Sunday, March 2, 2008

the joy of language

I may not have been on the edge of my seat but I have to confess that I watched Eurovision: Your Decision, last night. Well, it's entertainment, of a kind, with its own unique brand of tuneless kitsch. Nothing to do with having a great voice or a good, the wrong person won. Andy Abraham may have an inspiring story and a beautiful voice but that's not Eurovision! Michelle Gayle was robbed! 'Woo' could have done it for the UK; a memorable lyric, in typical cheesey style and delivery. So, it looks like nul points for Royaume Uni, encore une fois!

While I'm on the language theme, there's something I have to say: Grrr! What is it with us Brits and the reluctance and reticence to conquer, or even really attempt to communicate in, a foreign language? Surely we should have moved-on from the days of arrogance and laziness where we expect everyone else to speak English, so that when we're abroad all we need to do is speak LOUDLY and sloooooowly - cavolo!, zut alors!

This hasn't been helped recently by the announcement that there are plans afoot to do away with oral exams for foreign languages because it stresses students out too much! Poor little petals - are schoolchildren expected to survive - and thrive - without ever experiencing any stress in their lives? How about coping with life in the big wide world? What about the whole point of learning a foreign language? Communication!

If you've never tried mastering at least a few phrases in the language of the country you're visiting, you're seriously missing-out! Scary, it may be but life shouldn't be challenge-free and I guarantee you'll get a far more vivid, richer experience if you just make the effort! Honest! Perhaps the example of James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, will inspire you; he boasted that his language ability allowed him to seduce women in four languages! Take the first steps now, it's never too late!

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