Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The global spread of English is a seismic event in Man's history
The Times (UK) ^ | 1/15/05 | Matthew Parris

Posted on 01/14/2005 9:39:58 PM PST by saquin

WHAT WOULD you think was the biggest thing to hit human culture, worldwide, in the past quarter century? To the anthropologist of modern Man, what change would head the list? The explosion of air travel? No, most of those alive today will never fly. HIV-Aids? No, just one of many terrible scourges our species has faced: diarrhoea and malaria still kill more. The collapse of communism and rise of the global free market? The internet? These point the way, but still reach only a minority.

The answer stares us in the face. Like much that does so, it is widely overlooked. But it struck me forcibly in Africa this week (and I bet it will have struck Gordon Brown) as I sat in the back row of the Grade 1 class at Digum Complete Elementary School, by the side of a dirt road nearly 1,000 kilometres north of Addis Ababa in the Tigra region of Ethiopia.

This country, you will recall, was for many centuries a remote and independent African kingdom whose only colonial experience was as an Italian possession for a short period before the Second World War. The British never came here much. Ethiopia is in nobody’s “sphere of influence”.

My class at Digum school were aged between five and seven: 44 boys and girls, some barefoot, some decently dressed, many in rags; some fit and healthy, some with sores or burns, or eye problems. Few would ever have been to Addis Ababa. None had seen another country and few ever will. None will ever have been in a lift or seen an escalator. Some will not have entered a two-storey building. Most will never have made a telephone call and some will never have seen one taking place: a fascinated crowd gathered as I made a satellite call from our campsite to The Times. None will ever have had a television, though some of their parents will have owned a radio and all of them will have listened to one.

The children were divided into a morning shift and an afternoon shift. Thus did their impressive headmaster, Mr Getachew, and his 30 staff, manage to run a school of 1,644 children housed in six long single-storey cabins scattered over an acre of dust.

I had arranged my visit quite by chance. Our guide thought we would be welcome, and we were. Every child stood as we entered a class. “George Bush and Mr Tony Blair will never visit our school,” said the Grade 8 teacher, Mr Hailay, “so you are our most important foreign visitors.” He should invite Mr Brown.

The Grade 1 classroom where I sat had no teaching aids at all, save tiny wooden benches and single-plank desks, dog-eared newspaper-covered exercise books, a blackboard, and a keen and patient young teacher, Mr Hadush. Discipline was absolute.

“Let us sing, children” said Mr Hadush. “Come to the front Abraham.” A tiny boy marched confidently up, all the others rapt. “This is the way I wash my face, wash my face, wash my face,” shrieked Abraham, making face-washing motions with his hand. “This is the way we wash our face,” shrieked all 44 tots, in an ear-splitting chant, “Early in the morning!”

There is no piped water in Digum — just a well with a hand-pump, down by the dried up river.

“This is the way I put on my clothes, put on my clothes, put on my clothes,” shrieked Abraham delightedly, doing the motions. “This is the way we put on our clothes.” Yelled the class, full of excitement at learning and at showing off their learning, “Early in the morning.” Some of them barely had any clothes.

Mr Hadush called a little girl, who looked about five, to the blackboard and handed her a stump of chalk. She wrote out the English alphabet perfectly on the blackboard. Ethiopia’s native script, which she also knew, is composed of the bewildering symbols of Amharic.

The spread of English across the globe is a seismic event in our species’ history. It is one of the biggest things to happen to mankind since the dawn of language. Speech is fundamental not just to communication but to the process of thought itself. No single language has ever before approached universality. English is now doing so. No other language has ever advanced as far, as fast, as ours. This is the first time in history that it has been possible to denote one language as predominant.

Within the lifetimes of Times readers, every other serious contender for that status has been eliminated. French is dying outside France. “Francophone” Africa is turning to English. Portuguese Africa is abandoning Portuguese. German made a small, temporary advance across emergent Eastern Europe but elsewhere outside Germany it is dead. Russian, which we once thought we would all have to learn, is finished. The Japanese are learning English, and developing their own pet variant. China will resist, but Mandarin and Cantonese are not advancing beyond their native speakers. More of the world’s new Muslims are learning English than Arabic. Spanish alone is raising its status and reach — but among Americans, who have English already. India is making an industry out of English speaking, as call-centres daily remind us. A quarter century ago, as the dismemberment of our Empire neared completion, we might have thought that the predominance of our language had passed its zenith. It was only dawn.

It is imponderable what may be the consequences of the advance of this linguistic tide. Within a few generations and for the first time in the story of Homo sapiens, most of our species may be able to communicate in a single language.

