Gary Muddyman of Conversis has written an interesting blog post – Is Britain becoming a nation of monoglots? – on the decline in language learning in UK schools. The post includes links for further reading (and viewing) on this worrying subject.
Is there anything we, as people who love language and languages, can do to encourage language learning and lend some much-needed support to modern language departments in schools and universities?
I’ll be speaking about educational outreach, and suggesting ways for translators and linguists to encourage young people to continue their language studies, at Cracow Translation Days in early September. Check out the programme – if you haven’t booked yet, you might still be able to grab a cheap flight!
Other posts you might like:
Language learning matters. Word of the British Chambers of Commerce.
Spreading the language love (3) by Tess Whitty.
By Marian Dougan
Apart from the “soft skills” that multilingualism brings, there is also the very real issue of remaining relevant in different markets. Although English has become the most popular second language, nothing beats the insights that speaking a second or third language can bring. When combined with a very inward-looking media (as is the case in the UK), the results can only be a continued erosion of economic and political influence.
If that sounds too abstract, there is also the issue of career mobility. If you’re young, qualified and in a competitive sector, do you think you have a serious chance against your equivalent graduate from Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany that might speak three languages? Young people from these countries can and do travel to find work.
Language will remain a key added value for years to come.
Thanks for your comment, Michael. I agree with all your points. And especially with your point on the need to equip our young people with the necessary skills to complete in a global jobs market.