Interesting article and below the line discussion in the Guardian on identity and multilingualism – you can read it here.
A common facet of life in the UK for many children is the “first” language they speak at home with their parents and possibly community and extended family and the “other first language” they speak at school and play in with friends. The concept of identity and belonging associated with language is complex and challenging. It may even be hard to convince these kids about how privileged they are to learn naturally two tongues.
At Speak Like A Native, we admire, respect and cherish this and encourage adding a third. Multilingualism is such a wonderful skill and can only benefit in the long run. Most employers and recruiters we speak to say that seeing fluency in three or more languages on a CV immediately makes them think the applicant is bright, organised and a clear thinker. We’d like to add that if nothing else it’s the most wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know people all around the world.
Speak Like A Native
There’s a common belief that it’s not really necessary to learn a second language in the UK because we’ve all been blessed with English and that’s enough to travel, find work and get by anywhere in the world.
The problem is that we see languages as an academic school subject that is based on step-by-step levels, exams, success and failure and knowledge. That’s got to be enough to put anyone off!
Other countries don’t talk about “modern foreign languages” but we do because there’s still a tradition of comparing French or German to Latin and ancient Greek. This is where the obsession comes from to understand the language rather than use it. That’s why we learn lists of words, names for tenses and try to do the work of linguists by understanding how a gerund works and what the best conditional is. It’s like telling someone that they can only get their driving licence when they can name every part of an engine and explain how it works.
This article from Oxford University opens the conversation on the need to rethink how we teach languages to prepare the next UK generation for a post-Brexit world where just knowing English won’t be enough.
At Speak Like A Native we’re a few steps ahead because we’ve spent the last three decades working with Europeans, Asians and Latin Americans and helping them develop their English skills. There’s a reason most of the world is now proficient at English and we’re ready to help your children use the same methods to learn a new language.
Speak Like A Native