The advantage lent to us British by our fluency (and that of the Americans) in this world language should not be exaggerated. The number of native English speakers may not grow much; our relative influence may decline. They know little of us in Ethiopia. Yet all over that country street signs and business billboards are appearing in English, beneath the Amharic. English is cool. The very lettering confers status.

At Digum school I also sat through a Grade 8 class of 56 students. Here in the top form boys and girls aged between 10 and 20 were being coached by the excellent Mr Hailay. He was teaching the uses of “just”, “already” , “up to now”, “yet”, “ever” and “never”, and, astonishingly, most of them had a pretty good grasp. Over the shoulder of the boy in front I read his battered computer-printout English textbook, instructing the reader in the correct tenses to use in reported speech. I asked Mr Hailay if I might ask his pupils a few questions.

Did they want to learn English? Yes, replied everyone. Why? “It is the language of the world, and I want to know the world,” replied one boy.

I asked what other languages they would acquire if they could. Spanish, Chinese and Arabic were cited in reply, but none had any plans to learn these. To my surprise, one of the boys asked me afterwards what language I spoke — was I Italian, he wondered? I saw that knowledge of English was not regarded as an indication of nationality, but as a possession, a philosopher’s stone: one which anyone could get. At Digum they were struggling to get it.

English, I realised, as I left the school while the children chanted “I was a pilot, a pilot was I,” isn’t really ours any more. We are losing ownership of international English. Internet English is already looking unfamiliar. Africans rely heavily on the present continuous, and manage perfectly well. Different parts of the globe will develop their own pidgins.

There will be no point in fighting this or regretting it. We should just take pride in what we have started. It gives us no mastery and nor should it, but it gives us a link. All the world will have an open gate into our story, our culture, our ideas, our literature, our poetry and our song. And we into theirs.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: english; epigraphyandlanguage; globalism
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-57 next last

1 posted on 01/14/2005 9:39:58 PM PST by saquin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: saquin

I wish somebody would inform some of our own recent immigrants how english is in.


2 posted on 01/14/2005 9:45:12 PM PST by Timedrifter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saquin

Except in the USA where the Libs want to be a bilingual country so they can "feel" continental.

So move to Canaduh, already!


3 posted on 01/14/2005 9:48:01 PM PST by llevrok (Don't blame me. I voted for Pedro!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saquin
English Rules

yeah I wish somebody would tell many of these new immigrants
4 posted on 01/14/2005 9:56:46 PM PST by jkid2 (Accept risk. Accept responsibility. Put a lawyer out of business.(quotes.ibnerd.net))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saquin

English is in? Yes, because America rules the World. OOH YEAH. But, in 20 years, Chinese will be in, and all of us here, will be telling our children, eat your rice with chop sticks, kid, don't you wanna fit in? Hell, by that time, we'll probably all know how to operate our remote control with chop sticks.


5 posted on 01/14/2005 10:01:57 PM PST by grandpiano007 (http://new-democrat.blogspot.com Yes I'm a Zell Miller Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: llevrok
And notice that the Democrats in the California legislature have just caused the firing of one of the most able, dedicated Democrats serving on its board of education. This man, who was appointed by Davis, was reappointed by Schwarzenegger.

The President of the Senate killed the nomination without stating his reasons. But the real cause was that this man realized that bilingual education is a failure -- and the Democrats in the legislature are still bought and paid for by the "edukashun" unions, who still support bilingual education as a job preservation device. To hell, of course, with the real needs of the children.

Congressman Billybob

Click for latest, "Social Security, AARP and Coots"

6 posted on 01/14/2005 10:05:33 PM PST by Congressman Billybob (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Timedrifter

Reminds me of that TV show where the guy is in the restaruant, he gets done talking to waiter and then says something like he should learn english to be in this nation, and some liberal douche says, "I don't think so." or "No, he shouldn't."


7 posted on 01/14/2005 10:09:50 PM PST by Brian328i
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: grandpiano007; jkid2; Timedrifter
English is a awful language to learn. The pronunciation<->spelling rules are completely inconsistent, and the conjugation rules for verbs are a mess of special cases.
I'm not a bit fan of amazingly-difficult-to-learn Asian languages either.
It's a bit of a shame that an Latin-based language, like Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese, is not the predominant world language. Their grammatical rules are typically much more elegant.
8 posted on 01/14/2005 10:13:05 PM PST by ddantas (q)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: saquin; GatorGirl; maryz; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; livius; goldenstategirl; ...

