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Tes talks to…Katrin Kohl

The professor of German literature and head of a new multilingualism project tells Christina Quaine why she is committed to promoting foreign language learning in schools

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Monolingualism is the norm, right? Most of us don’t get beyond school-level French or German – those who do are the minority, and that’s just how it is. Wrong, says Katrin Kohl, a University of Oxford professor of German literature who has sat on the A-level content advisory board for modern foreign languages. Only in anglicised societies, Kohl argues, is monolingualism perceived as normal.

“It’s entirely normal for humans to speak more than one language; we do it all the time with different registers when we’re talking to a grandparent, the boss, the dog. We’re constantly switching, so we’ve ...

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