people than German therefore more useful in that sense and also means not only visits to Spain but also the adventures of South America
  • Spanish. Rather useful in South America for one thing
  • Why not try both? It all depends on her interests. If she wants to be an enterpreneur, Mandarin might be the way to go, but perhaps she is more oriented towards a creative career, ending up mastering in Modern Western Literature for example, in which case it would be wise to learn a bit of both. Hard to tell of course at her age. Good luck with your/her decision!
  • What about getting curious about who she wants to become? What could you create with her so she could go on a fulfilling path either way? Maybe she will need both or none and still be grateful for you having wanted the best for her… Bon courage!
  •  I studied German at school and later at University, later while working I took a break and studied Spanish in Argentina (although it was only beginners course). As I have not met her it is difficult to give meaningful advice but would say: pick German if she is up for a challenge; as she already speaks French and studies Latin she can learn Spanish on the side/later. On the other hand, as I think she will find studying Spanish a lot easier which could be good for confidence and her grades / freeing up time for other studies.
  • I would say Spanish. More countries to visit and more opportunities to practice the language.
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