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Stop teaching foreign languages

Victorian values
(+2, -2)
  [vote for,

In the 19th century, English travellers in foreign parts rarely bothered to learn more than a few words and phrases in the local lingo. They simply shouted slowly, and jingled a bag of money.

Amazingly, this worked. Although a few got robbed, most attracted an English-speaking local to translate for them.

Inexplicably, in the 20th century, the education system somehow lost its way, and started to teach the rudiments of foreign languages to native English speakers.

This was clearly a mistake.

Quite large chunks of the school curriculum are currently wasted on teaching foreign languages when there are much better things to be doing.

Thanks to the Internet (Invented by an Englishman), English is rapidly becoming a de-facto world language. It's possible that before the end of this century, everyone, perhaps even Americans*, will be able to understand and speak in comprehensible English.

In order to encourage foreigners to learn (or re-learn, as everyone is born knowing English but foreigners have just forgotten through lack of practice), the teaching of foreign languages in all English-speaking countries must cease forthwith, providing a strong inducement to those wishing to trade.

Hopefully, other nations will soon cease to teach anything other than their own local gabble, and English.

And thus the Cultural Imperialism of the Anglo-Saxons will advance across the globe.

* no guarantees there, though.

8th of 7, Jan 31 2017

Global language graphic https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9043930
They can't teach or learn them all. [popbottle, Jan 31 2017]

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       Viewed as a net gain to humanity, this actually does make sense, sort of, almost, in a way. English is indeed the de facto international language; and the world would be a better place (and a better place to trade in) if we all spoke the same language. The fact that English is the Best Language is purely fortuitous.   

       Linguohegemonization is perhaps an unsubtle and possibly unfair way to implement this, but it does have its long-term advantages.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 31 2017

       (although not enough to warrant a bun)
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 31 2017

       One of my favourite things about English is its mutability, and this mutability is the strength of 8th's plan, though likely for reasons that will cause him psychological haemmorhoids: the English that is picked up by nasty forrins will, as it has in all jurisdictions that English has been lingual kudzu, develop grammars and vocabularies that sit askew from 8th's own footnote-and-prejudice riddled brand of English and this proximity to but essential difference from the argot of each county's mercantile class will be all the more maddening than would be the case if the forrin trader in question was speaking his or her own uncompresensible language.
calum, Jan 31 2017

       Having a "lingua franca" is a great idea; I'm just not sure English is the language for the job.
It's a very messy language; all the rules have so many exceptions, that I have said in the past that there aren't any rules in English. There are words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently, and have different meanings. There are words that are spelled differently but are pronounced the same. There are words that are spelled the same, pronounced the same, but have vastly different meanings.
I've heard (from people who aren't "native" speakers of English) that it is very hard to learn, and other languages are much easier.
Sometimes I wonder how any of us use it coherently at all.
neutrinos_shadow, Jan 31 2017

       //I've heard (from people who aren't "native" speakers of English) that it is very hard to learn// That's strange, because it's usually said that English is one of the easiest languages to learn. A lot of the grammatical curlicues present in other languages (including most Romance languages) are simply absent in English.   

       It also depends on why you're learning English. English has one of the largest vocabularies of common languages, and native speakers use a much larger word set than those of most other languages. That can make it difficult to learn to understand native English. But it is relatively easy to learn to speak English fairly well, by dispensing with many of the subtle near-synonyms.   

       English also has the advantage of being quite error-tolerant, in that you can make lots of mistakes yet still convey the right meaning. That's not true of some other languages, where a wrong suffix can really bugger things up.   

       To put it another way, if a Guyanan, a Lithuanian and an American Indian have to be able to communicate with each other, it's easier in total for all three to learn basic English than for two of them to learn the third one's language.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 31 2017

       I think this may have already been implemented. Since I can't speak any German. I was apparently taught German for 5 years, so were quite a lot of my friends, all similarly monolingual. On the other hand, all the foreign people at my job speak English. They have clearly been taught. So all that remains is to fire all the language teachers and make it official.
bs0u0155, Jan 31 2017

       // fire all the language teachers //   

       No, no, no.   

       These teachers must by definition speak English and a forrin language. Simply pay them to go to the forrin place and re-educate* the natives.   

       * in the Maoist, cultural-revolution style of re-education, i.e. repeated random violent beatings.
8th of 7, Jan 31 2017

       I think there is a better chance of understanding your average foreigner (who probably speaks a little of the international language), than say, someone from Teeside.
Ling, Jan 31 2017

       Perhaps Lawyers, Doctors and Engineers should only be taught English, so we would have a chance to understand them ?
popbottle, Jan 31 2017

       //everyone is born knowing English but foreigners have just forgotten through lack of practice//   

       Or as neonatologists call it, babble.
RayfordSteele, Jan 31 2017

       //Or as neonatologists call it, babble.   

