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"
Our language courses need to focus on language fluency, perhaps by other subjects being taught in the language, thus killing two birds with the one Rosetta stone, so to speak. Starting to learn them a bit earlier wouldn't exactly hurt either. We already make such an effort to raise global citizens, children of the world - let's now make sure their voices can be heard, a
In a previous article for the Huffington Post I went public about my language shame; well I am pleased to announce that I am (hopefully) on the course to rectifying this rather embarrassing situation. I have decided to start taking language classes so I should be able to speak something other than English...