What should learning a language mean?

This contribution came by email just now:

Interesting article in today’s ‘Education Guardian’, p.2, ‘What should learning a language mean?’

The government’s announcement that modern foreign languages would no longer be mandatory from 2005 has led to a massive drop in students.   The National Centre for Languages (Cilt) are attempting to reinvigorate modern foreign languages by a diploma.   The diploma course is being considered by Cilt, and a sector skills council comprising representatives of passenger
transport industries, thought to need lingusitic abilities.

The article talks of writing instructions for foreign visitors across
several languages, which is leading to their incorporating language comparisons, family and social life, infant acquisition of languages, meaning of phrases (e.g. “Who left the door open?” = “It’s cold in here”), vocal sounds such as clicks and tuts.

The study of Classical languages , it seems, would be within the scope of those examples, particularly Latin through the millennia:  a matter in which Classical associations can make a contribution.

Website:  www.cilt.org.uk/14to19/diplomas/overview.htm

Boris on Islam

You can catch the first episode of Boris Johnson’s two part programme ‘After Rome’ here.

Was I the only viewer to notice that when he was on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Boris said it was the place where Jesus “is supposed to have driven out the money-changers”, but that it was the place where Muhammed “ascended into heaven”? No suggestion that the second is a belief held by some people, rather than an historical fact.