Language learning in decline? Spread the language love!

Gary Muddyman of Conversis has written an interesting blog post – Is Britain becoming a nation of monoglots? – on the decline in language learning in UK schools. The post includes links for further reading (and viewing) on this worrying subject.

Is there anything we, as people who love language and languages, can do to encourage language learning and lend some much-needed support to modern language departments in schools and universities?

I’ll be speaking about educational outreach, and suggesting ways for translators and linguists to encourage young people to continue their language studies, at Cracow Translation Days in early September. Check out the programme – if you haven’t booked yet, you might still be able to grab a cheap flight!

Other posts you might like:

Language learning matters. Word of the British Chambers of Commerce.

Spreading the language love (3) by Tess Whitty.

Teaching the language love.

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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  1. Apart from the “soft skills” that multilingualism brings, there is also the very real issue of remaining relevant in different markets. Although English has become the most popular second language, nothing beats the insights that speaking a second or third language can bring. When combined with a very inward-looking media (as is the case in the UK), the results can only be a continued erosion of economic and political influence.

    If that sounds too abstract, there is also the issue of career mobility. If you’re young, qualified and in a competitive sector, do you think you have a serious chance against your equivalent graduate from Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany that might speak three languages? Young people from these countries can and do travel to find work.

    Language will remain a key added value for years to come.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Michael. I agree with all your points. And especially with your point on the need to equip our young people with the necessary skills to complete in a global jobs market.

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