Friday, July 4, 2014

Write it (in English) and weep, Vince

Le Monde's Vincent Doumayrou can't quite get to the admission that...the arc of triumph isn't in French;
Many French scientists believe that “the health of intellectual output from the Netherlands, which doesn’t impose any linguistic restrictions, is proof that their culture has not collapsed by opening up to English” (4), and think France should follow suit. But the Netherlands Onderwijsraad (teaching council) advocates that universities should improve their policies for safeguarding the Dutch language and culture, and ensure that those using English are using it competently.
The Netherlands’ share of the world total of students studying abroad rose from 0.7% to 1.2% between 2000 and 2009 (5) but, in 2012, 38% came from Germany. Bulgaria sends twice as many students to the Netherlands as does India, and the only BRICS nation represented in any numbers is China, with 8% of the foreign student body. Rather than increasing the Netherlands’ influence on the emerging world, the use of English means one language gaining ever greater hegemony in internal European relations, going against the EU’s multilingual aim.
But Vince isn't really concerned with Dutch, is he?
The primacy of English does not currently threaten the survival of Dutch, but it is seriously hindering the study of other languages. According to Ludo Beheydt, a professor at Louvain University, “Knowledge of languages other than English has become so limited that we can no longer ask university students to read an article in French or German” ....
Shakespeare had an inkling this would happen;
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments 
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme 
If you can do it, it ain't braggin'.

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