Tuesday, 27 November 2012

French or Chinese

I've just been reading the Beeb's report on language in Scottish schools. For the past term, our kiddo has been going to an extra French class each week. I had high hopes that she would show an aptitude for languages (though she has hardly shown any interest in learning my mother tongue) but sadly, I'm not entirely convinced. She hates doing the homework but skips into the class which is full of some of her little friends from school. We are going to give it another term to see how she gets on.
However, should she be doing French at all? How useful a language is it? Sure, if you plan to deal with the French or read French literature,then I know it would be very useful. I have painful memories of sitting in French usability labs, not having a clue what subjects or other usability people were saying. I was once told,  rather sniffily, that some research I dared question had been proven in the Franco world. (Yeah right - if it was proven then translate it and let me read it mate is what I thought. Umm, I digress).
Just recently, China announced a new leadership headed by Xi Jinping- now the leader of a billion people. I keep going over that figure in my mind...that's a lot of people. Perhaps there would be more opportunities open to her in the future if she learnt Chinese?
So the question is, should we switch kiddo from French to Chinese. There are already a couple of kids shows which teach very basic Chinese (The Lingo Show, Ni Hao Kai Lan) which she enjoys. Would this be the start of a Bladerunner type world where people speak English, German (? no idea why), Japanese and Chinese? Or should we leave her in French and just let her enjoy being part of a little club of giggling girls who seems to have a blast even if they are learning very little?

1 comment:

Nat Machtus said...

I don't know that it matters much. Chinese (take it from one who started trying) is a very hard language, French is quite hard.

In terms of communication let's be honest most of the world speaks English.

The good thing about learning French from a young age is that you probably have to learn it at school anyway and then you will have a real advantage. I know this is true because that is exactly what I did.