Languages Directory

Languages are a very important part of a Downe House education, broadening girls’ horizons and helping them to develop life skills. Learning a language is not just about securing a future career; it is part of becoming a confident participant in a global community, and essential to understand other cultures.

Chinese

Modern Languages

Over the years an increasing number of girls have enjoyed the opportunity to study this intellectually stimulating and challenging language and have enjoyed great success both at GCSE and A level.

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Chinese

Modern Languages

Over the years, increasing numbers of girls have enjoyed the opportunity to study this intellectually stimulating and challenging language and have enjoyed great success too, both at GCSE and A Level. It is not surprising that universities welcome applicants with Mandarin as evidence of considerable ability and potential. A non-native speaker who can master the 6,000 characters and four ‘aural tones’ can hope for rich rewards in life beyond university.

As China’s economy continues to grow so does the demand for Western graduates who can fulfil roles in major Chinese corporations in cities across the world. All this is not to ignore China’s long history and fascinating culture. Knowledge of Mandarin is the first step to embracing and learning about this culture.

At GCSE girls study Edexcel GCSE Chinese and in the Sixth Form girls can choose the CIE Pre-U Mandarin Chinese Principal or Short Course.

French

Modern Languages

Girls study French from Remove and can choose to continue the language through Upper Fourth and beyond, onto GCSE and A level.

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French

Modern Languages

Girls study French in the Lower School from Remove and all girls spend a term at Veyrines, our fourth Lower School House in France, in their Lower Fourth year. In the Upper Fourth the opportunity arises for girls to take up another language – or two, if they decide to discontinue with French. However, if a girl wishes to focus purely on French, she may do this. It is important to note that girls choose their GCSE language option(s) from languages they study in Upper Fourth. At GCSE, girls study AQA French, and in Sixth Form it is A level AQA French 7652 A level French.

 

German

Modern Languages

Knowledge of German opens doors to business, science, academia, tourism and a rich and colourful cultural heritage, not to mention green and creative industries.

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German

Modern Languages

I would encourage anyone looking to develop an international career to start early with languages, particularly German. Dr Paul Golby, Chairman and Chief Executive E.On UK plc.

With the burgeoning economic success in China and Latin America it is all too easy to overlook the importance of studying German. Germany has the fourth largest
economy in the world. Well-known companies like BMW, Siemens, Lufthansa and many others need international partners and UK companies are desperate for German speakers amongst new recruits where there is, frankly a dearth of German speakers.

Aside from business, we should not forget that proficiency in German gives access to a whole world of culture with great thinkers, scientists, artists, musicians, and their contributions. This is essential in many fields of enterprise and German plays a dominant role here; not forgetting its speakers’ contributions to modern fashion, art, architecture and design. Add to this the fact that the study of German is easier than you think with many words that are similar to English, then German becomes an interesting prospect linguistically.

In the Upper School girls study Edexcel IGCSE in German, and in the Sixth Form girls study AQA German A level.

Italian

Modern Languages

Ever since the days of the Grand Tour, visitors have been drawn irresistibly to Italy by so many aspects of the magnificent culture.

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Italian

Modern Languages

Ever since the days of the Grand Tour, visitors have been drawn irresistibly to Italy by so many aspects of the magnificent culture such as its Music (Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Vivaldi), its Art and Architecture (Raphael, Tiziano, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi) and Literature (Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, Ginzburg, Ungaretti). What is more, Italian has links to many other subjects: History of Art, History, Latin and not to mention Politics!

Pupils relish imitating the sounds of Italian and they find the spelling accessible, with words written as they are heard. They enjoy the chance to visit a country noted for its wonderful cooking, fashion and beautiful landscapes, with a people who are delighted to welcome them.

Our pupils of Italian have succumbed to the appeal that Italy has exerted and have happily pursued their studies of the language and culture of Italy at University and beyond.

In the Upper School girls study AQA Italian GCSE and Sixth Form girls study Edexcel Italian A level.

Japanese

Modern Languages

Japanese may be studied to GCSE and beyond on an individual basis.

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Japanese

Modern Languages

Japanese is not offered as part of the curriculum. However, it may be taken up to GCSE and A level on an individual basis after consultation with a girl’s tutor, Housemistress and Head of Section.

Taking up an extra language is a big commitment and should enhance a pupil’s current curriculum. The study of Japanese does incur a fee.

Russian

Modern Languages

Russian may be studied to GCSE and beyond on an individual basis.

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Russian

Modern Languages

Russian is not offered as part of the curriculum. However, it may be taken up to GCSE and A level on an individual basis after consultation with a girl’s tutor, Housemistress and Head of Section.

Taking up an extra language is a big commitment and should enhance a pupil’s current curriculum. The study of Russian does incur a fee.

Spanish

Modern Languages

Spanish provides plenty of motivation to inspire girls to achieve top grades and girls will have life-long opportunities to benefit from speaking the language.

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Spanish

Modern Languages

Girls will have life-long opportunities to benefit from speaking the language: more people travel from the UK to Spain than to any other country, and South America is a great destination for students doing volunteer work, on gap-years, medical electives, not to mention the growing prospects in the world of business where Spanish speaking economies are on the rise and Hispanists are increasingly in demand.

All this is not to ignore the wonderful cultural aspect of learning Spanish which gives access to the work of leading figures in the arts, whether contemporary (Almodóvar, García Márquez, Allende, etc) or from other eras (Picasso, Goya, Cervantes, Lorca). Spanish native-speakers also figure among the top names of Hollywood and the music industry.

Together with study trips to Spain and/ or volunteering opportunities in Latin America during her Downe House years, Spanish provides plenty of motivation to inspire girls to achieve top grades.

In the Upper School girls study Edexcel Spanish IGCSE and in the Sixth Form it’s AQA Spanish A level.

Classical Greek

Classical Languages

Studying Classical Greek is certainly a suitable companion for Latin but can also be taken independently to GCSE.

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Classical Greek

Classical Languages

Studying Classical Greek is certainly a suitable companion for Latin but can also be taken independently. Like Latin, it is approached in a grammatical way, looking at the structure of the language in order to develop a fluid style of translation. We use the ‘Greek to GCSE’ textbooks from the Upper Fourth, building up to GCSE across the course of three years. In the Lower Fifth girls will commence the study of literature and will read some of the great authors of early Western literature, such as Homer and Herodotus. Pupils will study Classical Greek for four periods each week.

The study of Classical Greek is challenging and satisfying in equal measure and helps to produce pupils who are curious and intellectually rigorous.

At Downe House, girls study OCR Classical Greek J292 GCSE.

Latin

Classical Lanugages

The study of Latin helps to enrich one’s understanding of modern languages, including English, and also provides a direct link to the thoughts and beliefs of the ancients through the study of their literature.

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Latin

Classical Lanugages

The Latin GCSE course helps to enrich one’s understanding of modern languages, including English, and also provides a direct link to the thoughts and beliefs of the ancients through the study of their literature. The thought processes

required for translation skills involve both logic and the ability to render a foreign language into good English. There will also be the option to translate from English into Latin. Therefore an aptitude for languages, an imaginative sympathy

for the past, an appreciation of literature, and an open and enquiring mind are the qualities this course will foster.

Girls can choose to study OCR Latin J282 in the Upper School.

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