[lg policy] British Council: Arabic is an important international language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 23 14:48:13 UTC 2013

Arabic: An important international language

A recent British Council report calls on policy makers in Britain to
introduce a broader range of languages into every child’s education. The
study “Languages for the Future” also rates the most important languages
for children to learn. At present French is the only foreign language where
fluent speakers are in double figures (15 percent) in the UK. Even football
officials have condemned the UK’s performance in  foreign languages,
warning that a lack of language skills would make it difficult for UK
players to play or coach abroad. It was pointed out that being able to
speak another language opens up a world of opportunities.

With regard to Arabic the report said that six Arabic speaking countries
are among the UK’s top 50 export markets in goods with a combined value to
the British economy of over 12 billion pounds – more than the value of UK
exports to Spain, China or Italy.

Arabic has emerged as one of the priority languages for the British Foreign
and Commonwealth office. It is their intention to increase the number of
diplomats trained in Arabic by 40 percent. There is no doubt that Arabic
will emerge as one of the most important languages in the world in the very
near future.

*S.H. Moulana, Riyadh*

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