Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Do Britons really need to bother with foreign languages?

“The British inability to even attempt to speak a foreign language smacks of arrogance

It’s the oldest linguistic joke of all. What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Tri-lingual. Someone who speaks two languages?

Bi-lingual. One language? British. Ho, ho, ho – and fourth “ho” because it’s largely true. There are reasons. Whether the world likes it or not, English is now the world language. It opens things up.

Foreigners adapt to our linguistic uselessness. As I said, there are reasons. But it still leaves us looking arrogant and impolite.”

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Languages do matter!


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