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Linguaholic

Many UK universities abandoning foreign languages


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Saw this news today:

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/oct/07/european-language-degree-courses-abandoned-universities

What do you think? Should they be allowed to stop offering these classes? Should children be more encouraged to learn a language other than English?

Do you think disinterest in foreign languages even contributes to a deteriorating knowledge, understanding and love for one's native language?

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I think this is unfortunate.  As they point out in the article, with fewer and fewer universities offering foreign language study, it winds up becoming more and more of an elitist pursuit.  There will be students who will want these opportunities to study foreign languages and their options will be so limited; perhaps for some it will essentially be impossible as the schools may be too far away and/or too expensive.

I think that it can also have a negative effect upon students who are not yet college age; they may not see foreign language study as a realistic pursuit and may lose interest from the outset. 

I agree with you that more should be done to encourage language study -- foreign language study as well as study and mastery of English.  Communication skills are so important in life.  Plus for those who may have a more serious interest in writing as a profession, being able to master English and have the opportunity for foreign language study is especially important. 

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That is odd. Given where the UK is situated in the world, learning foreign languages would be a great asset.

As for this question: Do you think disinterest in foreign languages even contributes to a deteriorating knowledge, understanding and love for one's native language? -- I don't think so. It would probably take more factors than that to contribute to the decline of one's native language.

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What? Learning another language is crucial at university level! I mean, it is even better if they learn it since kinder, but to not even offer it at college is just bad! It is extra helpful for business and to get job opportunities! Communication is crucial in the human race, so it should be a priority. If you find yourself fighting for a job against a less skilled worker, but he expresses his ideas and offers better than you, then he will get the job. In the university, a basic second language should be taught at LEAST!

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That is so sad :( I am in USA and even here I've noticed Universties taking away languages because not enough people were interested in them. My university took away Russian, Portugusse and Vietnamese. :(

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^But in the USA, it's more of a budget problem too. My school had to cut Russian because of budget problems.

It's quite sad actually... :( Foreign languages should be made available to students who are interested in studying them. It's one story if they don't want to learn it; it's another if they can't learn it because they don't have the opportunity to.

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The real loss is in cultural awareness. I am so grateful for the opportunity to live overseas because if I had stayed in California forever, I would never have understood that the opposite side of the world views language learning much differently than we do in America! In Continental Europe, language learning is highly revered, and multilingual employees are sought after in companies. In America, and now the UK, multilingualism has low value (exception: California employees should also speak Spanish these days). In the same way artistic expression in education has lost value, language learning is disappearing as well - and to our shame. It's no wonder so much prejudice and ignorance exists in our world - we don't learn to appreciate other cultures and their languages anymore!

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In America, and now the UK, multilingualism has low value (exception: California employees should also speak Spanish these days). In the same way artistic expression in education has lost value, language learning is disappearing as well - and to our shame. It's no wonder so much prejudice and ignorance exists in our world - we don't learn to appreciate other cultures and their languages anymore!

I completely agree with you. Being bilingual (or multilingual) is valued in the United States. As a California resident, Spanish is a near necessity. Mandarin is a close second. I learned Spanish in high school and college. I want to improve my Spanish speaking skills this year.

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If universities are cutting back on teaching foreign languages it shows that they place little importance on them. The sciences and computer technology are more in demand, however technology is universal and is internationally developed, each country is not just doing its own thing so the learning of foreign languages is still important but in a different way than it was before.

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Based on what I have read in the article, it appears as if the decline is mainly as a result of the very difficult marking scheme being used by examining body in the UK at the GCSE level. Interestingly, we don't have a problem with students becoming disinterested in foreign languages at the primary or secondary levels. In fact, at least one foreign language, which would most likely by Spanish, is introduced to students at the kindergarten levels. We are having a problem with Mathematics and Science subjects here. But I have to say, I find it very disheartening to know that the examiners' marking schemes are making it difficult for students to continue to study foreign languages at the tertiary level. However, I read at the end of the article that the UK government is doing all it can make the necessary changes so that more students would do a foreign language at A-levels.

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