Alia has always given a greater proportion of resources to languages than other Australian schools [except perhaps specialised language schools.]
It is universally acknowledged that the study of language is a vital tool in the development of many skills [other than learning the language itself] for example cognitive development.
In today's world, which is inevitably getting smaller and smaller, the ability to speak and communicate in someone else's mother tongue, gives one that extra edge that all our modern gadgets and technologies cannot.
Here at Alia we are currently teaching Latin, Japanese and French. We expect to include Italian, Spanish and other languages.
The languages we teach are due to the stated preferences of families here.
We intend to make language learning facilities available to parents, homeschoolers and mature age students.
Several students from Alia have obtained scholarships that have allowed them to study in Japan.
Recently Ginevra M. [2006 Graduate] gained a Sakata scholarship of $3000 to assist her Japanese studies at Melbourne University.
Alia College Japanese program.
Alia College has been fortunate enough to have a native language speaker, Yuri Yoshida, as part of our Japanese faculty, for the entire life of the school. Yuri has been instrumental in the effort to continually strengthen ties between Japan and Australia.
In addition to Yuri, Alia accepts Japanese Student Teachers, who have come from Japan to experience teaching Japanese as a second language in Australian schools. Besides adding another valuable element to Alia's Japanese language program, Alian students find conversation with these student teachers a great source of fascination and inspiration.
Alia's Japanese language program has a heavy emphasis on culture as well language. Alia annually plays host to groups of around 25 Japanese high school students, from schools such as Kaichi High and Kasaoka High among others. During these stays of about two weeks, families of Alian students are invited to host a Japanese student. These are excellent opportunities for our Japanese learners to practice their speaking skills. We also take part in cultural exchange activities with the visitors such as Japanese cooking and trips to Philip Island to see the Fairy Penguins.
Alia College regularly organises students to participate in long term (three to ten month) home stay arrangements in Japan, usually with AIIU. After which, students come back with fluent Japanese, which dramatically boosts their VCE ENTER scores, and the whole trip is of course a priceless world experience.
From A Past Student
My fascination with Japanese language and culture was first sparked when I started at Alia. The thing that first grabbed my attention was of course the fabulous food of Japan. I remember Yuri taking us to Japanese restaurants. I never knew such awesome food existed! Then Yuri taught us more about culture and I grew to love the idea of beautiful Kimono and Japanese Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples. I had to see them for myself; I decided to go on an exchange program Yuri had suggested to me.
I stayed in Tochigi Prefecture for 10 months with Japanese families, and it was sincerely the best learning experience I have had to date. I attended a Japanese school and made friends, my host families introduced daily Japanese life to me, and I was able to meet up with some of Alia's past Japanese language student teachers. I was fortunate to see some of the most important memorials to Japans past, a few examples being the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atom Bomb Museums, as well as countless temples and shrines. Besides my Japanese language ability improving beyond what I could've hoped, the most valuable thing I learnt from my experience was tolerance for other cultures and the importance of keeping friendly relations with Australia's neighbours.
VCE Japanese is one of the highest marked up VCE Subjects, so on top of the indispensible experiences I gained from my exchange, I achieved a nice study score of 39 which was marked up to 48/50, the most significant contribution to my ENTER score!
I'm currently studying advanced Japanese as one of my majors in my Bachelor of Arts & Science course at Melbourne University, and Yuri continues to support me even now.
Latin is the most successful Language at Alia.
More students choose Latin than any other language.
At the time of writing this about 45% of the Year 12 students are taking VCE Latin!
There are quite a few advantages to learning Latin:
- It is enjoyable. Latin is the most widely elected language in the school and the first language that went to year 12 here (closely followed by Japanese).
- It teaches the Romance languages: French; Italian; Spanish; Catalan; Portuguese; Romanian. Once Latin has been mastered to any given level it is possible to learn one of these languages to the same standard in a fraction of the time.
- It teaches English. 70% of English words have a Latin basis or are cognate. English teachers have remarked that certain students who have done a sufficient amount of our Latin course show noteworthy improvements in spelling, sentence structure and grammar.
