There’s an interesting opinion piece in The Observer today about the demise of the study of French in universities in the UK, and why this should not be allowed to happen.

A lot of the writer’s arguments could also be applied to other languages. French isn’t just spoken in France, it’s spoken in countries as far apart as Canada and Senegal – Spanish is an example of another language whose speakers are spread all over the world. So just as the French of Senegal won’t be the same of the French of Quebec, so the Spanish spoken in Spain isn’t the same as spoken in Peru – different cultures and different meanings.

I also like what Hussey has to say about the benefits of studying another language:

What studying French has really done for me is to provide me with a new mental landscape. French writing, from Voltaire to Sartre to Houellebecq, has a hard, confrontational edge to it, driven by big ideas, which does not exist in the same way in the English-speaking world. This is why French literature has appealed to English writers of a certain “outsider” stripe, from George Orwell to Will Self. This is a political phenomenon as much as anything else. For a working-class intellectual (which was how I rather cockily fancied myself as a student) to speak and understand French is to short-circuit many of the stupidities of class prejudice in the UK.

Studying another language not only enables you to connect with speakers of that language, it allows you to “access the world beyond the Anglosphere”. You may learn something new – you may start to see the world in a different way. So what are you waiting for?