       Snow Crash.   

       Hang on...how did the Borg species(?) get to learn English? They don't seem have a big problem with it..
not_morrison_rm, Feb 01 2017

       There are (roughly) 500m people with English as a first language and 2bn people with English as a second language, so it behoves those with English as a first language to speak it whilst in foreign parts, as an educational service to the natives.

This might also mitigate against what is currently naturally happening with English - English as a Second Language (ESL) is evolving to be a new language with a simplified grammar and vocabulary. So, today, two ESL speakers from different parts of the world will understand each other more easily than they will understand a native English speaker.
hippo, Feb 01 2017

       A sad truism is that apparently in a meeting of one native speaker and a group of people from many countries (whose second language is English), the native speaker is the one most likely to baffle the others unintentionally with slang usage,irony etc. Excluding the native speaker would lead to less confusion and a more productive meeting.
not_morrison_rm, Feb 01 2017

       //Excluding the native speaker // Excellent - I'll be down the pub. Give me a shout when you're finished.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 01 2017

       //This might also mitigate against what is currently naturally happening with English//   

       There! You see? That proves my point that even English with errors is easy to understand. We can immediately recognise that what [Hippp] actually meant to say was either "...mitigate what is..." or possibly "...militate against...".
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 01 2017

       // how did the Borg species(?) get to learn English? //   

       1. Collective cybernetic entity.   

       2. In the future, everyone speaks English. You only need to watch any episode of Star Trek to realize that.   

       // likely to baffle the others unintentionally with slang usage,irony //   

       Unintentionally ? We think not ...
8th of 7, Feb 01 2017

       Though English is my third language, it's certainly the preferred one at this point. Hard to rhyme, though
theircompetitor, Feb 01 2017

       Deep breaths, [IT], deep breaths ... now, you need to take two of the big white tablets, and go and lie down in a darkened room until the Red Mist goes away.
8th of 7, Feb 01 2017

       //in a meeting of one native speaker and a group of people from many countries (whose second language is English), the native speaker is the one most likely to baffle the others unintentionally//   

       This is an accurate depiction of my extremely international workplace. I was even asked by a Taiwanese lady "do they speak English where you're from?"   

       //likely to baffle the others unintentionally with slang usage,irony//   

       My friend who after several years fully immersed in English culture has got to the point where English is essentially at native speaker level. His opinion is along the lines of: "no, you're not communicating, well, you are, but rarely about what the conversation seems to be about. Usually, everyone understands the reason for the conversation in a few seconds. The rest is two people moving the conversation along while scanning for opportunities, such as: Puns and assorted wordplay, and any chance to insert a veiled sex reference. Often, seemingly out of boredom with the main point, the meaning will start to be conveyed by saying the opposite, then switching back and forth just to keep everyone off balance"
bs0u0155, Feb 01 2017

       The plan is doomed to failure, 8th. As calum points out (I think), expediency & utility will inevitably lead to impenetrable local variations (Engrish, Franglais, Geordie etc). So what you will end up with is, instead of a world united in harmonious English Psalm Psinging, a world divided into loads of different versions of American & where everyone thinks they understand each other but actually, nobody does.

Personally I'd rather stick with the current system. At least now I definitely know when I don't understand somebody.
DrBob, Feb 02 2017

       Yes, but actually the main point of the idea is to upset the french.
8th of 7, Feb 02 2017

       [IanT] for me that's the inherent beauty in the whole general mish-mash, it was a decidedly unplanned, incremental series of random successes, punctuated with great swathes of catastrophe to clear the decks and start (almost) from scratch. Actual, proper, elegant design sometimes gets involved and creates (often idealised, non- material) foundations up which other things blindly clamber, but they're rare.
zen_tom, Feb 02 2017

       How the English view the French in terms of their stuffy, planned, 'official release' language nonsense, is how by and large Americans view Queen's English language snobs.
RayfordSteele, Feb 02 2017

       Yes, it's called "Jealousy" ...
8th of 7, Nov 10 2017

       Reads title.   

       "This will be 8th's idea."   

       Scrolls down.   


doctorremulac3, Nov 10 2017

       Bun appreciated.   

       <scratches [doc]'s name off the "No Christmas card this year" list>
8th of 7, Nov 10 2017

       I'm slower than the doctor - it took me two paragraphs to reach the same conclusion.
normzone, Nov 10 2017

       <writes [norm]'s address on padded envelope, commences filling same with selected moist morsels of companion animal excrement>
8th of 7, Nov 10 2017

       As for me, true, I may be a nationalistic isolationist who thinks most non-western cultures are backwards and useless, but to be fair, I have some faults as well.
doctorremulac3, Nov 10 2017

       Your self-deprecating honesty does you great credit. Just because you're a opinionated intolerant xenophobe in favour of a brutal authoritarian militaristic regime doesn't mean you're a bad person ; far from it ....
8th of 7, Nov 10 2017

       Untrue, I don't favor a militaristic regime.   

