Te audire no possum …

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

… musa sapientum fixe est in aure.

The British government decided to make learning a second language voluntary in English schools some time ago now and I don’t think we’re going to see the full effect of that decision for some time.

When I went to secondary school it was mandatory to learn a second language.  At my school everyone had to learn French and halfway through school we had the choice of taking another language.  We had a German teacher and an Italian teacher – when my time came German was on offer.  I’m not fluent in either but I know enough to be able to get by and with a bit of exposure to the language I’d soon pick it up again.

Where languages are offered, there is a recent trend towards teaching Asian languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Punjabi, etc.  While there is an obvious use for these languages now, they’re not going to be much use when the global economy collapses and most of our business is done with only our close neighbours.  Learning Asian languages at the expense of European languages is short sighted.

Being able to speak a foreign language is a useful skill.  Learning a language should be mandatory but just teaching secondary school children a language for a couple of hours a week for 5 years isn’t enough.  Children start to lose their natural ability to learn languages around about the time they start secondary school – it’s too little too soon.  Children should start learning a second language such as French or German from primary school and as they get older they should be taught Latin or Anglo-Saxon because learning languages is far easier if you understand how the language works rather than simply remembering words and phrases.  A basic understanding of Anglo-Saxon will help you understand the root, not only of German, Dutch, Flemish and the Scandinavian languages, but of English as well.  A basic understanding of Latin will help you understand the root of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and the other regional languages spoken in southern Europe as well as English because English borrows heavily from Latin.

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  1. axel (1214 comments) says:

    I dont know about this, foreign languages are useful but……

    I think the root of the problems are either schooling is now shit or kids are now stupid. I’m sure neither is utterly spot on. Maybe today, we are too obsessed with passing exams and getting grades? When I was at school, i was taught mathematics, my 13 yearold nephew is being taught how to pass the exam and I think that is the difference, we, the grumpy old men of this wee gang, were taught the subjects at school but our kids are only being taught to pass the exams in the subjects and that is a whole different gig.

  2. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    my 13 yearold nephew is being taught how to pass the exam and I think that is the difference

    Like the difference between remembering foreign words and understanding how the language works?

  3. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Yes, well done, that is precisely what i meant 😀

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