With the eyes of the world soon to be set on sporting glory at Rio 2016, practice certainly makes perfect when it comes to winning gold for Olympic athletes. So, as millions of us get ready to be glued to a summer of physical prowess, in addition to being inspired on the fitness front, can we also use the upcoming buzz as a reason to practice something else - Portuguese, the official language of this year's Games' host-country, Brazil?
With tuition fees at £9,000 a year and set to rise even further, the stakes are high, and a degree is becomingly increasingly viewed as a sales transaction, only worth obtaining if you'll do something economically 'useful' (read: science or technology-based) in the end. But, despite what Michael Gove and co might think, education is more than a commodity, and a chronic disregard for the merits of arts degrees could result in the steady erosion of our culture.
While of course speaking English is a huge asset for us, other languages are absolutely vital for the UK's future prosperity. In fact speaking only English might be considered as much as a disadvantage as speaking no English at all when it comes to young people hoping to compete in an increasingly global jobs market.
I came across Helen and Hugh at a TEDxBrixton talk last month. They were presenting some video clips from their travels, a collection of narratives and findings born from seemingly simple answers. The work was beautiful, but why travel lands afar and set up such a big operation to film snippets with strangers?
Apparently at the height of Victorian optimism, the Royal Geographic Society announced victory in the field of all learning, with the invention of the 'lantern slide' a whacking great projector with a candle behind it which would captivate all future generations of learners. An early version of 'death by powerpoint'.
It's no secret that we Brits are the worst linguists around - bar our American cousins, who we should thank for spreading our language around the world. Ask a Brit if they speak a foreign language and they're likely to mumble something about GCSE French or a Rosetta Stone CD they haven't quite got round to taking out of its packaging.
A sticking plaster needs to be applied to significant cuts in university funding by subsidising languages at University level: essentially helping those departments stay afloat at a difficult time. If that happens then UK businesses may still have a chance when it comes to keeping up with the ambitious BRIC countries. If not, then the UK economy may never fully recover.
Bastardising the English language seems to be Europe's way of punishing Britain for its sins... "Whilst everyone else is making a large and valiant effort to communicate in their second or third language, the lazy, arrogant 'Anglo-Saxons' [sic] never bother to learn other languages and are linguistically inept in any case"