- It improves the standard of other subjects. At least one study in the USA found that the students doing Latin [as opposed to another language] showed a higher improvement in their studies overall.
- It provides a remarkable boost to the Year 12 enter score. It commonly has the highest possible top score of 55 (most subjects stop at a maximum of 50) and it usually has the highest average score. [By the way this last factor is not actually a reason for studying Latin through to VCE. It is simply icing on the cake. In VCE you are best to take subjects that you: 1. Need for course entry; 2. Are good at; and 3. Like. Hopefully Latin would fall into one or more of those three categories. Taking "marked up" subjects solely for a presumed bonus is very unwise as you will do much better by taking subjects that you are good at and like.]
Q: My child has never learned Latin. Is that a disadvantage?
A: No. We are very happy with students who have absolutely no prior experience of Latin because it also means that they have had no bad experiences with it.
A knowledge of Latin derivatives often gives intriguing insights into aspects of our own culture.
Take education for example:
Our word education relates to e-ducare meaning to educe, to draw out, to lead out. It did not imply forcefully shovelling information into the student.
The Latin word for school ludus was also the latin word for game! What were they thinking? What is our culture thinking?
How things change! The Latin word disciplina did not mean punishment. It meant teaching, instruction, science. Subjects in other words! Mathematics and History are disciplines. Words used by the Romans for 'to discipline' someone were coercere or castigare!
To cap it all off consider the Latin word student. Would you believe that the direct translation of that word into English is "they are eager". What have "modern" education ideas come to that this seems so strange?
It is extraordinary that so many outspoken people seem to believe that you are deranged if you think that children might be naturally keen to learn without strict coercion! Those of us who know how to encourage children to learn and apply themselves, sometimes need to keep quiet to avoid being labelled as unrealistic or foolish or worse.
An astonishing amount of pure Latin is used in everyday English. Its ongoing survival is due in part to the large amount of meaning that is packed into such a very small number of letters.
Here are a few examples:
etc. comes from et cetera which literally means "and the rest"
am as in: At 7am in the morning. This comes from Ante Meridiem which literally translates as "before the meridian". Meridians are the lines of longitude running north-south through the poles. From the point of view of an observer on the surface of the Earth the sun rises in the east and travels westward across the sky towards the meridian that passes above your position on the Earth. Prior to the sun reaching your meridian it is morning!
pm similarly is post meridiem translating as "after the meridian"
pa as in 7% p.a. comes from 7 per centum per annum and literally means "7 per hundred per year"
i.e. comes from id est and literally translates as "that is"
e.g. comes from exempli gratia and literally translates as "for the sake of (an) example"
vox pop comes from vox populi and literally translates as "voice of the people". An older form is vox populi vox dei which translates as "the voice of the people (is) the voice of God" meaning that leaders ignore public opinion at their peril.
p.s. comes from post scriptum and literally translates as "after the writing"
inter alia literally translates as "among other things"
terra firma literally translates as "firm ground". Note that a Latin adjective often follows its noun.
in vino veritas literally translates as "in wine - the truth" meaning wine loosens the tongue
veto literally translates as "I forbid" It refers to the power of a president to stop passage of legislation. In the United Nations Security Council, the five permanent members (the United States, Russia, the People's Republic of China, France and the United Kingdom) have veto power in substantive matters, though not in procedural ones. If any of these countries votes against a proposal, it is rejected, even if all of the other member countries vote in favour. The power of veto is credited among other things with allowing the United Nations organisation to survive for such a long time after the demise of the League of Nations which contained no such power.
terra australis literally translates as "land of the south" meaning Australia.
