IB Languages

The IB has a policy of mother-tongue entitlement that promotes respect for the literary heritage of a student’s home language. There are over 45 languages that are automatically available, plus special request languages


Subject – Language B

Language B is a language acquisition course developed at two levels—standard level (SL) and higher level (HL)—for students with some background in the target language. While acquiring a language, students will explore the culture(s) connected to it. The focus of these courses is language acquisition and intercultural understanding. The language B syllabus approaches the learning of language through meaning. Through the study of the core and the options at SL and HL, plus two literary works at HL, students build the necessary skills to reach the assessment objectives of the language B course through the expansion of their receptive, productive and interactive skills.

SL and HL are differentiated by the recommended number of teaching hours, the depth of syllabus coverage, the study of literature at HL, and the level of difficulty and demands of assessment and assessment criteria.

The core—with topics common to both levels—is divided into three areas and is a required area of study.

  • Communication and media
  • Global issues
  • Social relationships

In addition, at both SL and HL, teachers select two from the following five options.

  • Cultural diversity
  • Customs and traditions
  • Health
  • Leisure
  • Science and technology

Also, at HL, students read two works of literature.

The English A programme encourages students to see literary works as products of art and their authors as craftsmen whose methods of production can be analysed in a variety of ways and on a number of levels.

French , German, Spanish, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Japanese

Ab Initio

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.

Language B

Mostly available at both higher and standard levels, the language B courses occupy the middle ground of the group 2 modern languages spectrum and are language learning courses for students with some previous experience of learning the target language. The main focus of these courses is on language acquisition and the development of skills considerably beyond those expected of an Ab Initio candidate, up to a fairly sophisticated degree at higher level. Language B courses give students the opportunity to reach a high degree of competence in a language and explore the culture(s) using the language.

The range of purposes and situations for which, and in which the language is used, extends well beyond those at Ab Initio, to the domains of work, social relationships, and the discussion of abstract ideas, for example. The types of language needed for these purposes and situations are more refined.