The Linguist

The Linguist 56,4 – August/September 2017

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 35 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER The Linguist 5 The latest from the languages world NEWS & EDITORIAL Pupils in northern England miss out on languages Decline in the north The authors warned that, in an "extremely challenging" environment, the prospects for MFL in Wales are "even more fragile in the context of financial pressures on schools and the potential impact of leaving the European Union". There is already a teacher shortage, and as 34% of schools rely on teachers from EU countries, there is a fear that Brexit will compound the problem. It seems that the Welsh Government's five-year plan to promote MFL education, launched in October 2015, has not yet been able to reverse the decline. In response, a spokesperson said: "In recent months alone, the government committed further funding for national school mentoring projects led by academics and language students and signed an agreement with the Spanish government on language teaching." The context in Wales differs to that in England, as children are increasingly being given a bilingual education in the two official languages – Welsh and English – even where a foreign language is lacking. Nearly a third (31.9%) of schools are now Welsh-medium, as the Welsh government aims to double the number of speakers by 2050. Children in the north of England and Wales are being denied the opportunity to learn a language post-14, according to two new reports. The 2017 Language Trends survey identified a growing north-south divide in Modern Languages education in England, with just 43% of pupils in the north-east taking a language GCSE, compared to 65% in inner London. Compiled annually by the British Council, the survey identified some areas where less than 30% of pupils are studying a language at Key Stage 4 (KS4; ages 14-16), including Middlesbrough in the north-east, Blackpool in the north-west and Sandwell in the West Midlands. Based on provisional figures for the 2017 cohort, it found no evidence of an overall decline in the number taking languages at GCSE from the previous year. A parallel report by the British Council Wales found that large numbers of students in Wales are also missing out on learning a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) at GCSE. Less than 10% of pupils in a third of schools in Wales were studying a language at the start of KS4. Since 2002, take-up has dropped by 48% at GCSE and 44% at A level. 'Cantonese v Mandarin: When Hong Kong languages get political', 29/6/17 Even as people get better at communicating in Mandarin, also known as Putonghua, some in Hong Kong are losing interest, or even downright refusing to speak it… For many, Putonghua has become an unwelcome reminder of the increasing 'mainlandisation' of Hong Kong… Scolar [the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research] and the Education Bureau were essentially 'bribing' schools to make the switch from Cantonese to Mandarin. What the papers say… 'John le Carré: Why we should learn German', 2/7/17 To teach another language is to implant a second soul. Of course, the very business of reconciling these two souls at any serious level requires considerable mental agility. It compels us to be precise, to confront meaning, to think rationally and creatively and never to be satisfied until we've hit the equivalent word… No wonder then that the most conscientious editors of my novels are not those for whom English is their first language, but the foreign translators who bring their relentless eye to the tautological phrase or factual inaccuracy. 'Why it Pays to Learn Chinese or Japanese: Languages are most lucrative for jobseekers with average salaries of more than £31,000', 22/7/17 Growing interest in non-European languages was revealed, with Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Russian all featuring in the UK's top 10 most wanted languages. German, last year's highest paying language, dropped to fourth place as advertised salaries fell 1.8%. But German language skills still promise the most job opportunities, with 8,154 vacancies. © SHUTTERSTOCK

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 56,4 – August/September 2017