The language Ab initio courses are language learning courses for beginners, designed to be followed over two years by students who have no previous experience of learning the target language. The main focus of the courses is on the acquisition of language required for purposes and situations usual in everyday social interaction. Language Ab initio courses are only available at Standard Level.


Language Ab initio courses aim to develop a variety of linguistic skills, and a basic awareness of the culture(s) using the language, through the study of a core syllabus and language-specific syllabuses.

Students who wish to study Spanish Ab initio are not required to have studied the Spanish language previously.


This Language Acquisition course could be a combined Scotch/PLC class



At the end of the Spanish Ab initio course candidates are expected to demonstrate an ability to:

  • communicate information and ideas clearly and effectively in a limited range of situations.
  • understand and use accurately the essential spoken and written forms of the language in a limited range of situations.
  • understand and use a limited range of vocabulary in common usage.
  • use a register that is generally appropriate to the situation.
  • express ideas with general clarity and some fluency.
  • show an awareness of some elements of the culture(s) related to the language studied.


The study of an additional language adds to the international dimension of the Diploma Programme. Intercultural understanding is a major cohesive element of the syllabus in Language Acquisition. While learning the target language, the student becomes aware of the similarities and differences between his or her culture(s) and those of the target culture(s). With this awareness, a greater respect for other people and the way in which they lead their lives is fostered. Within the course framework, through the study of authentic texts, students investigate and reflect on cultural values and behaviours.

The Language Acquisition course achieves this reflection on cultural values and behaviours in different ways. The course is organised through a core and options, all of which are well suited to fostering an international perspective. The Language Acquisition course seeks to develop international understanding and foster a concern for global issues, as well as to raise students’ intercultural awareness, which contributes to the relationship between Language Acquisition course and the international dimension.


Click here to view Subject Brief – Spanish ab initio