CIR believes it is important for students, of all ages, to learn about different foreign languages! This summer, CIR in collaboration for former and current interns, has designed a language activity in Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese, Serbian, and Swahili! The activities are free and suitable for students, ranging from elementary school to life-long learners!
To access the lessons, click on one of the PDFs to begin completing the language activities!
Arabic has 28 letters and it is written and read from right to left, which is the opposite direction from English. Each letter changes shape depending on where it is in a word, whether it is in the beginning, middle, or end of a word. Because of its different alphabet and grammar, it is considered one of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn.
Unlike a lot of other languages, Chinese is actually a collection of a writing system and several different spoken languages, the most widely used of which is called Mandarin with over 1.3 billion speakers worldwide. Mandarin is not written with an alphabet, instead, Mandarin is written with a collection of symbols called “characters”. Some characters are drawn to look like the object they represent, for example, the Chinese character 木 (mù) is drawn to resemble a tree. There are actually over 100,000 unique Chinese characters, but for the average speaker, you only need to know about 5000 characters.
As a Romance language, (it comes from Latin), Spanish and Portuguese are very similar in many ways. But they are also very different, especially in spelling, some pronunciations, and some words. Knowing some Spanish helps you a lot when learning Portuguese. Even if your school does not offer Portuguese, it is helpful to learn Spanish if you are interested, and from there, you can later learn Portuguese.
The official language spoken in Serbia is Serbian. It is a Slavic language, which is the same language family as Russian and Polish.
Swahili is the official language of Tanzania. Swahili is considered the lingua franca of Africa; this means that the language is spoken between people whose native languages are different (example, people in Burundi speak Kirundi and people in rural Tanzania speak indigenous languages. When they meet, both people will speak in Swahili).