Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Parlez-vous anglais?

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy hopes to ease his country´s longtime queasiness with English.

Recognizing the reality of globalization and its lingua franca, English, the brash French president launched a new policy to spur English acquisition among students to increase France´s economic competiviteness: France: Sarkozy Pushes Students to Master English Language.

English remains the most spoken foreign language throughout Europe. 

Indeed, French businesses are adopting English as their main language of communication, and to the chagrin of some, dropping French, altogether.

As late as 2005, France ranked only as average in English competency.

As consistently reported in Eurobarometer reports, about the same percentage of EU citizens, as French, claim to speak English - 38%. However, a strong command of the language in the four competencies - reading, writing, speaking, and listening - proves elusive. Businesses require a near-native ability to compete.

Speaking a second language is tightly tied to one´s social and economic level and especially among top managers and executives in business. Besides the economic impetus, the ability to speak a second language provides a window into the culture and thinking of a another society, a key to understanding.

 Sarkozy´s new initiative should inspire more native English speakers to visit France and for the French to answer the question above, ´´Oui, I speak English!´´
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