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Languages after Brexit

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24th-Sep-2017       
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Alyssa Walker :
In the aftermath of Brexit, the British Council recently warned young people that they need to learn languages other than English for the UK to compete globally.
The numbers of applications for degrees for European languages have fallen by nearly 25 percent in the past five years.  While it sounds dismal, there's hope.
The silver lining?  A rise in the numbers of students learning Spanish and other modern languages.
In an article in the Independent, Vicky Gough, schools adviser at the British Council said, "As the UK comes to reposition itself on the world stage, language skills matter now more than ever.  And with the country already facing a languages shortfall, we must do everything we can to encourage more people to acquire these vital skills.
She added, "The reality is that speaking another language not only boosts job prospects but also enables you to connect with another culture."
Gough said that she was worried that the numbers of students studying French and German were declining, but was relieved that Spanish had seen an uptick.
She also noted that Mandarin Chinese, the most widely spoken language in the world, has seen an increase in the number of students learning it.
In addition to French, German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese, the UK hopes to see more students study other languages, such as Arabic and Italian.
(Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family).

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