when you must study material in a foreign language

Pauline   Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:21 pm GMT
When you must study something, and the material it's in your second language, is it better to translate it in your mother tongue to better learn it, or it's better to attempt to study in the other language?

I was considering the options, the advantages/ disadvantages :

If you study in the 2nd language :
1. in the exam you will exactly know the terminologie.
2. you will be accustomed to the content as well how will it be in the exam

If you translate it in your own language :
1. you will better understand it, so therefore it will be more easy for remember, revise it.
BUT in the exam it will feel more differently

I must make an exam about a subject what's not to do with the languages. It will be in dutch, and the material is in dutch also, but my mother tongue's french, and I speak fluently dutch although it's necessary concentrate & look up in the dictionary sometimes.

I'd be very grateful for your advise because maybe you've experiences of this. many thanks:)
Pauline   Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:00 pm GMT

If nobody will find my question an interesting one, please tell me where I can ask this, because I need this advise.

Maybe a linguist will know what I should better do.
j   Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:25 pm GMT
I think it depends on how good you are in a second language. IMHO, if you're able to understand all the material it would be better to study in the language you're going to have an exam in. Why not?.
Vladimir   Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:14 am GMT
Dear Pauline:

I have a certain experience in teaching foreign languages so my advice might be useful. In your case if you speak Dutch fluently, I think you need translate only the words which you do not understand. If you translate everything in French you will most likely memorize everything in French. Then at exam, what is stressful in itself you will have to do an additional work first translating the material and only then stating it to the teacher. And since you are taking an exam in Dutch, I think you are supposed to actively use this languge further on. So you should better to "plunge" into Dutch as much as possible. The harder it is now, the easier it will be in the future.
Pauline   Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:25 am GMT
Dear Vladimir,

Thank you very much for your reply.

Exactly -if I will translate it, I will remember it in french, and in the exam it would be more work ; it's what I thought also.

Before I've seen the material, I planned to study in dutch this subject. But, when I started to read it, there were many words what I didn't knew, and therefore I can't imagine how to remember or revise this content. I have a feeling that it's less meaningful so then I considered the idea to translate it, for understand well, think about it and then after to convert it in dutch again.

I think your advise is the combination ; to just translate those words I don't understand. This would be harder now, as you've written, but I suppose it's absolutely true that in the exam it will be easier.
Pauline   Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:35 pm GMT
Dear J,

Sorry for not saying in my preceding message : thanks for your reply and advise :)
Jérémy   Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:02 am GMT
As far as I am concerned, I think I would prefer to learn it in the language I am studying, but if it were possible, I'd rather have a bilingual lesson too.
That's what I regret about my linguistics lessons : they are in French and our exams of course are in French too although I am studying English. It's just a pity because later other exams I will have to take will be in English, even those of linguistics. So now I am currently learning linguistics in French, which is my mother tongue, but later I will have to virtually re-learn everything again in English. That would have been more convenient to do it in English from the start.