Universal language is one of those critical parts of human geopolitical growth. For well over 25 centuries, LATIN was that language. English has grown in the last 300 years to rival Latin.


9 posted on 01/14/2005 10:15:27 PM PST by narses (Free Republic is pro-God, pro-life, pro-family + Vivo Christo Rey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ddantas

How do you plan to turn the tide?


10 posted on 01/14/2005 10:15:55 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: saquin

Lucky for us.


11 posted on 01/14/2005 10:20:14 PM PST by ultima ratio (I)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Turn the tide? That's impossible--cultural dominance trumps language elegance every time. As long as America produces the world's movies, TV shows, and books, English will be the predominant language.


12 posted on 01/14/2005 10:21:13 PM PST by ddantas (q)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: grandpiano007

Mandarin, which is a tonal language will be in ? No way :)


13 posted on 01/14/2005 10:21:53 PM PST by Centurion2000 (Nations do not survive by setting examples for others. Nations survive by making examples of others)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: saquin
English has a great problem with being so un-phonetic. Looking words up in an English dictionary can be difficult at times since the spelling can vary so widely.

BUT, the great joy of English is that the nouns are genderless, and declension of verbs is minimal. Plus, English sentences normally start with the subject noun first, the verb second, and the details follow.

The Russian language, for instance, is very highly declined and every noun has a gender (all European languages are gender-concious). The subject noun can occur at the end of a very long sentence because you're supposed to take the gender and subsequent declension into account. It is laborious but relatively easy to translate Russian into English, but trying to fit English into Russian is hell (I took two years of Russian science translation in college).

Then there is the fact that English has outgrown the familiar and formal "thee" and "thou". German, for instance, has it's "du" und "Sie", as do so many other languages. English is highly functional - except for the wretched spelling defects - and borrows words freely from other languages. English can use nouns as verbs, as in "We're having a party" compared to "We're partying!" English is an evolving language, the most vibrant and word-filled on earth. And it's 26 letter alphabet is an infinite advantage over all the oriental pictograms.

14 posted on 01/14/2005 10:25:08 PM PST by xJones
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xJones
BUT, the great joy of English is that the nouns are genderless, and declension of verbs is minimal. Plus, English sentences normally start with the subject noun first, the verb second, and the details follow.

That's actually something influenced by the Romance languages, particularly the French language influence brought over by the Norman invasion of 1066. If we don't have the Norman invasion English would probably have evolved akin to other Germanic languages, especially in the use of noun cases.

15 posted on 01/14/2005 10:33:15 PM PST by RayChuang88
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Timedrifter
Hispanics angry over proposal to make English Arizona's official language
16 posted on 01/14/2005 10:39:13 PM PST by Between the Lines ("Christianity is not a religion; it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: saquin

English teachers everywhere are rejoicing at this development.


17 posted on 01/14/2005 10:41:05 PM PST by Ciexyz (I use the term Blue Cities, not Blue States. PA is red except for Philly, Pgh & Erie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ddantas
"The pronunciation<->spelling rules are completely inconsistent"

Those rules are situational. Example:
"Whose car is this?" "Who's going with you?"

"They're going to the store." "Hey, over there!" "Their car got towed."

Spelling is a speedbump, not a hurdle. There are plenty of native English speakers on FR who get their spelling and grammar wrong, but still get their point across.
18 posted on 01/14/2005 10:49:26 PM PST by Terpfen (Gore/Sharpton '08: it's Al-right!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ddantas

I speak both Mandarin and Cantonese fluently, but let me tell you, they are both a BEAR to learn!
All my former students in China caught on to English far more efficiently than I caught on to Chinese.
Cantonese is particularly awful. A language with seven tones, in which the slightest change of inflection changes "go fishing" to "f--k fishes" or "My shoes are all wet" to "My vagina is all wet," along with no alphabet to use, makes me thankful for English's relative efficiency.
We have a lot to be thankful for.


19 posted on 01/14/2005 11:08:18 PM PST by srm913
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: srm913

I actually made those mistakes, BTW, to my eternal chagrin.


20 posted on 01/14/2005 11:11:24 PM PST by srm913
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: saquin

No Habla.


21 posted on 01/14/2005 11:12:14 PM PST by Pro-Bush (It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it. --General Douglas MacArthur)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saquin

BTTT


22 posted on 01/14/2005 11:18:40 PM PST by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xJones

>"We're having a party" compared to "We're partying!"

Dude!


23 posted on 01/14/2005 11:23:52 PM PST by ROTB
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Terpfen
"... but still get their point across."

