Monoglot Britain

Sometimes I love The Economist:

The advantages of being able to speak more than one tongue are so obvious that they scarcely need spelling out. Despite globalisation, not everyone everywhere yet speaks English, so fluency in a second language would enable monoglot Britons to talk to many more people than they can at present. They could conduct business with fewer misunderstandings. They would have fewer surprises in restaurants when they discovered they had inadvertently ordered brains in black butter or a portion of potted intestine.

… 

The possibilities are limitless. Vacant negotiators would at last be privy to the meaning of the overheard asides uttered by their foreign counterparts before deals or treaties were closed. British footballers who play for foreign teams might, if they were not completely inarticulate in any language, be able to give interviews in the local tongue after the match. Journalists covering atrocities in darkest Africa and seeking the quotes so prized by editors back home might not have to ask, “Anyone here been raped and speak English?”

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6 Responses to Monoglot Britain

  1. Mark Holland says:

    The trouble is non English as mother tongue types have an obvious choice for a second language. What ought we pick?

  2. Tatyana says:

    Mark: Arabic, of course.

  3. Tim Newman says:

    Russian, kaneshna!

  4. Sadettin says:

    Try Turkish.

  5. Pingback: Tim Worstall

  6. Jan Novak says:

    The valuable things in this life are those that cannot be translated into English

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