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Updated: 4/18/2007 9:12 am Published: 4/18/2007 9:12 am

In elementary school, children are still learning the basics of proper English, so there's usually not much formal study of foreign languages. Typically, children are introduced to a few foreign words, as they arise in the context of other subjects. For example, they might encounter French or Spanish names and words when studying about the settling of America; or they may learn Latin words during lessons about ancient Rome. By sixth grade, they may be taught certain Latin roots, and be shown the connection between those roots and Modern English. In areas with large ethnic populations, the teachers might discuss various words, and names associated with that culture. They may show students how to pronounce the words, or point out how they are similar to the corresponding English word. But in general, most foreign language classes don't begin until junior high or high school. However, private and Catholic schools tend to offer classes in foreign language earlier than public schools do. Some private schools may teach languages as early as third grade.

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