I've bragged on this once before, but - My 7-year old had to write in Sunday School something that was good that happened to her. She was proud of her spelling test on Friday and wrote "I speld dinosaur rite".
24 posted on 01/14/2005 11:35:44 PM PST by geopyg ("It's not that liberals don't know much, it's just that what they know just ain't so." (~ R. Reagan))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: geopyg

I hope you've corrected that problem.


25 posted on 01/14/2005 11:53:58 PM PST by Terpfen (Gore/Sharpton '08: it's Al-right!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Terpfen
We don't worry too much about the spelling if they haven't learned the rules yet. They start the kids writing in kindergarten nowadays with "creative spelling". They learn to write and only get knocked down on words they should know (my girls are in first grade now). They love writing in their "journals". And it doesn't seem to hurt them in the long run (our son in fourth grade learned the same way and gets 100's in spelling, as do his sisters).

Quite a bit different from how I learned to say the least, and took some talking with the teachers (especially math!). 2 + 2 can't just be 4. In first graded they have to draw pictures, use pictures of their fingers and show how they got the answer. It all goes to "numbers sense" - not just knowing the answer - but what the numbers actually mean and represent. (It makes sense to me now). They also do the straight math memorization.
26 posted on 01/15/2005 12:05:21 AM PST by geopyg ("It's not that liberals don't know much, it's just that what they know just ain't so." (~ R. Reagan))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: srm913
A language with seven tones, in which the slightest change of inflection changes "go fishing" to "f--k fishes" or "My shoes are all wet" to "My vagina is all wet,

Note to self: never go fishing with a Cantonese.:)

27 posted on 01/15/2005 12:08:05 AM PST by xJones
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: geopyg

Well, as long as it works.

I learned strict spelling from the beginning, and I seem to have a pretty good ability to translate sound to letters, so I can't really understand how so many people can trip up over things like "your" versus "you're."


28 posted on 01/15/2005 12:08:52 AM PST by Terpfen (Gore/Sharpton '08: it's Al-right!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: srm913
I speak both Mandarin and Cantonese fluently

I took a year of Mandarin back in the days when Nixon was opening China and I thought I might want a career in the State Department. I didn't have a big problem w/the tones (I've studied several languages and seem to get the sound ok), but writing characters was my bane.

I'm in higher ed now, and what surprises me is to find that graduate programs in other countries are now being offered in English. These aren't programs geared toward admiting international students who all need to speak one language, but regular programs for natives who'll have to be fluent in English to be admitted.

Plus, nowadays, a lot of the research literature they're reading isn't in German, Russian or French anymore, it's in English, so they're all reading English anyway, even when they aren't speaking it in the classroom. Interesting.

29 posted on 01/15/2005 12:23:06 AM PST by radiohead
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: ddantas

Maybe so, but it is efficient. Next time you look at any document printed in several languages, take a look at the lengths of each translation. English is always the shortest.

30 posted on 01/15/2005 3:27:25 AM PST by StACase
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: geopyg

Reminds me of Back to School night when my daughter was in 2nd grade. Each child had made a poster about themselves and these were displayed about the room for parents to view. My daughter listed her favorite subject as, "Spealling". Folks were kind enough to stifle their laughter to snickering as they read it.


31 posted on 01/15/2005 4:57:37 AM PST by JockoManning (www.biblegateway.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Terpfen

Yor right about that!


32 posted on 01/15/2005 5:00:35 AM PST by JockoManning (www.biblegateway.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: srm913

Uh, remind me never try to speak Cantonese.


33 posted on 01/15/2005 5:04:14 AM PST by JockoManning (www.biblegateway.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: saquin

Great article. Thanks


34 posted on 01/15/2005 5:54:44 PM PST by Lorianne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: Floyd R Turbo
When I was in College the "one world language" being promoted was Esperanto.

George Soros' father Tivador Soros was one of the prominent Esperanto writers. According to wikipedia, George Soros was taught to speak Esperanto from birth.

Figures, doesn't it?

36 posted on 01/17/2005 7:16:20 AM PST by texasbluebell
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: saquin

My company's worldwide official language is English, including in our headquarters in Germany. It simply isn't practical to be a global company and have any other language that English as the means of communication.


38 posted on 01/17/2005 8:10:17 AM PST by You Dirty Rats (Mindless BushBot)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Floyd R Turbo

Isn't it?


39 posted on 01/17/2005 8:11:20 AM PST by texasbluebell
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: saquin
French is dying outside France.

