One more BBC article: Lingua Franca

There seems to be a debate going on whether French universities should offer courses taught in English :

Apologies if this is old news.

I think the grandes écoles already do this.

If the student’s English is not good enough to understand the professor, they won’t be really getting anything from the class. I don’t think too many of the French teenagers I have spoken with would be able to understand a lecture in English.

I say keep the curriculum in French, but offer extra-curricular English immersion programs.

We should offer them LingQ, and massive extra reading and listening to relevant content in English.

Heard this on German radio a couple of hours ago :slight_smile: Then the linguistic situation at German universities was discussed and a quote from some Frenchman was brought up, something like: “A language is a collection of professional languages; when the language is no more used in one or two professional fields, it’s going to die”. Not that I support such opinion. Just reciting.

I think the grandes écoles already do this

Must be illegal under the Loi Toubon. It even makes the use of Breton illegal at schools.

According to the BBC article linked to above

“Elite French business schools, and Grandes Ecoles such as the Institute of Political Studies also known as Sciences-Po, have been teaching in English for the last 15 years.”

@ eugrus - I don’t understand the quote.

Where I am at the University of Vienna, I think all lessons have to be in German up to the masters level (except for in the language departments of course), and then they can be in English. In the sciences, this is often ignored, especially as more and more non-German speaking people are employed and required to teach.

I don’t understand the quote.

Die Sprache bestehe aus mehreren Fachsprachen; sollten eine oder zwei davon sterben, dann werde auch die ganze Sprache sterben, ungefähr so der Zitierte.

all lessons have to be in German up to the masters level

From what I know, the knowledge of English is not required in Germany to study Geist- und Sozialwissenschaften, except of economics (maybe something else). However, the radio report was on biology and other science fields.

So was their argument that if one or two professional fields stop using the language, the entire language will die? For example, if French is no longer used in mathematics and economics, very soon nobody will be speaking French anywhere?

I don’t know about the rest of the German speaking world, but I don’t think there is any requirement in Vienna for people to know English to do a science degree (actually in Austria, I don’t think there is a requirement for them to know anything), but I don’t know if one could actually pass a Masters degree without a high level of English, and certainly they could not do a PhD.

So was their argument that if one or two professional fields stop using the language, the entire language will die?

Yes, it was more of an artistic exaggeration, not a straight argument.

@Eugrus
“It even makes the use of Breton illegal at schools.”

These laws are becoming less and less important these days. I would not be surprised if they were soon to dissapear.

Students in any French departmant have the right to take the bac in their regional language. This includes everything from Breton, to Corsican, to Tahetian. I believe it counts also as a foreign language.

http://www.defibac.fr/option-langue-regionale-l-epreuve-facultative-au-bac

From the BBC article linked to above:

"…Even within Europe, if one takes a look at the European Union, there is no doubt that since the addition of 10 new member states in 2004 French has lost its appeal.

Once the lingua franca around the negotiating tables in Brussels and Strasbourg, French has given way to English. Though, if the UK were to leave the EU, there would be no reason for this to continue - English would remain the joint official language only of Malta, as well as widely-spoken in the Republic of Ireland (where Irish is the “national language”) and Cyprus…"

This latter point is something which I mentioned on another recent thread: if (when?) we exit the EU, it would be pretty difficult - in political terms - for them to keep English as one of the two main working languages…

So it would arguably be a good thing for the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe if the UK leaves the EU. :smiley:

"Once the lingua franca around the negotiating tables in Brussels and Strasbourg, French has given way to English. Though, if the UK were to leave the EU, there would be no reason for this to continue "

What if the people around the negotiating table don’t know French at the level that they know English?

"Once the lingua franca around the negotiating tables in Brussels and Strasbourg, French has given way to English. Though, if the UK were to leave the EU, there would be no reason for this to continue "

What if the people around the negotiating table don’t know French at the level that they know English?

Then I guess they’d have to learn - fast!

(Actually, though, I think you’d find that many of the senior EU people already speak French pretty well…)

I would love to see the Activity Scoreboard at LingQ dominated by senior EU politicians in the months following the decision to change to French.