UK: The Languages of Others

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Feb 17 01:38:02 UTC 2009

 Forwarded From: edling at

Times Online

The Languages of Others

Britain's reliance on foreigners' willingness to learn English is
self-defeating Five years ago Estelle Morris, then the Education
Secretary, ended the requirement for all GSCE students to learn at
least one foreign language. Last year she acknowledged that this had
been a mistake, at least in its timing. It was, in fact, disastrous in
every respect.

As unemployment nudges two million and Gordon Brown's ill-judged and
inflammatory pledge to create "British jobs for British workers" comes
back to haunt him, it is clearer than ever that British workers'
inability to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the
world's largest single labour market - the EU - stems in large part
from longstanding reluctance to make more than a token effort with
foreign languages.

Full story:


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at


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