Languages at Last
Compulsory language learning After several barren years in English schools, the UK Government announced today that language learning will become compulsory in schools in the year 2010 from the ag...
Compulsory language learning
After several barren years in English schools, the UK Government announced today that language learning will become compulsory in schools in the year 2010 from the age of seven. For some reason the same Government allowed the compulsory learning of languages to be dropped in 2004 as it was perceived as 'unpopular'. It would be interesting to know where the Government learned this view, as I can imagine that Algebra and Geometry could be equally unpopular with some pupils. Does unpopular mean too hard and did anyone explain to these young people so full of potential, what they might be missing?
It is exciting for young children to learn another language, and by therefore by definition the culture of the country of the language and therefore the people. The next question is which languages will be included? The European languages, such as French, Spanish and Italian would be the obvious and the easiest as many of the European languages are based on the Latin language. English is based on the Germanic language, as are the Scandinavian languages, and to some extent on the Latin language. England was one of the Roman conquests and the Romans spoke Latin. Latin is now a dead language, but is still useful to learn as it the base for many languages. Many schools taught Latin some years ago and some still do.
However it may be felt that for getting language jobs, Mandarin would be most useful as a learned language. Mandarin covers most of China and other Asian Pacific countries and like English has many dialects covering large territories. (We have English, Canadian, American, Australian etc). Cantonese is the Chinese language predominantly spoken in Hong Kong, but since that country became part of China, Mandarin is becoming more important. China is fast becoming a world power and it makes sense for us to learn the language.
It's a great shame for the generation of students just past, who did not have to learn another language, as those coming up will have so many exciting opportunities to be part of the integrated global working world. Maybe more boundaries will come down, as our children's minds are opened to other languages, countries and cultures.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Merrow is the owner of www.languagejobs4u.com, a multilingual jobsite offering Recruiters and multilingual Jobseekers the opportunity to find each other online. She has many years’ experience in the multilingual recruitment area.