Though English is my native language, I speak and read some Swedish every day to my young daughter. I do this not just because I have a passion for Swedish language and literature, but also because I know how useful language skills are.
For a variety of reasons, my family is currently in Merida, Mexico and our small kids (two and four) are in a local school where they are expected to learn and play in Spanish. Below, I document our journey from monolingual children to being in a position where we feel secure enough to leave our kids in an entirely Spanish environment.
I didn't know a single person when I arrived in the desert. Well, not anyone that I could count on or call up if I found
'Now More Than Ever' - Why The UK Needs To Make More Time For Language Learning In The Run Up To Brexit
That said, what is clear, from this new research at least, is that the will to improve our language skills is there, among the British public. For teachers, pupils and parents, this week is certainly a good time to start taking advantage of that but if we are to ensure languages get the place they deserve more widely, we need to make language learning a national and personal priority going forward.
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?
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.
The case of inflectional classes in Oto-Manguean languages, however, is just one small example of the vital role indigenous languages play in informing our understanding of language. Not all indigenous languages enjoy the same status as those of Mexico, yet each one is as valuable as the next.
Unless you are brought up in a bilingual environment, a relationship with a second language is something you work to achieve and strive to maintain. It is not something you can buy.
The blog I posted a few days ago on bilingualism generated some lively debate - not only on Twitter, but also around the
"But why not do a degree in French and Business?" was the favourite from people my parents' age, who have decided that everyone in the world can now communicate through gestures and Google Translate. "Business is useful. Business will help you get a job."