BONJOUR, konnichi wa, hola or salam – no matter how you say ‘hello’ the word is often used to start a conversation and learn something new.
And that was the name of the game at Portsmouth High School’s fourth annual Festival of Languages, which involved more than 100 pupils including 40 from visiting schools.
Head of languages Suzie Humphreys said there were 17 foreign languages spoken by children at the school.
Mrs Humphreys said: ‘We’ve had a treasure hunt with foreign language clues and foreign language games.
‘We’ve got 15 girls from Years 8 to 13 at tables teaching languages that they know, and the children have the chance to try them all.
‘Languages are so important because they help with communication skills, not only in the language they’re learning, but in English as well.’
Teaching languages really helps with international understandingSuzie Humphreys
Susanna Stockton, head of languages at Oakwood School in Chichester, said: ‘We can be quite an insular community in the UK, so teaching languages really helps with international understanding.
‘We also teach a lot of cultural awareness in class so that children grow up not thinking it’s strange if something’s different from what they’re used to.’
Pupil Natalia Nobes, 14, was taking part by teaching other girls Russian.
She said she enjoyed being able to speak a second language.
Natalia said: ‘You can express yourself in ways that you can’t in English.
‘The Russian alphabet is completely different so it can be quite confusing but once you grasp it, the language can be easy to pick up.
‘The grammar is easier than, say, French.’
Tegan Hull, 16, was passing on her knowledge of Japanese, which she learned after spending seven years in Australia.
She said: ‘It’s the language that they teach there instead of French.
‘It’s such a beautiful language and it flows along really nicely. I find it a lot easier than European languages.’
Court Lane and St Swithun’s schools in Portsmouth and Saint James in Emsworth were among the other schools at the festival.