Friday, November 21, 2008

Heard In Conversation

That French programs are struggling. That local parochial schools find it difficult to maintain enrollment for French courses. That Hendrix college only has one French teacher in a language department that runs the gamut of modern and ancient languages, and finds it hard to sustain even that one teacher.

French needs to re-position itself. Sure it is still an official language of diplomacy at the EU and UN, but that is more a nod to an old mode of operation than descriptive of current reality. And as the universal usefulness of French fades, it is falling between categories. It is not relevant enough to hold its own against Spanish in the modern languages category, and it is not dead enough to end up in the curiosity box of the ancient languages category.

Beware the loss of the hoi polloi! Actually that is probably a done deal. Internationally the hoi polloi want to learn English, and here in the US they want to learn Spanish. Take Arkansas: Spanish is king and Latin is on the inside track to become the niche language of choice. French needs to do better in the English-speaking market if it is going to stay relevant. Time to rebrand agressively for a downmarket product.

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About Me

Little Rock, Arkansas
I work at a local museum, date a lovely boy, and with my free time procrastinate on things like blogs.