Nullabor as in the Nullabor Plain is not an aboriginal word. The word Nullarbor is derived from the Latin nullus for 'nothing' or 'no one' and arbor for 'tree', and is pronounced "NULL-uh-bore". Australia's Nullabor Plain is almost treeless.
pro bono literally translates as "for good" and refers to services provided free of charge to worthy causes.
aqua pura literally translates as "pure water"
aqua regia literally translates as "royal water" and refers to the mixture of 1 part concentrated nitric acid and 3 parts concentrated hydrochloric acid which can dissolve gold and platinum.
aqua fortis literally translates as "strong water". It is concentrated nitric acid which can dissolve silver and copper.
aqua vitae literally translates as "water of life" meaning strong liquor
alpha centauri literally translates as "alpha of Centaurus" meaning the brightest star (alpha) of the constellation of the Centaur. This is the closest visible star to earth in the night sky. It is the brighter of the two pointers near the constellation of the Southern Cross.
bona fide literally translates as "in good faith"
carpe diem literally translates as "sieze the day" meaning take the opportunity while you can. Carpe Diem used to be at the top centre of the front page of The Age newspaper in Melbourne Victoria Australia and was presumeably its motto. After many years it was changed to "Sieze the Day" but this dumbed down version was dropped after a relatively short period presumably because it didn't have the gravitas of the Latin version or perhaps The Age decided that there was no value in the sentiment.
carpe noctem this uncommon and jocular term literally translates as "sieze the night" meaning let's party or perhaps let's engage in evil deeds under cover of darkness.
cave canem literally translates as "beware of the dog". This was a common sign on gates up to about 1950.
caveat emptor literally translates as "let the buyer beware." This legal maxim indicated that the responsibility was on the buyer to ensure that an article was suitable before leaving the shop, after which the shop had no obligation to accept a return and refund payment. In Australia, perhaps in the 1970's or thereabouts, legislators became unhappy with traders who gave unwarranted assurances to buyers who, having accepted the traders' promises, found that the product was unsuitable. Traders were required to tell the truth or give a refund. Laws about merchantability also dented some of the force of caveat emptor.
caveat literally translates as "let him/her/it beware" and means warning especially on the title to a property alerting any potential buyer to a mortgage or other encumbrance on the title.
c.v. or CV is an abbreviation of the latin curriculum vitae and literally translates as "course of life." it refers to the resum' that a person seeking employment provides to a prospective employer giving the jobseeker's past educational and work history; contact details and often referees. It is interesting to note that CV is from Latin, resum' is from French, and that English does not seem to have a native word for this concept.
e pluribus unum literally translates as "from many - one." It is printed on all money in the U.S.A. and suggests many states forming one nation or many nationalities forming one culture.
festina lente this oxymoron literally translates as "make haste slowly." It was a favourite saying of the highly successful emperor Augustus and warns you to balance speed with care to avoid making mistakes that will delay your project. An equivalent sentiment is expressed by: "There is never time to do it right; but there is always time to do it over."
post mortem literally translates as "after death" and means a coroner's examination seeking the cause of a death.
terra nullius literally translates as "empty land" and refers to the fiction that Australia was uninhabited prior to European settlement and was therefore free for the taking.
age quod agis literally translates as "do[age], what[quod], you are doing[agis]" Schools which use this as a motto give the meaning as "do what you are doing well" despite the fact that there is no bene meaning "well" in the Latin version. Another meaning is to "mind your own business" when spoken to someone who is clearly paying attention to your business instead of doing what they ought to be doing.
in pace requiescat literally translates as "may he/she/it rest in peace"
A.D. or AD comes from Anno Domini and literally translates as "in the year of the Lord" meaning in the years since the birth of Christ. Politically correct speak now uses C.E. instead. This is an English only abbreviation for Common Era or Christian Era. The change from a usage that has more than a thousand years of lineage is ridiculous. The change from AD to CE is because non-Christians might be offended. Christians must of course give ground on this argument because they might in fact give offence in many ways by an assumption of superiority. The vast majority of non-Christians could not care less about AD or CE. If Christians do give offence by their various approaches then perhaps they ought to start showing some real consideration for others instead of paying lip service to some politically correct language changes.
French became a part of Alia's curriculum after a concerted push from enough students. Maybe it was due to some of the reasons listed below?
1. French is spoken by about 75 million people worldwide.
2. French is an official language of 29 countries and is spoken in France, Middle Europe, the Carribbean, parts of Canada and the USA, Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacfic.
3. French is one of the three 'working languages' of the European Union.
4. French is well-known for its advancement of Art, Literature, Philosophy, Fashion, Film, Cuisine and Music.
5. Some estimates put the number of French words in the English language at 15,000.
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