       And for lurkers reading this thread, there's a time limit for Godwin's law. You must post within 15 minutes or it doesn't count.
doctorremulac3, Nov 10 2017

       // jingled a bag of money //   

       What happens to this scheme when the jingle runs out?
pertinax, Nov 10 2017

       Form three ranks, fix bayonets, and give 'em five rounds rapid.
8th of 7, Nov 10 2017

       That's already a policy around the world ....
normzone, Nov 11 2017

       //<writes [norm]'s address on padded envelope, commences filling same with selected moist morsels of companion animal excrement>//

<...ten minutes later, realises that he probably shouldn't have sealed the envelope by licking the glue>
DrBob, Nov 13 2017

       //the most arse-backward mongrel bastardised hybrids [...] another idea that nobody understands yet//   

       What's described here is known as a "consulting opportunity". Many of the world's better-paid jobs depend on it. I wish I were joking.
pertinax, Nov 13 2017

       //Yes, it's called "Jealousy" ...//   

       Wow, and here I'd never think that 8th would openly admit to being jealous of the French. People do grow after all. Here's to taking that first step, sir. Not certain what towards, but here's to it.
RayfordSteele, Nov 13 2017

       // 8th would openly admit to being jealous of the French //   

       Once again, your imperfect command of English betrays you.   

       The filthy frogs are jealous of the English for many reasons; being a nation that lacks anything approximating to a working sewer system, or an understanding of personal hygiene, they look Westward across the channel with envious eyes. Likewise, they crave the diversity, flexibility and concision of English, being unable to convey the concept of "Ta !" in less than nine syllables, and even need a special national institute to desperately try and prop up their rapidly withering archaic dialect.   

       As for the poor benighted Yanks, well, more deserving of pity than condemnation.
8th of 7, Nov 13 2017

       Yes, you know we're all jealous of your national dental hygiene as well. Maybe bad teeth are required to speak proper English?
RayfordSteele, Nov 13 2017

       // Maybe bad teeth are required to speak proper English?//   

       The funny thing is, the UK has one of the best dental health average in the world. Googling found several lists of countries ranked by dental health, with the UK coming anywhere from first (fewest fillings) to about seventh. Apparently Brits have an average of just 0.7 fillings per person.   

       I think the misperception is because Americans are more concerned with straightening and whitening teeth, and perhaps less concerned with their actual health.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 13 2017

       // we're all jealous of your national dental hygiene as well //   

       Well, if you want to rejoin the Commonwealth you're going to have to do some serious, serious grovelling.   

       Let's look at the charge sheet, shall we ?   

       All that nasty business in 1776 - nothing short of treason. Hanging on to the institution of slavery long after civilized nations and even france abandoned it. Worst of all, turning up late to both World Wars, having spent a good while lending money at exorbitant interest and selling weapons before forced to join in by circumstances. Oh, and that screwup in Indo-China in the 50's where the OSS actually supported communist insurgents ...
8th of 7, Nov 13 2017

       I am prepared to forgive America almost anything when I get a craving for a Big Mac.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 13 2017

       Are we still arguing about whether Amerigonians or Brittainoids have the biggest balls?   

       I'm ok with leaving that a mystery.
doctorremulac3, Nov 14 2017

       In England we pride ourselves on our rugby - a game played by gentlemen with odd-shaped balls.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 14 2017

       and resulting in odd-shaped heads.   

       Must've been too busy playing ball to keep your eye on the real ball. If the Brits were half as good at management as they had purported to be, there would neither have been an overthrowing of the oppressive regime, (stamps?, I mean, come on), nor a few world wars started on the continent most nearest to your watch, not ours. Seriously, it's not so much even as a few hours travel for you to occasionally check up on the Germans and Serbs every so often.   

       Even the Indians threw you off, and they're a generally pretty passive and peaceable lot. And exactly who decided on the Middle East map?   

       Treason implies that we are somehow obligated to have masters to obey--I should introduce you to the liibertarian wings of our parties. You'd make interesting bedfellows, maybe you'd do eachother some good.   

       If your nearest neighbors both to the west and south have railed against you for well over a thousand years, perhaps some reform might be in order?
RayfordSteele, Nov 14 2017

       You're absolutely right - they've told them over and over again that they're doing it wrong, but they don't listen, they just carry on with their funny foreign ways ...
8th of 7, Nov 14 2017

       Have you tried talking louder and more slowly?
RayfordSteele, Nov 14 2017


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