Learning languages

R.= Interviewer - J.= James Thomas
M.= Margaret Cooper


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 R.: It's three o'clock and time for "At home in Europe". With me today are James Thomas and Margaret Cooper and we'll be discussing the role that learning foreign languages has to play in the future of Europe... Margaret, the British are notoriously bad at learning languages. Why do you think that is?

 M.: Well, I think originally, you know, it was the colonial attitude and then of course more recently it's due to the fact that so many foreigners are learning English there doesn't seem to be the need. I've just spent six months in France and everyone is learning English over there.

 R.: Mm. What about the way in which foreign languages are taught in Britain? Do you think that has anything to do with it?

 M.: Oh, absolutely. In Holland, for example, they start learning English in primary schools. It's taken very seriously over there. It's about time we took a leaf out of their book.

 R.: Yes. James, you speak fluent French and German, don't you? Do you find it a help in dealing with clients?

 J.: Oh, yes, most definitely. I mean it is true that a lot of French and German people speak English but even so they really appreciate the fact that you can speak their language. It makes things easier all round. I mean, when there's a meeting ...

Experience is the best teacher.