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English lessons boost French fluency

German-speaking children who take English lessons have an easier time learning French later on, Swiss researchers have found.

Children learning English in their third year of primary school found it easier to take up French two years later.

Researchers say this curriculum model is more effective than the previous method, in which children only learnt French.

The majority of children preferred learning English to French, one of Switzerland’s four official languages.

Those who had grown up in multilingual households were more motivated to learn French than those who only spoke Swiss German, the study found.

The team from a teacher training college in Lucerne studied the results of 30 primary school classes in three cantons between 2005 and 2008.

The study, part of the national research programme into language diversity, is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

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