Blog: Dave LeggettLinguistically challenged?

Dave Leggett | 19 January 2006

Languages aren’t really my thing, to be brutally honest. Like many of my compatriots, I am thankful that English is widely spoken in the world; widespread use of English has encouraged our linguistic laziness. My efforts to utter the simplest phrase in French or German are often met with a reply in perfect English. It is a little humbling at times and I can only imagine how I have massacred a simple request such as 'where do I go for breakfast?' with my cor blimey accent.  

But the world is changing and preferred languages for learning sometimes reflect that. In the US, the onward march of Spanish is frequently talked about. George Bush speaks Spanish, I believe. And it is often forecast that in some places like California and Texas, Spanish will soon be replacing English as the dominant language, if it hasn’t already. In a nod to the trend, Toyota will air a bilingual, English and Spanish, ad during the Super Bowl.

That got me thinking that right now, smart people all over the world are learning Chinese (Mandarin, I guess). But that is some language for a Westerner to get to grips with: four tones, no alphabet and 60,000 individual characters (you need to know 5,000 to be basically literate). Good job many Chinese are learning English…    

US: Toyota to air bilingual Camry ad during Super Bowl


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