The popularity of French in New York schools would surely be a reason to pop the Champagne corks with so many children benefiting from learning a second language?
Not according to the website New Republic, which has demanded “Let’s Stop Pretending That French Is an Important Language”
The author dismissed French as a language past its prime and insists that there are more important languages to be learned and says he would encourage his young daughter to learn say Chinese, should she excel towards languages and certainly not French.
Un moment s’il vous plaît! Do not dismiss French so quickly… this is the language of diplomacy the world over, it is the official language of 29 countries in the world and a further 11 dependencies and is widely spoken in dozens more and of course the language of love!
Had the author questioned the relevance of French it might have made for a reasoned argument as other languages are emerging as popular and necessary, this includes Arabic and Chinese. However French has an importance that goes far beyond its melodic tones.
Whatever language a child learns will reward them with benefits that go far beyond the language itself; from influencing their brain to delivering a lifelong love of linguistics.
However, what French does offer is a language that is surprisingly easy (enough!) to learn with a little effort. It also rewards the student with a grasp of the structure of language and method of learning which can and often is applied to the learning of other languages. Certainly once you have learned French it is much easier to learn a host of other European languages with relative ease.
Spanish, Italian and German are especially accessible once you can speak French, more so than if you learned one of the other languages first and giving a child the skills to learn languages per se is just as important as the language they actually learn.
It is also worth remembering that fashions change as the world changes. Growing up in France 20 years ago there was a huge emphasis on German and it was seen as the language of the future, but by the time I left that had shifted to English. Now people are talking about Chinese.
What is worth remembering is that English no longer offers a competitive advantage in the world as it is becoming so widely spoken, so a second or third language will set any child out from their peers when they finally reach the job market.
French might be the most popular language at VICI – and we teach 11 including English – and only a relatively small fraction of those planning holidays across the English Channel are learning French, most are learning to love learning a language.
Would you like to learn French? Or another languages? Why not visit us at the VICI Language Academy and discover why so many children, parents, students and professionals are choosing VICI.