Just my amateur view, but that's one cost of folding up in WWII.
(and not planning intelligently to prevent it)

I've heard that just before WWII, there were plans afoot to make French
the required common language of the expanding number of airports around the world.

Fastforward through WWII, the end of France as a real military power, the
crumbled ruins of the Luftwaffe...and having thousands of Americans, subjects of
the UK (and Commonwealth) that came out of the air forces of the Allies...
...and that plan for French as the official airport tower language went on the
ash-heap of history.
40 posted on 01/17/2005 8:14:57 AM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: radiohead
Plus, nowadays, a lot of the research literature they're reading isn't in
German, Russian or French anymore, it's in English, so they're all reading English anyway


Two of the biggest wastes of my life:
1. two years of high school French
2. one year of university German required by my degree-advisement committee;
required because a lot of OLD German chemical lit is in German, but that's
becoming increasingly dusty and irrelevant.

I'm glad I took two years of high school Latin and regret not having taken Spanish.
41 posted on 01/17/2005 8:18:16 AM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: saquin
No single language has ever before approached universality. English is now doing so.

That's hard to argue. But the author didn't address the consequences of this phenomenon, which are?

This phenomenon will certainly benefit commerce, but more importantly, with the simultaneous rise of the internet, a universal language could also aid in our understanding of each other. A freewheeling international dialogue can serve the promotion of truth and also, unfortunately, an international market for pornography and vice.

42 posted on 01/17/2005 8:20:03 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: saquin

43 posted on 01/17/2005 8:25:49 AM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xJones; aculeus; general_re; Happygal
‘Mr Waugh is a great writer from England. He will tell you how to be great writers.’

‘Well,’ I said, ‘well. I have spent fifty-four years trying to learn English and I still find I have recourse to the dictionary almost every day. English,’ I said, warming a little to my subject, ‘is incomparably the richest language in the world. There are two or three quite distinct words to express every concept and each has a subtle difference of nuance.’

This was clearly not quite what was required. Consternation was plainly written on all the faces of the aspiring clerks who had greeted me with so broad a welcome.

‘What Mr Waugh means,’ said the teacher, ‘is that English is very simple really. You will not learn all the words. You can make your meaning clear if you know a few of them.’

The students brightened a little. I left it at that.

.
-- Evelyn Waugh, A Tourist in Africa.


44 posted on 01/17/2005 8:34:06 AM PST by dighton
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: ddantas
"Turn the tide? That's impossible--cultural dominance trumps language elegance every time. As long as America produces the world's movies, TV shows, and books, English will be the predominant language."

Although to a lesser extent than the Romance languages, a great deal of modern English is also Latin based as a result of the Norman invasion.

In the above quote, look at all the words that have a Latin origin.

45 posted on 01/17/2005 8:43:00 AM PST by Polybius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: StACase
Maybe so, but it is efficient. Next time you look at any document printed in several languages, take a look at the lengths of each translation. English is always the shortest.

Sometimes.

I used to come. I used to see. I used to conquer........English

Venia. Veia. Vencia................Spanish

46 posted on 01/17/2005 8:48:26 AM PST by Polybius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Temple Owl

ping


47 posted on 01/17/2005 9:55:44 AM PST by Tribune7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VOA
I'm glad I took two years of high school Latin and regret not having taken Spanish.

I had 2 years of required Latin and 3 of Spanish in prep school. Still serves me well.

Even though I placed out of the foreign language requirement at Michigan, I liked languages and ended up taking German, Chinese, had a term of Old English at the University of London so I could read Beowulf in the original. (nerd alert) I'm teaching myself Danish now, kinda for fun, kinda for work. Glad I never took French!

48 posted on 01/17/2005 10:47:53 AM PST by radiohead
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Tribune7

This must really upset the FRogs.


49 posted on 01/17/2005 1:18:23 PM PST by Temple Owl (19064)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: radiohead
Glad I never took French!

The only moments of note in 2 years of high-school French:
1. Interations with the nice teacher (whose husband was a big-time police officer)
2. interactions with the other intelligent (and witty) fellow students who were
also DUPED into taking courses in "the language of diplmacy" (too bad our
parents didn't realize that English and Spanish were to become the functionally-useful
languages of the early 21st Century).
(with the variants of Chinese)
3. Learning to giggle aloud "Quelle suprise!" with other nerds.
4. Watching a few passable French film "classics" (that was held off until
the second year, as these cinematic classics actually made me think Adoph made
a mistake by not just unleashing the Luftwaffe on Paris.)
50 posted on 01/17/2005 2:24:11 PM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-57 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson