Print

Print


Interesting article in yesterday's "Daily Telegraph"  http://www.telegraph.co.uk - one has to
register to read it online so here is the text:

Gallic outrage over call for all pupils to learn English

by Colin Randall   in Paris

English should be made compulsory for all French schoolchildren, according to an official report
which has appeared to howls of outrage from politicians and teaching unions.

Claude Thélot, the former president of France's Higher Council of School Assessment, said that
pupils should learn English automatically, as they do with French and mathematics.

But his conclusion that children should leave school having mastered English as "a language of
international communication" was sufficient to cause indignation in a country that is troubled by
its waning influence in the world.

Mr Thélots findings fly in the face of the views of President Jacques Chirac, who said recently that
nothing would be worse for humanity than for it to be limited to one language - by which he
meant English. Officials suggested that other views needed to be heard before a decision was
taken.

The prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, and his education minister, François Fillon, were said to
support Mr Thélot's conclusions, part of a report on the future of schools.

Jacques Myard, an MP from the ruling UMP party, said English would be displaced as the world's
most-spoken language because of growing competition from Spanish and Chinese. "If we must
make a language compulsory, it should be Arabic," he said.

However, Mr Thélot's report noted that standards of English in French schools are poor and
worsening.

Jean-Paul Nerrière, an education expert, pointed out that the international language of today is a
rudimentary dialect which he calls "globish", comprising no more than 1,500 words but "used
more and more by the 88 per cent of the world's population who are not English-speaking".

A cartoon in Le Monde made a similar point. "If they force us to do English, then we'll speak only
in French," one student says defiantly. "Yeah," his friend replies. Le Monde found opposition to Mr
Thélot from unions, French nationalists, champions of the Francophone world, and even
"Anglicists" who fear children will be taught only "airport English". The paper's own view was that
"the imperialism of Anglo-American" would provoke less irritation if EU education ministers
agreed that all children in member states should learn two foreign languages.


As anyone who has looked at my website http://langx.org may have noted, I'm with Mr Nerrière
here. Any more contributions to this basic global core vocabulary most welcome, and will be
acknowledged onsite. Just raw "international contact language" words would be fine at this stage -
approx. English script, preferably without diacritics - the exact orthography can wait.

A well-wisher has given me 100 MB webspace and a cPanel, so I hope to be able to expand the
site in due course.

Regards,

Antony Alexander